Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Contract and "Thank You"

Merry morning on this overcast day here in Missouri. No snow. No rain. No sunshine. Just chill.
            I plan on accomplishing three things in this posting.
First, I want to thank all of you who have purchased Dulcy’s trade paperback or her e-book. I don’t know the names of the latter, but I do know those who are getting to read her story in its paperback version because I autograph and mail those books. Thank you one and all.
            Second, I want to thank Melynda, the published author who blogs on Crazy World: Where Craziness Abounds, for helping me promote Dulcy’s book. This past Wednesday she posted our interview. On Thursday she reviewed the book.
            If you haven’t read her review, please immediately stop reading this posting and go to her blog. Why? Because her review reflects the true meaning of Christmas. You will meet a loving mother whose eyes no longer permit her to read small type and a devoted son—Mr. P—who reads to her. A madonna and her child. Their story, as captured by Melynda in that posting, made me imagine Yeshua (Jesus) and his mother.
            Was he high-spirited? Did he play noisily in their crowded one-room, mud-and-straw home? Did he grind barley for his imma? Did she make flatbread on the round oven in the courtyard, which they shared with their neighbors? Did she add spice to a heroic story of their ancestors by acting it out for him?
            Did she wet her index finger and wipe a dirty smudge from his cheek? Did he wander off into the hills beyond Nazareth and run home to describe for her the fluid flight of eagles riding the wind? Did they play together on the earthen floor of their home with a wooden toy Yosef had made for him?            
            Melynda’s engaging review called forth these musings. And more. Her review made me rejoice that Dulcy’s book brought her and Mr. P even closer in their tenderness for one another. Thank you, Melynda, for so skillfully sharing the story of how Dulcy's life touched you and your son.
            Third, I want to continue the saga of getting published.
            We left the story Thursday with my receiving—on July 6, 1991, a Saturday by the way—a call from Jane Meara, a Crown editor. She offered me a contract for A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story.
            I received the contract in the mail sometime in July 2001. A friend read it for me and called it “boilerplate.” That is, it was a typical contract; its terms for the advance and the royalties were common for a first-time author.
            I’d receive $2,000 as an advance against what the book would ultimately earn. This money was nonreturnable. That is, I didn’t have to return it if the book ultimately didn’t get published or if it didn’t “earn out” the advance. I’d receive this advance in three equal payments: when I signed the contract; when I approved the copyedited manuscript; and when the book was published.
            My royalty would be 10 percent on the first 5,000 copies sold; 12 ½ percent on the next 5,000 copies; and 15 percent on anything beyond 10,000.
            I signed the contract and hugged myself in delight. Dulcy’s book was going to be published.

Jeremiah, Eliza, and Noah await a treat,
while I await news of Dulcy’s book.

            During the next year—between signing the contract in July 1991 and the release of the hardcover in October 1992—I spoke often with Jane. She did a superb job of sharing with me just where the book was in the publishing process.
            The copyediting was minimal, but essential. Dulcy had used many short sentences. The copyeditor often brought these together with the judicious use of the semicolon. I learned from her the use of that mark of punctuation.
            The other big happening during those fifteen months was the selecting of an illustrator. I’ll share that satisfying story with you on Tuesday.
                                                            (Continued on Tuesday . . . )


  1. I am catching up on your cat adventures, finally. Am almost ready to return to blogland, if it weren't for all this Christmas hassle.

    Have a lovely time if I don't 'see' you before the holidays.

  2. Melynda's son's comments on how you felt sad when Dulcy died, & how he connected that with his own feelings on losing pets, brought tears to my eyes. It was a BEAUTIFULLY written story of a BEAUTIFUL boy reading a BEAUTIFUL book!

  3. Hoping that the book arrives here before Christmas, so I'll have a wonderful gift for myself! :-)

  4. It's so interesting to read about the process of getting published, Dee. The interview and review are really great!

  5. I am a big sucker for "cats awaiting treats."
    Dulcy had used many short sentences (big smile).

  6. The semi-colon is my favorite punctuation mark. And I adore Melynda, too.


  7. Now I met another blogger author through you! The internet is such fun!
    Love the pic of your three awaiting treats!
    I am fascinated about the entire publishing process. I know the illustrations are beautiful because I just received the book--now I'll be awaiting the story of how she was chosen and how that process worked also.
    I need some sleep so I can settle in and read. ;)

  8. Gosh, Dee, I was here this morning, and read your post, then went over to Craziness Abounds, and left comments there. I remember leaving one for you, and I think I left it on her blog!

    I love the photo of the cats waiting for their treat, so expectantly!

    I'm so excited for you to be having this grand adventure with Dulcy again! My very best wishes to you, dear Dee, and blessings to you as well.

  9. Great story and the best possible review -- the ability to hold the interest and elicit the empathy of a young boy! I'll order it for sure!

  10. What a great review! And I agree with Rita, how fun to meet another wonderful blogger. I'm looking forward to Tuesday! Debra

  11. Wow I feel like I just got an excellent review! What can I say to thank you for your kinds words my friend? As usual it wasn't my words but your story that was touching. I just wrote it down for you.

  12. Wow - I love the story of how this progressed. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

  13. Friko,
    Thank you for stopping by. I think all of us are so busy that our blogging is having to take second place--and maybe even third and four!

    Yes, Melynda's posting was beautiful. Thank you for all your support with Dulcy's book. You've praised it highly on many blogs! What a friend you are to both of us.

    Like you, I hope the book will arrive soon.

    I'm glad you went over to Melynda's blog to read the interview and the review. She's a special person.

    The cats so enjoy treats outside their normal eating times!

  14. Lola,
    I still don't use the semicolon much. But I have come to appreciate it. I look forward to visiting your blog soon.

    It means a lot to me that you and Karma will be reading Dulcy's book. Thank you.

    Thank you so much for your good wishes. This is an exciting time for me.

    Thank you for going over to Melynda's blog and reading her wonderful posting. And thank you, also, for ordering Dulcy's book!

    Thank you for going over to Melynda's blog. She's a wonderful person in so many ways.

  15. Melynda,
    Did you read the comments here? Everyone who went to your blog praised your story. Thank you.

    I'm so glad you are enjoying my stories of the process of getting published twenty years ago. I went right to an editor. Today, writers have to find an agent. That's truly difficult in today's publishing world.