Lesson for Book Authors on Tour: Postscript to Printers Row Report

Are you an author planning to go out on tour? You can avert disaster by getting contract advice from trained book author peers from the National Writers Union, but only if you become a member. Do it.

The bookstore in charge of selling author books for last week’s Chicago Tribune Printers Row Literary Fest screwed up my books. They didn’t realize I was scheduled to speak twice so they had my books from the publisher sent to the location of my second talk.

When my first talk ended and interested book buyers converged on the scene of the book table, they found none of mine. The book store representative apologized profusely to me.

But I was cool. In fact, I was actually glad. Because I had negotiated with my publisher for the right to purchase books at 50 percent off to resell, I had a knapsack full of books. “I’ve got my own inventory,” I told him.

But I assured him that I wasn’t going to give the usual huge cut to the bookstore because they didn’t do anything to earn it. Out of well-deserved embarrassment, he didn’t contest my decision so I earned my usual royalty plus the difference between what I paid for books and my selling price.

If I hadn’t negotiated that change in the boilerplate contract, my publisher would have missed out on those sales as well so they, too, gained from my negotiating good sense. They got 50 percent of something instead of 100 percent of nothing.

Are you looking at a book contract? Before you sign, look here. Then make the decision that serious writers make.

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