Texts on publishing (VII): contracts and all that jazz

Readers who know Carole Blake’s From Pitch to Publication (1999) could be forgiven for wondering why this blog is featuring it. After all, it’s:

  1. aimed at authors (the sub-title is ‘Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Novel Published’), whereas this blog is aimed at publishing types;
  2. out of date (something of a refrain in the reviews of publishing texts here – we really do need a new generation of texts);
  3. focused on fiction (whereas this blog deals mainly with non-fiction).

So why’s it here? Because the above objections are balanced by three virtues:

  1. it’s a good book for an editor to give to authors: it explains the commercial side of publishing (contracts, rights, the sales and marketing process) lucidly, without assuming prior knowledge;
  2. it’s a good book to give to publishing rookies and wannabes, since most of the phenomena that Blake seeks to explain to authors are things that publishers need to understand. For example: market research (Ch. 1); the art of negotiation (Ch. 6); how publishers put together offers (Ch. 8); and sales (Ch. 11);
  3. the chapter on contracts (Ch. 9) is particularly lucid. Though some of the details may be out of date, the principles are not – and it’s particularly good at providing an overview.

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