1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Calling all Sports Publishing LLC authors

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DS, Jul 28, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Moddy, I hope you don't mean you signed a contract for a second book. I hope you mean they offered and you said no.
    As an aside, I know some people with no book experience who have been offered three-book deals from SPLLC. Some took it, some did not.)
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    From what I've heard, SPLLC's marketing department is all but non-existent. So you'd have to line up most of those appearances yourself.

    If I'm wrong, someone let me know.
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    A. To the earlier post, I signed a contract. We mutually agreed to nuke it. They got no words. I got no money. They offered to pay what they owed on book 1 when I delivered 20-some percent of book 2. I said, uh, no. They were separate contracts. I met every deadline and did what was required on book 1. It sold. Pay me. No conditions. I wasn't about to crank out 20,000 words on the hope I'd get paid. What pissed me off the most is I'd done almost all the work on the book and was ready to write. But I'm not writing for anybody without some cash in hand.

    B. With me, it was a mix. They set up a bunch of interviews during the times I gave them. I was on radio shows coast to coast and it seemed to work. I set up my own signings. One Barnes and Noble had me out three times. I also did a chain of local grocery stores and sold more there than I did in any bookstore. I think, though, that SP had a much bigger staff then than now. Sounds like a damn newspaper.
  4. swenk

    swenk Member

    For some reason, really intelligent and talented writers sometimes buy into the two biggest lies in publishing: 1) You'll make money on the back end, and 2) It's your first book so pay your dues, you don't deserve to be fairly compensated for your time and expertise.

    I really hope the Bannons can sell that company to someone who can sell their backlist (ie, books that are already out there and should have long and happy shelf lives).

    In most cases, when a publisher sells its assets, your contract is assigned to the buyer. Major publishers detail this in their contract. Many of the very small publishers have contracts that are briefer than the list of ingredients on a box of Twinkies, and I would guess the Sports Pub contract makes no mention of this.

    Very few Sports Pub writers use agents, because the advances are so small, so there are probably a lot of bum deals out there. I know their business model was to offer very little upfront, then spread out the rest of the money over a long time. Good money management for the publisher, but for the writer? Would you take any other job that way?

    Just some free advice, fwiw: Don't sign ANYTHING unless you are getting all the money already owed to you, AND your book rights revert to you. Best case, they sell their list and you get a new chance. Worst case, you're no worse off than you were before, they've possibly breached the contract by not paying you, and you can take your book elsewhere. Lawsuits likely won't work here, they can't pay what they don't have.

    I'm sad to see this happen; with all the big publishers focusing on the big-name "big books," the smaller houses really do fill a nice niche, especially in sports where most books are regional. The Bannons have tried for years to keep their business alive, I hope there's a reasonably happy ending to this story.
  5. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    No, but the idea of doing a book is seductive, especially if you've been laboring in newspapers, where your best work is on the floor of the subway by noon.

    Think of how many people pay to have books published, knowing they'll never make their money back. Someone offers you a crappy deal, it's tempting just to have something between hard covers that you can put on a shelf.

    It's hard to fault someone for accepting a bad deal, because the temptation is significant. Publishers know that and prey on it. Way of the world.
  6. swenk

    swenk Member

    Believe me, I understand. I'd be the first to say you don't write a book for the money if you really want to write the book.

    But: Somewhere between "I don't care about the money!" and "What do you mean they don't have any money??" the reality can be tough.

    As long as you go into these things with your eyes open, and expectations realistic, you can walk away with a book to your name, which is a pretty cool thing. Otherwise, the disappointment can be crushing.
  7. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    hmmm ... I did two books and made money both times. Always got paid on time. Got a few extra books beyond the contracts. Also bought a bunch at bargain price and sold them myself for full price at a few independent book signings. I don't know what to tell you ... but it worked for me.
  8. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    These things can work for you, but when you are dealing with second and third tier publishers, understand what you're in it for - a foot in the door, a track record. I got my start with a similar outfit, but along with the lousy contract and (virtually) nonexistent royalty, I got a master's degree in "Getting Screwed by Publishers." Now, if your goal is a byline on a book, a book on the shelf and just a nice little supplement to the weekly check, that's fine. But otherwise, if you aspire to more, ONLY deal with them once or twice, and try to parlay your ability to complete a long project, with an agent, and, hopefully, outperfrom expectations, into something more legit.

    Swenk's advice is wise, but I'll mildly disagree on one small point. You sometimes can make dough on the back end, but it takes a special kind of project, one, like an illustrated book, or a continuing series, to make that kind of deal make sense, i.e production for illustrated is high, as is series commitment, so you might take a bit less to get it off the ground - it has worked for me, and paid off in the NEXT project. But maybe I'm the anomaly. There are agents who aspire to get so much in an advance that their authors never earn a royalty, and those who think earning out is a good long term strategy - the publisher treats you like a cash machine and keeps coming back for more. Both have their points, and I've vacillated back and forth according to who I agree with.

    Doing books is the best, but the contract end, not so much. Please, never fall so much in love with the idea of doing a book that you ignore the stuff that is in every "guide to being an author" book.

    Reality is, most of us in the book business have been royally screwed at least once, usually on deals that are only a notch or two above above vanity press, by outfits like this. Two simple rules: 1) If they offer a contract and won't negotiate, walk away, and 2) Never, and I mean NEVER, start to work on a project until contracts have been signed and the check has cleared. Just recently I signed on to a project, got the go-ahead, and then I said, well, until I actually receive the advance, I don't do any work. I got the advance, I started to work, less than a week later, through no fault of my own (or, really, the publisher to be fair, but a third party was involved), the project collapsed. Long story short, (and because I did due diligence with my contract) I got to keep my money.
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I had a call from them waiting when I got home tonight. Eager to hear what they had to say.

    I, too, bought a bunch of discounted books and sold them myself. Made more that way than I did from my advance.
  10. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    How were you able to do that? I'm surprised they didn't make it contractually impossible.
  11. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Easy to do, you just can't sell them to regular bookstore retailers.
  12. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Anybody in this discussion ever dealt with Indigo Publishing?

    I think their stock in trade is repackaging newspaper stories into commemorative books, or some such.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page