Before you sign on the dotted line …

My debut novel “More Than You Think You Know” is in the publishing pipeline, coming to readers in 2015. I signed with Beating Windward Press, a small, active, emerging house that shares my sensibilities, including a lust for quality, weirdness and All Things Nautical.

I’d considered self-publishing the book, but only as last resort. My dream has always been a traditional route. The desire to find an agent or publisher grew stronger as I saw so many self-published books fail to be as good as they could have been. They were taken to market too hastily, often riddled with errors ranging from typos to continuity to flabby prose. Scams abound. This AARP magazine feature talks about some of the major pitfalls:

It’s a mistake to believe you can publish a book without assigning another set of eyes to police the editing, design and format. Writers create in solitude. Producing and presenting a refined, as-perfect-as-possible work requires a group effort. Even if I had self-published I would have contracted out editing and formatting.

It’s also a mistake to sign any book publishing contract without having an attorney look it over. In fact, as Writer Beware sentinel Victoria Strauss notes in a recent post, “Evaluating Publishing Contracts: Six ways you may be sabotaging yourself,” all contractual writing agreements merit attention to details:

As publishing authority Jane Friedman observes, contracts are signed in the best of times and applied in the worst of times. They supersede any discussions you’ve had. So make sure you understand what’s in black-and-white. The lawyer needn’t be a publishing specialist and a consult won’t cost tons of money.

An ethical publisher will encourage you to get a legal opinion. Mine did. And as I’d suspected and he’d assured, everything was in good order. Yay!

The next step is collaborating with an editor, helping to guide me just as I’ve helped other writers improve their work. I’m excited to be on that side of the equation. I’m also accepting editing and ghostwriting projects at this time. If your 2015 resolution is to start or finish your own book feel free to message.

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