Selling An Incomplete Book While You're Still Writing It.

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Denv12
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Selling An Incomplete Book While You're Still Writing It.

Post by Denv12 » 01 Nov 2019, 18:02

I'm still writing a book and still finding other book ideas to write about too.What would you do if someone offered to buy your book as is despite it not being completed? How do you determine what would be an acceptable price for it? Where do you start in the negotiation process? Are their any complications that need to be dealt with? Do you need to write a legal document stating what they can and can not do once they purchase the book? Has anyone been through that experience before? I hope you can help. Thank you.

Regards Denv12.

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JudasFm
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Post by JudasFm » 02 Nov 2019, 06:56

This does happen in non-fiction; agents and some publishers will accept proposals for non-fiction books that have yet to be written (presumably to save you doing all that research, but I'm guessing there ;)) I know nothing about non-fiction, so I can't be of any use to you if that's what you're writing.

If you're talking about fiction, I'm afraid it's never, ever going to happen, purely because that's not how the industry works. If it has happened, run a mile; whoever's offering this to you is not legit and should be reported. A lot of people start writing a novel, but very few have the dedication needed to finish it. Agents and publishers are already inundated with completed projects to sort through; they're not going to take a chance on a book that might not even be completed.

By 'price,' I assume you're talking about advances and royalties (ie, the money the author gets). You don't get to decide that; the publishers tell you what they'll pay. It'll probably be very small to start out with, since unknown authors don't tend to sell. While you might get a little wiggle room ("I have 1.5 million followers on my Twitter writing account and an endorsement from Famous Author, so I think it's likely to sell,") it's very unlikely.

Publishers and agents have a bog-standard in-house contract for you to sign. Unless you're mega-famous, you don't get to negotiate. JK Rowling, for example, could probably name her own terms, but otherwise, you're tied to the same legal restrictions as everybody else.

I'm not sure what you mean by "what they can and cannot do once they purchase the book." Do you mean, "Okay, you can make a movie about it, but only if you let me approve the script and you have to cast Actors A, B and C!"? If so, you don't get to decide that either. Selling your book is a bit like selling your house; once the new owners have possession, you don't have any legal right to complain if they decide to remodel the kitchen ;)

Denv12
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Post by Denv12 » 02 Nov 2019, 16:44

Thank you JudasFM. I appreciate your reply.
I guess there's a lot to learn about the selling a book process I hadnt realised.

I thought about a situation if I had someone who proof read the book and then felt they could do something about getting the book published by self publishing the book.If they were to offer to buy what I've written so far then complete the document by putting it onto software to complete the book in that way then pay for it to be published themselves.What would be a price to start for me to sell it?

If they tried to claim they wrote the book themselves well,thats just a wrong thing to do.They could add their name to the book as contributing to the book as whatever.I guess its like anything you sell,once you sell it its theirs.

Thanks again.Regards Denv12.

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Post by JudasFm » 04 Nov 2019, 21:21

It's okay :) We all had to start somewhere.

Honestly, I'm still not sure what you're getting at. Are you saying that (for example) you write 50% of the book, send it for proofreading and the person wants to finish writing the other 50% and publish it on your behalf? If that's the case, why wouldn't you finish it yourself?

If you're saying that you write 50% and decide you don't want to finish it, but you still want to see it published, then you would hire a ghostwriter. In that case, you would pay them, not the other way around. I've never heard of anyone paying to do someone else's writing except in the case of copyright (for example, if I wanted to write a Harry Potter book, I'd have to pay JK Rowling a huge amount of money to get permission to use her characters. This is why some authors can be a bit touchy about fanfiction.) In that case, however, I'm not paying to publish JK Rowling's work; I'm paying her a flat fee because I want to use her characters and world to make money for myself, and so I'm compensating her for lost royalties.

If your work is 100% complete and your proofreader says, "Hey, I love this and I want to get it published!" then that's something that also isn't likely to happen. "I love this and you should get it published!" is far more likely.

I have formatted stuff to publication standards in the past for a beta reader of mine, but that was partly as a thank you, partly because I know that particular reader's clueless about technology :P "Format this for publication on Amazon as a favor," is fine. "Format this for publication on Amazon and pay me X hundred dollars for letting you do it," isn't.

However, self-publishing (via Amazon Kindle etc) is 100% free, so there's no reason why you couldn't do it yourself. Formatting the book with chapter headings for Kindle can be slightly tricky, but there are plenty of tutorials to show you how to do it. Again, no one is going to pay you for the privilege of working for you. This goes both ways: if anyone says they'll publish your book for X dollars, don't fall for it, or at least do your research very carefully and ask a lot of questions beforehand. Unfortunately, most of us make a financial loss on our first book, since we're not famous enough to pull in readers and we still have to pay cover designers ;) ("You have to pay me to let you pay a sham publishing house thousands?" Yeah...I can't see many people going for that ;))

If a publishing house charges you thousands to publish, or if it charges a "reading" or "editing" fee, run :D

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