Stand by your plan

So, in one of my replies to a comment last time (You mean you don’t read those?), I mentioned turning some opportunities down. Naturally, someone has asked me to explain and I never like to disappoint an audience on a Thursday.

Here’s the thing though, and by all means sing it along with me. Ready? Writing is a business.
And the best way to stay in business – apart from oodles of money and your own subscription-based content mill – is by knowing what sort of writer you are. We’re not talking moral judgements here, just business ones. For example, I don’t right romance novels because it’s not a genre I generally read. (Does Jude the Obscure count? And if that was my template for romance, at least that explains my adolescence.)
So, over the past mmgngghhbmrr weeks – that’s my interpretation of mumbling, don’t you know – I have politely declined the following:
1. A contract for my novel, Covenant.
For anyone who has read the book or listened to me going on about the different versions and the treacherous journey it has taken (deceased editor, bankrupt publisher, 1.25 years for a response), you may well be gnashing your teeth right now. Hear me out. It was an independent publisher, with strong experience in esoteric books and a tiered contract approach. However, due to a number of factors (size of the book, the fact that it’s esoteric fiction and my limited profile / media contacts), they could only offer me a deal which required some financial investment on my part. Now, before you start booing and chucking stale bread rolls (take it from me, those things sting), I don’t hold it against them. Not at all. It was a business decision. By way of balance, here are some of their feedback comments, which I hope to use in the future:

An excellent read; an exciting story, well paced and really well written. Strong, three dimensional characters and good dialogue. Starts well, straight into the action and hooks the reader immediately. Lots of action, conflict and a love interest. The characters are well drawn and I was immediately interested in the female character even at the first brief glimpse.

2. Copy writing
The job involved writing articles and reviews. The pay rate was excellent and the client was British, saving on Paypal fees. So far so great. The editor’s response was quick too, which is always a plus. There was a short test, which involved joining a couple of sites to fully navigate them for review, but I was welcome to use fake details…
Now, the first ‘dating’ site was a but of a clue and the second ‘happy cheaters’ (my term) dating site was a clue the size of a billboard. And, for the record, I’d like to think, if I’d ever chosen to use a dating site, that I would have attached a picture of my face, but that’s just me. Anyway, before you can whisper uh-oh, I dropped a line to the editor to say no thank you, not for me. Three minutes later, a short email whizzed back. It simply said: It’s £50 for a paragraph.
I’m not a prude. My comedy material is testament to that. I just know, subject to prevailing weather conditions, the directions I want my business to go.


  1. Freya Morris says:

    Good on ya! Integrity is everything. Great to see you don't buckle for a buck. : )

  2. Deb says:

    Good post, Derek! And I agree on both issues. On issue one; I do understand where the publisher is coming from. It's a business after all, but I wouldn't sign a contract either if I was asked to fund the project myself. Having said that, what great feedback you received for Covenant.
    With you on the second issue too: Like you, I can pretty much write to order, but it doesn't mean that I want to be known for writing about certain subjects or for certain websites. Hang on to that integrity, Derek!

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