Reflecting on the experience - it's had its benefits. These three things stand out:
- New friends - I had the privilege of meeting talented writers from around the globe. (You've met a few through interviews here.) These lovely people are kind and smart, and a great testimony to the wonderful writing community. Best of all, we're still friends.
- The importance of a good contract - While I thought the one I had was good, it did have items that I'd be more mindful of next time. It'll be worth the investment to have my lawyer's input before signing on the dotted line.
- Better social media skills - I'm no social media pro now, but I gained insight and helpful tips through the necessary promotional activities. These skills continue to be an asset.
In the big picture, this event was but a blip on the screen. I'm grateful for what I've gained and learned. Looking forward to the next chapter of the adventure. That said, I have a few suggestions for anyone seeking a book publisher. These tips can also apply to freelancers who write for websites, magazines, and other publications.
1) Heed the legal and other details. Review guidelines and other paperwork thoroughly. Get a lawyer familiar with publishing to review the contract. When in doubt, ask - the publisher and staff, the lawyer, etc. There are no stupid questions here.
2) Do your homework. Talk to authors published (past and present) through the company. Ask about their experience with royalties, payment terms, promotional requirements, response time and ease of communication with staff, etc.
3) Read books published by the company. Is it quality material? What do the covers and formatting look like - are they polished and professional? Would you be proud to be associated with this firm?
4) Check their reputation. From the Better Business Bureau to sites for writers like Writers Weekly and Preditors and Editors, research the company's history, status, and integrity. Google not only the company, but its key staff members. Have they had complaints or lawsuits against them? Heed the red flags.
While these tips aren't a guarantee for success, they can help prevent a difficult situation later.
Do you have any related tips or advice to offer? What have you learned through challenging situations? How do you keep a good perspective?