Testing The Indie Spirit
As we’re reporting this morning (April 6) at The Bookseller’sThe FutureBook, Jasinda and Jack Wilder have come up with an Easter surprise for their many fans: Their agent, Kristin Nelson, has negotiated a seven-figure deal for three books with Penguin Random House’s Berkley Books.
This is a new case of self-publishing authors stepping into a major traditional-publishing success, having established themselves as indie bestsellers with more than 2 million ebook sales.
The wife-husband writing team — with more than 40 novels and novellas self-published — is creating a trilogy, Madame X, for Berkley. The first book is to be released November 3, the second and third in early 2016.
And when I interviewed Jasinda Wilder over the weekend, her comments repeatedly touched on her and Jack’s dedication to readers of their books, until now entirely self-published and including the very popular Falling series. She told me:
I’d like to stress that we will still be publishing Omega and the other titles we’ve scheduled for 2015…I want everyone to know we aren’t slowing down. We’re just expanding our horizons, seeking new audiences, trying new things.
There are subtleties here to be appreciated.
And to some degree, Wilder may be throwing a signal not only to fans but also to the self-publishing author community while falling into so much good fortune.
Non-Compete: ‘We Negotiated Very Hard’
As demonstrated in responses to our recent piece, Isn’t It Time For Self-Publishers To Get Over Self-Publishing?, there is a “militant wing” of the independent authors movement that might see the Wilders’ success as a betrayal of the indie way. Author-publisher Bob Mayer has written of having an experience that I’ve had, too: Being told by authors that they didn’t announce their traditional contracts for fear of being criticized by self-publishers.
Surely, you’d think, no one could feel anything but happiness for the affable Jack and Jasinda Wilder. A farm-based couple in northern Michigan, they’re raising five children and “a menagerie of animals” while maintaining a production schedule that will not, as they’re insisting, give up any of their self-publishing plans to the new traditional project.
In fact, in talking to me, Wilder makes the point that she, her husband, and Nelson drew a line with Berkley at any non-compete clause that might have prevented their self-published output to roll on:
We negotiated very hard for a publication and non-compete schedule that would allow us to continue to self-publish projects throughout the process, because we’ve promised our fans certain titles this next year, and we pride ourselves on keeping our promises, and keeping our readers happy.
By coincidence, Kristin Nelson’s new column in her series on what makes an agent good has a lot to say about “negotiating hard.”
In Fearless Negotiation: An Agent’s Most Important Role for an Author, Nelson stresses that time is important in genuine negotiation — “Even with a basic boilerplate for my agency in place, most contracts take 6 to 12 weeks to negotiate fully” — and she makes several points about how authors and agents need to understand contracts and negotiation, including:
- Good agents negotiate all deals. Sounds simple enough. Doesn’t that always happen? Not necessarily.
- Good agents don’t accept the initial offer from the editor.
- Good agents negotiate the deal even if an author brings the publisher offer to the agent.
- Good agents are willing to walk away from an offer if the terms aren’t favorable enough for the author.
There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog
By Porter Anderson
Writing on the Ether: Indies Hitting The Big Time: Jasinda And Jack Wilder At Berkley Books
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com