Fame and Fortune

by Channie Greenberg


Dr. Owen Brownstone:

Thank you for sending us Deep Water Creature Delights. We love it and would like to include it in our publishing schedule for 2019. We will be in touch shortly with a contract.

Zilpa Jatkowitz
Publisher
Small Books and Bigger Ambitions

* * *

Ms. Zilpa Jatkowitz:

Yee-haw! I can’t wait to sign a contract with you! When will I receive it?

Dr. Owen Brownstone

* * *

Dr. Owen Brownstone:

I’m not yet sure when we’re going to release Deep Water Creature Delights. Meanwhile, here’s a copy of our “boilerplate” contract for your consideration.

Zilpa Jatkowitz

* * *

Ms. Zilpa Jatkowitz:

The contract looks good. Should I fill in the blanks and sign it? :) I’m more than okay with a publishing date that’s over a year away; I have other projects in the works. I would, though, like to establish a manuscript due date for the rewrites of Deep Water Creature Delights so I can adjust my calendar.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Warmly,
Dr. Owen Brownstone

PS: Did I share with you that Crazed Critter’s editor nominated one of my pieces, “Lobsters are Friends, not Food,” for “Best of the Net?”

P2S: PayPal suits me as a payment channel.

P3S: Per copyright registration, do you know of an URL that gives step-by-step directions? (I think I need to take this action for others of my books, too.)

P4S: Do you want an author photo for the back cover? When do you want a publicity biography? If this book is scheduled for the latter half of 2019, perhaps these items should wait as I might garner more awards/peer recognition in the interim.

PPS: Please clarify:

“Author may use the cover art or any other promotional artwork provided by Publisher for the Work in Author’s own promotional material as long as this agreement is in force and at their own discretion.”
vs.
“Publisher will provide Author with digital formats of cover art, promotional art and advertising copy for the use of promoting the Work while this agreement is in force.”

Does that mean I can use a jpg of the cover for my website? That I can use a jpg of the cover for author interviews? Other?

* * *

Dr. Owen Brownstone:

Congratulations on your nomination! That’s wonderful.

Yes, please fill in the contract.

Zilpa Jatkowitz

* * *

Ms. Zilpa Jatkowitz:

Thank-you for your warm wishes. I gush when folks say nice things about me (or nominate me for awards). Book contracts, too, make me smile.

Warmly,
Owmapow (Dr. Owen Brownstone)

* * *

Dr. Owen/Owmapow:

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been swamped.

I’d like an author photo. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It does, however, have to be hi-res. Fun/casual is fine. Yes, we can wait until next year. We’re looking at November 2019, so if you win the Nobel Prize, you have plenty of time to update your biography.

Also, you can use the cover image wherever you like for promotion, as long as we’re still publishing your book. Should we part ways, should you decide to self-publish or should you go with another publisher, you’ll have to get a new cover.

I’ll be Deep Water Creature Delights’ project editor. I tend to run three to four rounds of edits and two rounds of proofing. The first edit will be for content. Later, a finer copy edit will be done by another staff member. Thereafter, yet another employee and you will proof the final document. We’ll send you a PDF as well as a print copy to proof.

I’ll ask you to provide some information about yourself to help market the book. I need websites, social networking links, your bio., your bibliography, a head shot, and more.

A few months before Deep Water Creature Delights’ release, our Art Director will contact you with his draft of the cover art. He’ll also ask you about the kind of graphic content you’ll need for cards, banners, and bookmarks.

At about the same time, our PR intern, Nancy May, will also contact you about promoting Deep Water Creature Delights and about branding yourself as an author. Finally, Small Books and Bigger Ambitions will provide you with a zip file of the eBook in PDF, ePub and Mobi forms, all of which you can share with friends, colleagues and book reviewers.

I’ve attached the completed contract. Thank-you for filling in the missing data. Please print, sign, and return the contract to me. The best method is for you to scan and to email to me the signature page. I’m looking forward to working with you. Again, I apologize for the delay.

Zilpa Jatkowitz

* * *

Zilpa:

The signed signature page is attached. May I announce this project? I’m so excited about Deep Water Creature Delights!

Nov. 2019 suits me. When will I receive your first round of editing requests? What is the temporal spacing among the three or four rounds of edits?

When do you want author info? Hopefully, I’ll have more good news in the coming year. Not sure about the Nobel Prize, but a scientist can dream :) This past week, Shellfish and Their Landlocked Buddies ran a longish author interview of me. Later this month, one of my electronic chapbooks, Shells’ Bells, will get produced. I think, otherwise, you are up to date on my relevant comings and goings. Just let me know when you want me to package these data and which bits you want me to include/exclude.

When do you need the photo? I have a photographer I’d like to use, but I’d rather shoot closer to the release date than now, if possible.

I am looking forward to working with you, too! No worries about delays. All good things are worth waiting for ;) What’s more, I appreciate your editing rigor. I’m having good premonitions about your marketing, too. I am sincerely glad you are going to be the publisher of Deep Water Creature Delights. Please let me know when I will hear from you.

Warmly,
Owmapow

* * *

Dear Owen/Owmapow:

I have this niggling suspicion that we were supposed to Skype last month. Was that my bad? Let me know, because we’re still interested in Deep Water Creature Delights.

Sincerely, and With Apologies,
Zilpa Jatkowitz

* * *

Zilpa:

Maybe my bad. I was getting so worried about Deep Water Creature Delights, i.e. about receiving your countersignature on the contract, that I offered the book to Invertebrates Are Us, LLC. Fortunately for Small Books and Bigger Ambitions, my union with Invertebrates Are Us was not meant to be.

Regardless of book contracts, I’ve been working through a crisis with dugongs, so I have not read emails, FB messages, Skype notices, or whatnot for a while. Please forgive if I’m the one who dropped the ball. I even asked another publisher to wait a few weeks to send me proofs for my book with them. No one explains, in attachment parenting manuals, about how to release children into the world. I will miss the dugongs.

Fortunately, writing is more of a fluid experience than is creature rearing. Acceptances keep coming in! My life, in all of its glorious poignancy, seems to make for good copy. I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to know that one of the works I poked at today was a poem called “Fins in the Wake” and another was an essay entitled “Sometimes, Extra Fermentation: Seaweed’s Medicinal Uses.”

What if we Skyped sometime next week? As well, pronto, I need your signature on our contract.

Also, I have some questions about paperwork. I notice that you are a Greek living in Ireland. Although your business address is Athens, where do you file tax documents? Will it matter that I am an American author?

Also, what sort of editing schedule are you envisioning? My calendar is filling up.

Warmly,
Owmapow

* * *

Dear Owen/Owmapow:

Whew! What a relief! Let’s Skype Sunday. 16:00 GMT +0 okay?

Meanwhile, go ahead and announce. Honestly, it’s a bit far in advance for me to have a production schedule at this time. My waiting for your author picture is fine, as well as is my waiting for your bio. Per the bio, please send something personal rather than a list of awards, credits and accomplishments. The key to sales is engagement with readers; writers need to show their human side. They want to buy books from writers who narrate about the human experience. As such, some of Small Books and Bigger Ambitions’ best sellers are by authors with no prior publication credits. People pay for marvelous storytellers regardless of their credentials.

Zilpa Jatkowitz

* * *

Zilpa:

Super! Do you mind if I begin additional rewrites this month, before hearing from you or ought I to wait to see which points are most important to you? I realize that manuscripts can go through literally dozens of redos before they are market-ready.

As per persona, I can keep to the “brand” I’ve established thus far of being a biologist who writes about ocean dwellers. Just let me know what sort of “music” you like, and if it is in a key I know, I’ll be happy to dance to it.

Further, I think we are seven hours different in time zones. Accordingly, four in the afternoon in Dublin would be nine in the morning in California. Would an evening GMT +7 meeting suit you? If you called me at 7 in the morning, your time, it would be midnight, here, which would suit me better than an earlier chat.

Warmly,
Owmapow

PS: I still need your countersignature on the contract.

* * *

Owen:

The temporary book cover is up, but it doesn’t reflect the intended audience for your book. Now that I understand that Deep Water Creature Delights isn’t a collection of short stories, but a collection of scholarly essays, I think we need to rethink the project from cover to author bio. to marketing slant, and so forth.

Here’s what I have, so far:
In this important book about crustaceans, Dr. Owen Brownstone brings us on boudoir adventures. We join him in touring Pacific sea beds, where Pleuroncodes planipes, i.e. red crabs, and Ostracods, i.e. seed shrimp, breed. He takes us, too, to California lagoons, where Aplysia californica, California sea hares, fornicate with abandon. Readers are likewise able to experience the fertility rituals of Tagelus californianus, California jackknife clams.

I realize that your writing is “experimental,” but I think Deep Water Creature Delights’ description should be clearer. Keep in mind that most readers lack your Ph.D. Keep in mind, too, that I have NOT yet read your entire manuscript.

Also, your author bio. is lackluster. What you sent me was:
Faithful in his devotion to the critters of the Santa Barbra Coast, Dr. Owen Brownstone both researches Decapoda, specifically, and writes about ocean dwellers, in general. A biologist as well as a creative writer, his work can be found in: Smarmy Friends, Under the Sea, Crazed Critters, Squeaks and Roars, Astral Flora and Fauna, Ocean Scavengers, Shellfish and Their Landlocked Buddies, and Waving at Biology! Dr. Brownstone spends his summers teaching science writing and creative nonfiction at SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

We need to jazz you up. Do you have children? A lover? Goldfish? Do you taxidermy sea critters?

Try to get your changes in your book description and in your bio to me by March. :)

Regards,
Zilpa Jatkowitz

* * *

Zilpa:

Attached, please efind a mock-up of my montage idea for Deep Water Creature Delights’ cover. Note the glorious Cerithidea californica, California horn snails, in the lower right quadrant.

As well, here’s a revised book description:
Exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates are the new sexy. Tag along with Dr. Owen Brownstone as he gets up close and personal with crustaceans, bivalves and mollusks. Learn the mating habits of red crabs, seed shrimp, and jackknife clams. Your bedroom friends will be glad you did.

Here’s a revised author biography:
Like Dr Laura Whitfield, Dr. Owen Brownstone believes in the space lobsters of Mars. Until he can afford his own rocket, however, he limits his research to California estuaries and to deep water breeding grounds off of the California coast. A biologist as well as a creative writer, his work can be found in: Smarmy Friends, Under the Sea, Crazed Critters, Squeaks and Roars, Astral Flora and Fauna, Ocean Scavengers, Shellfish and Their Landlocked Buddies, and Waving at Biology! Dr. Brownstone owns no goldfish, but has a special fondness for dugongs.

Warmly,
Owmapow

PS: Our contract’s still missing your countersignature!

* * *

Owen:

I’m sorry for the terribly long delay. I want to discuss a few things with you. Due to economic circumstance, Small Books and Bigger Ambitions has decided, effective immediately, to produce all releases in digital form before issuing them in print. We need to reduce our financial outlay.

If you would prefer to withdraw Deep Water Creature Delights because of these changes, I would understand. I’d even provide my endorsement of the project. If, on the other hand, you are willing to go with digital publication first, then Small Books and Bigger Ambitions would still like to have Deep Water Creature Delights on our list.

Please let me know. Our policy changes are no reflection on your work. Thanks for your understanding.

Zilpa Jatkowitz
Publisher
Small Books and Bigger Ambitions

* * *

Zilpa:

I am happy with the edits I have made so far to Deep Water Creature Delights. I plan to keep editing and to get the next redo to you by March. I hope we can still have a Nov. launch.

I’ve given a lot of thought to what you said about going digital. In Dec., I had a book of imaginings, The Day Shellfish Took over the World, go digital. Otherwise, my books all began in print.

I don’t want to withdraw Deep Water Creature Delights from your list. In fact, I don’t want to part with Small Books and Bigger Ambitions in any way, shape, or form. I want to stay friends, too. :)

On balance, I continue to believe that Deep Water Creature Delights has the potential to raise my attraction as an author. Accordingly, I have an idea. Let’s do a two eBook contract. Let’s package the contract for Deep Water Creature Delights with a contract for Estuary Creature Delights. I have yet to find a publisher for the latter.

Given my other writing commitments, I could finish editing Estuary Creature Delights as well as complete its front and end matters at about the same time as Small Books and Bigger Ambitions launches Deep Water Creature Delights. I envision a mid-2020 launch for Estuary Creature Delights.

If I could look to a two-book contract with you, this change in house policy could work for me; I could establish myself as an eBook writer. Let me know what you think about this idea.

Owmapow

* * *

Dr. Owen Brownstone:

There really isn’t any difference between writing for eBooks and writing for print other than the use of paper. If you decide to stay with us, Deep Water Creature Delights will be placed in the digital market and then reevaluated every 90 days for possible print publication.

We aren’t really open to adding any more science treaties to our schedule at this time. So, I’m going to have to respectfully decline your offer of a 2-book deal.

Zilpa Jatkowitz
Publisher
Small Books and Bigger Ambitions

* * *

Zilpa:

Maybe we can put our creative heads together and think of something else.

Warmly,
Owmapow

PS: No matter what we do, I still need your countersignature!

* * *

Dr. Owen Brownstone:

All of Small Books and Bigger Ambitions’ forthcoming titles will be initially released in digital form and then reevaluated every 90 days for possible print release. We honestly are not interested in any more science treaties. These policies have nothing to do with your work and everything to do with our resources.

Zilpa Jatkowitz
Publisher
Small Books and Bigger Ambitions

* * *

Zilpa:

I am sincerely sorry to hear about your company’s challenges. Sigh. The publishing industry is anything but stable.

I’ve talked to a friend. I need to graciously take up your offer to leave behind our contract. Shucks! I had looked forward to doing business with Small Books and Bigger Ambitions. Writers, too, even midlist ones, like me, must protect themselves.

The electronic chapbooks I’ve offered for free were my nod toward creative commons distribution of ideas. I’ve already tried one full-length, electronic book release with poor results. For now, I need at least a fee-seeking POD level of distribution for my work.

Please send me whatever forms I need to sign. I want to make sure we properly complete closure on Deep Water Creature Delights.

I sincerely wish you and Small Books and Bigger Ambitions the best of all profit and publicity. I’ve enjoyed our relationship.

Sincerely,
Owmapow

PS: I no longer need your countersignature.


Copyright © 2017 by Channie Greenberg

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