Thursday, December 11, 2008

Upcoming Debut Author - Kelly Gay

Kelly Gay is back to give us an update on her adventures as an upcoming debut author!

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Hello, Fantasy Debut readers! Your intrepid contracted author here, back to report on another milestone. I know, it’s been a while, right? One thing that might be evident at this point: things move slowly in the publishing business. But I’m very happy to report my contract arrived, twenty pages of publishing jargon all directed at “The Work” i.e., The Better Part of Darkness and its sequel. The contracts have been signed and returned. Now, I’m awaiting my very own copy to treasure forever and/or manically bite my nails over. (We’ll get to the maniacal part in a sec). And, yes, I admit it, I have pictures of me holding my contract and grinning over the top like a tickled fool. Those you will not be seeing today. :) It’s better this way. Trust me.

So why did it take so long you might wonder? The time frame from offer to contract was 5 months. According to some that’s a tad long, but not unheard of. I’ve heard of longer. For a first-time author, or any author signing on with a new publishing house, the contract starts out as that house’s standard publishing contract or boilerplate. The next step for us was to tweak and fine tune some of the clauses to fit me and my needs. Getting to that point required some back and forth between publisher and agent, thus the time length. Pretty standard stuff though.

I felt really good about signing my name because I wasn’t signing something I didn’t understand. This is where lots of research, friends in the biz, and a good agent/agency came in handy. Any questions or concerns were addressed beforehand, and my contract was exactly what I hoped it would be.

So, how does it feel signing? Duuuude. That one word says it all, but I’ll say more. It was awesome. A moment I’ll never forget. There was a calmness about the whole thing that surprised me, but once I finally stopped reading and re-reading the dang thing and signed it, my heart was pounding just like it did the next day when I handed over the envelope to be mailed off to NYC. But, it was/is also scary. The reality is now firmly solidified. I have deadlines, expectations for Book 2. And nothing is left to chance. If I don’t turn in an acceptable revision on Book 1, or if Book 2 is unacceptable, it’s all there in the contract -- the scary stuff. Remember when I said “maniacal finger-biting”? We have arrived. No pressure. Really. :)

All kidding (er, sort of) aside, I’m excited about where my heroine, Charlie, and Underground Atlanta are headed, and Book 2 is turning out to be a wild, unexpected ride. So far so good . . . A big milestone has passed, leaving me one step closer to seeing my book in print!

Next up (I’m hoping) revisions and cover art. Stay tuned . . .

Kelly

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Kelly agreed to stop by and answer any comments, so please make her feel welcome!

31 comments:

Tia Nevitt said...

The whole "acceptable revision" clause would scare the heck out of me.

And how cool is it that it takes place in the Underground Atlanta ? That's one place I need to visit. It's just up the road from Jax, so I just need to DO it.

Kelly Gay said...

Road trip to Atlanta!! :D

Thanks for having me on today, Tia! And, yeah, the "acceptable revision" thing is way scary. Although, I have it on good authority (my editor) that the revisions should be pretty simple. **fingers crossed**

T.D. Newton said...

Cool, thanks for the "peek" into the biz. I'm saving a bottle of wine for just such an occasion.

Kelly Gay said...

Sure thing, T.D. :) Thanks for stopping by. And good luck with the writing!

Tia Nevitt said...

Just click on the "Kelly Gay" link under this post to see the previous installment. I should have included it in the post.

Jill Wheeler said...

Congratulations! I'm sure the second book will be awesome.

Kelly Gay said...

Thanks so much, Jill! :D

PJ von Detweiler said...

Enjoy the ride! Like everything else, the "first" time comes only once.

Beth Caudill said...

Congrats on getting that paperwork signed. Look forward to seeing your book on the shelves.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Congrats, Kelly! I know just what you mean. My contract was faster (there isn't much you can change in a Harlequin contract at first), but I remember looking at those clauses for Work #2 -- deadline for proposal, deadline for mss, and thinking, "whoa, this is serious."

I just had the pleasure of reading line edits. (I don't get copy edits; not sure if this is Harlequin in general or merely the fact I write for the office in England.) Um, that was interesting. Good luck with all those parts of the process! The firsts are all special. :)

Kelly Gay said...

Thanks, PJ! This year and next is/will be full of "firsts", and I'm definitely looking forward to them!

Beth and Lynn!!! Hey, ladies. Thanks so much for taking time out to visit. Y'all rock. ;-)

LeeAnn Flowers said...

I am so happy for you. Can't wait to get your book. It sounds yummy. Congrats in every way.

michaeljasper said...

Congrats on finally getting that contract signed! It is weird how slowly things move in publishing. It's enough to make an author crazy or something...

You sure you don't have those post-contract-signing pictures available somewhere???

Kelly Gay said...

Yay, LeeAnn stopped by! Glad you to see you here and thanks for the nice words. :)

Michael: You will have to pry those pics from my cold, dead fingers. We're talking early a.m., still in jammies, hair in enormous 80's-style poof . . . Maybe I'll sell them to the military since I'm pretty sure they'd turn a viewer to stone. :D

Keli Gwyn said...

Kelly,

Thanks for sharing your contract signing story. Since I've yet to go through the experience, it's nice to hear about it from one who has.

I'm glad that when your contract finally arrived, you were happy with all the fine print--even if portions of it induced a bit of nail-biting reality.

And, as a scrapbooker who believes in preserving life's milestones in full color, I applaud you for taking the pix. Years from now (very few, I'm sure) when you're on the NYT bestseller list, you'll enjoy looking back at this moment in time.

Sabrina said...

Congratulations, Kelly! Enjoy it!

And welcome to Pocket!

Incidentally, did you happen to have the clause about "amusement park rights"? My first Pocket contract had that, and I laughed until I cried. Because we ALL know what chances there are of someone opening a "Regency-Era" amusement park based on my books. :-) It was so KIND of them to let me keep the amusement park rights.

Tia Nevitt said...

Wow; Kelly really knows how to rustle up some comments!

Sabrina, I loved the "amusement park rights" story! I agree--so kind of them to let you keep those rights! Now get that proposal together for a dark ride at Disney! A Regency-Era ride? I'd be all over it!

Kelly Gay said...

Thanks for the comment, Keli! You ROCK, woman!

OMG, Sabrina. That's hysterical! I'm gonna say that clause was not in my contract; I'd definitely remember that! LMAO. Thanks for posting and the welcome; I know you're busy writing your next NYT bestseller. ;-)

pseudosu said...

Congrats Kelly-- and yes! Thanks for sharing your experience with all we still aspiring authors.

This is probably a naive question, but had you dealt with your editor enough by the time you signed that you felt comfortable with what kinds of revisions he/she is expecting? Were there lengthy discussions about this or was it kind of "take it or leave it"?
Intensely curious-- thanks!

Tia Nevitt said...

GREAT question, Pseudosu!

Kelly Gay said...

Hi Pseudosu,

That's actually a great question! Yes, by the time I signed my contract (well before that actually), I'd spoken to my editor by phone and email regarding revisions.

One of the first things he ever told me was his revision philosophy -- it's my book and my vision, and he doesn't want to mess with that. If he does suggest changes it's not out of personal preference or "just because', it's to make a better book. I could have jumped through the phone and hugged him! He also made sure I understood that it's okay to disagree and our relationship isn't going to be a my-word-is-law kind of thing.

But, yeah, I knew beforehand his thoughts, and am really comfortable with everything he's told me so far. I think the book will be that much better due to his input.

:-)

Tia Nevitt said...

Lawyers. That dratted legalese just makes it all seem so scary.

strangerface said...

Hi, Kelly, I got linked over here from Colleen. I work in the Pocket contracts department and it touched my heart that you actually read the whole thing and it made you happy.

And, no, five months is not unheard of. I think the longest I've been tangentially involved in was a year. But I'm sure more seasoned contracts professionals have way more horror stories.

Kelly Gay said...

Strangerface -- okay, I'm so tickled you stopped by! :D

I couldn't imagine not reading the whole contract. I'm one of those people who has to know what everything means and what exactly I'm signing. One, it's my career on those pages, and, two, it's just plain cool. I think I read that thing at least four times!

Mulluane said...

I'm betting that first published book is like your first love. You never ever forget how sweet that felt, even though you love each one that comes after just as much.

Here is to hoping that you always stay in love!

Tracey O'hara said...

Kelly,
Isn't it a blast to see it all there in Black and White. Wait till you then get the first check - that is truly awesome.

Tracey O'hara said...

oh yeah - must add I can't wait to read book 1 AND book 2. You rock.

Kelly Gay said...

Mulluane: You're so right. It's a lot like love, isn't it? Thanks for posting! :)

Ms. Tracey O'Hara!! Thanks for dropping by. I can't wait to read YOUR books when they come out. It's so cool we're going through this process at the same time and writing in the same genre, too. Yeah, and I'm looking forward to that check! :D

Carol A. Strickland said...

What a great story! As a first-time author myself (epub) I know the agonizing wait for the contract. Mine took longer than yours, nyah nyah!

Apparently I'm over the "acceptable revision" now (just added a bunch of commas and took away every last semi-colon) and am waiting... waiting... waiting... to get the line edits. Funny thing: I got my finished cover long before my editor knew it was being worked on or before the editing process had even begun!

And I didn't sweat over amusement park rights; they weren't mentioned anywhere. However when Spielberg wants to make a female-friendly fantasy film -- I got that covered! Ain't it all a hoot? You did the smart thing and photo-doc'd the process. Put it all in a scrapbook for posterity.

Best-seller lists, here we come!

Kelly Gay said...

Hey, Carol! Thanks for stopping by, and congrats on your book and getting those revisions done. That's a huge relief. And I checked out your cover -- awesome. ;-)

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks everyone for the great turnout!!!