Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Paid for your Craft: Can You Make a Living as a Writer? A Recap of the Oct 2015 Westside Writers Mingle.

When Laurie and I met after doing our initial research for this topic, our moods were pretty different. I came in excited about all the odd ideas I had found, and she came in finding the results pretty depressing.

The difference? She Googled, “Can you make a living as an author,” while I Googled, “Strange/fun/unusual ways to make a living as a writer.” And, unsurprisingly, the results were widely different. If you are someone who wants to write for a living, and you don’t care so much what kind of writing you do, there are perhaps more options out there than you might have realized. Consider starting a business where you write:

• wedding vows
• obituaries
• online dating profiles
• query letters and synopses for other writers

Or consider pairing a talent/skill/ability you already have with writing. For example, I also used to teach English and I still currently teach yoga. Now I have a freelance editing business where I edit yoga-related writing (for teachers and studios) and I also lead writing and yoga retreats.

If you want to focus your writing on books, the finances can be a little daunting. The coveted six-figure advance, once broken down into agent percentage, taxes, and how much you actually get and when, doesn’t translate into a living wage. But don’t forget that being published opens doors for revenue that might not have been there before: school visits, panels, classes, etc. And there are also sub rights, which include foreign and audio book rights, each sale of which brings more income.

Here are a few of the links we found most helpful.

On the realities of what you get paid as an author (Laurie Y.’s links):

On some possible other ways to make money as a writer (Lori S.’s links):

You can probably see why Laurie Y was depressed and Lori S was excited!

Oh, and as an aside, this is about how book sales rise when you add an image to your social media:

If thinking about the financial side of writing leaves you drained or overwhelmed, then join us at the next Mingle for some inspiration!

NEXT MINGLE: Writing and Overwhelm

Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed 
not because we're taking on too much, 
but because we're taking on too little of what really strengthens us.” 
~ Marcus Buckingham

We live in a culture of busy and overwhelm, where how much we have on our to-do lists has become the new currency. Within this, how do we find space—both in our calendars and in our psyches—to create? And for a lot of us, as we approach the holidays, this becomes even more difficult. Bring your thoughts, frustrations, suggestions, and ideas. Will also include some simple mindfulness techniques from Lori and new ways to look at time and creativity. 

DATE: Wednesday, November 4
TIME: 7 pm – 8:45 pm
LOCATION: Ocean Park branch of the Santa Monica library.

If you feel so inclined, we would welcome any baked goods to share!

Can’t wait to see you all –

With love & books,

Lori & Laurie

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Hollywood LitMingle Gets Legal

SCBWI member, Bonnie Berry LaMon, author and entertainment lawyer, sheds some light on an area most writers shy away from...the legal aspect of publishing.
The Topic:
It was so useful. Thank you, Bonnie!

Bonnie Berry La Mon, Esq.: Vice PresidentEvent Chairs Bonnie Berry Lamon, ESQ (l) and Areva Martin, ESQ (r ...
Bonnie's main point: be careful what you sign. Do not sign away your rights without knowing what you are doing. If you need a lawyer to interpret a contract, consult one. Your agent should not object. Bonnie provides a special service to writers and consultants on contracts.

It's wonderful if you have found representation with an agent, Congrats! But do your homework. Do not rely on an agent for the same knowledge as a lawyer. Though agents are helpful in brokering deals, they do not necessarily have the training to school you in the fine points of your contract.

Here are a few terms:

1) "STANDARD" -- is used to make you believe that a term can not be changed, but in fact it can be modified, negotiated or deleted.

2)  GRANT OF RIGHTS -- the list of rights that the author conveys to the publisher. Rights may be exclusive, non-exclusive, perpetual or for a designated period of time.

3) TERM -- the period of time that the writer gives the publisher for exclusive rights to the material. The maximum time period is the full length of copyright, which in the U.S. is the life of the author plus seventy years. After that, literary works go into the "public domain" and are the property of all, unless the estate of author extends the copyright and exerts ownership that way. (This may be an issue if you are wish to write a biography.)

4) TERRITORY -- the contract will specify which territories the book will be sold in. "Worldwide rights" means the publisher will control all territories and markets in the world. Typical contracts limit the territories to the U.S. and Canada. If the publisher does not specify any territory other than the U.S. and Canada, then an agent or author is free to make a separate deal with another publisher for another country, territory or language.

5) FORMAT -- can be print or ebooks, hardback or paperback. "Primary book publishing rights" is commonly defined as hardcover, trade paperback, mass market and direct mail, though electronic and audio books may be included. Often eBooks and audio rights are granted as subsidiary rights. The area of eBooks is in flux right now and needs special attention; make sure you are fairly compensated in the event of eBook publication.

6) SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS -- any rights in addition to the print and/or eBook publication: 
Foreign Rights Translation, Periodical Rights, Book Club, Electronic Audio and other New Media; Stage, Motion Picture, Video and Animation; TV, merchandising and commercial tie-ins. These can be licensed by your publisher to another party; proceeds are usually split with the author.

7) RESERVATION OF RIGHTS -- a provision that says all rights not expressly granted are reserved to the author. The language is useful for avoiding ambiguity in a contract, especially as new technologies emerge.

8) FILM AND VIDEO OPTIONS -- Important terms: option price, option period, any extended option period, approval rights of screenplay, credit, purchase price and back-end participation. There isn't space to define them all here. If your book is being optioned for film, I would definitely consult a lawyer! 

9) MULTI-MEDIA LICENSES -- ei. video games, websites, apps, hyperlinks. Video companies bear cost of developing the game, licensing the characters from the author and paying royalties. This is why it is important for authors to retain ownership of the rights of trademark. You have the right to the characters you create, unless you sign them away. So, be careful!

10) MERCHANDISING AGREEMENT -- important provisions include term, scope of license, sell-off periods, approvals and limitation on product, advances and royalty rates.
1) The Author's Guild, Inc. "Model Trade Book Contract and Guide"
2) Tad Crawford's Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers
3) Entertainment Industry Contracts, Book Publishing, Vol. 1
4) Ivan Hoffman's "Children's Book Publishing: Some Issues" (www,ivanhoffman,com)
5) Mark Levine's Negotiating a Book Contract: A Guide For Authors, Agents and Lawyers.
6) SCBWI Sample Children's Book Contract (scbwi.org/rescources/documents/10-sampleChildrensBookContract)
7) Harold Underdown's "Contracts from Children's Book Publishers:What to Expect"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SCBWI Westside Illustrators (and Writers) Schmingle!

SCBWI Westside Illustrators (and Writers) Schmingle!

WHEN: Monday Evening, October 19, 2015
                        7:00pm to 9:00pm

WHERE: 445 15th Street, Santa Monica CA 90402

                  A two story Spanish-style private home. 
                 5 blocks north of Wilshire,  between Montana

                      and San Vicente.
                   FREE residential street parking !

TOPICS:  1.   GOALSETTING!   Why are GOALS Important?
                         Did I reach 'My Summer Creative Goals?' 
                2.    REPORTS   from L.A. 'ILLUSTRATORS DAY' 

                3.     BRING 2015 BOOKS!..share SCHMALDECOTTpossiblities  
Join our very own Mock Caldecott and Mock Newbery contest                       

start here... https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/82343.2016_Mock_Caldecott

                   4.   DOOR-PRIZE! ????

artwork in progress, portfolios, postcards,etc...!                   
Share and inspire us with your creativity!       

Continuing monthly topics:     
"Doodle a Day " continues! 
"Dream Big... Start Small! " with baby steps!

  Our mission.....
Let's enjoy a fun creative evening together
& move forward in our common pursuit
of making a contribution to the world of
children's illustration and literature!

RSVP preferred ...  SuzyBlock@gmail.com 
GOODIES? sure :)

See you soon.... Suzy8-)

SuZy engelman BloCK
SCBWI Coordinator
Westside Illustrators Schmooze

Monday, October 5, 2015

SCV Lit Mingle: October First Pages Workshop



Bring the first page or two of your current WIP. We will divide into small groups for critiquing, feedback and...mingling!

When:  Thursday, October 8th
Time: 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Where:  Barnes & Noble, Valencia


Come to October's Lit Mingle for a chance to win a pack of brand newly released kids' books!

1 Ticket - Just show up!
1 Ticket - Arrive on time!
1 Ticket - Bring a Friend!