when your publisher changes it mind
Wait, are you saying my book could get canceled even though I signed a contract?
It could, yes, but it’s probably not going to. Worrying about having your contract canceled is the least productive thing you could do right now, especially since it’s pretty unlikely, but I had to post something about it just in case you end up in that boat. How does this unlikely situation come about? Well, I know a few authors whose small publisher folded before publishing their contracted books. It’s also possible that something like artistic differences could prompt you and your publisher to go your separate ways. But I think that in general, everyone will work really hard to find a way to get your contracted book published.
***Just know that there is a really cool club of authors whose books have been canceled, and that if your book gets canceled, you can join us–I had a book canceled once (before my debut came out) so now I’m heading up the snack table at club meetings and wow, you are going to like the spread.***
Could my second book in my two-book contract get canceled?
Yes, it could. You could write a manuscript, and your house could decide they don’t really like it. You might revise it, or write another manuscript, and find that your publisher still isn’t excited. Most likely, you and your editor will work together to figure out just the right project to fulfill your contract and get that second book out there. But it’s just possible that you won’t find something you are both crazy about. And so you won’t publish a second book with them after all. That might feel dismal, or you might feel like you’re happy to start over with another publisher.
The thing is, this is a fickle business. You can go from up to down in no time at all. But if, after a terrible experience like having your book canceled, you find that you still love to write, then you’re going to be okay. Honestly. Like I said, I’ve had this very experience. I had a book canceled years before my debut came out. But I kept writing because I love it so much. I found myself writing a book I really loved, and then (thanks to my amazing agent) I found myself with a contract to publish that book–with a bigger house than the one that was going to publish my canceled book, and for a lot more money. The nice thing about that experience was that it taught me to expect outrageous vicissitudes. Don’t get too excited about good publishing news, but don’t get to down about the bad stuff either. Your contract can get canceled, but no one can stop you from writing a book you really want to write.
But what about the money?
Unless you are the one who initiated the cancellation of the contract, you should be able to keep the money you’ve been paid. You won’t get the rest of your money, though. And you might have to pay back some money to your publisher if you publish your manuscript elsewhere. It all depends on what your agent can wrangle for you.
I’m joining the Canceled Books Club. Where do we meet?
You think I would post that info here for all the un-canceled yahoos to find? Our snacks are limited. Email me.