You may remember how Azure Fire Publishing has both hired me to be their Editor-in-chief and asked me to publish my fantasy/sci-fi books with them.
I now have some more exciting news to share: Patakis, the largest Greek publishing house, has bought in advance my next 3 children’s books and will publish them next year in Greece. Which means I am officially a hybrid author, as they also offered me a cash advance (a small one, but hey, it’s the principle, right?)
The new books continue the adventures of the little boy, his dog, and a few new cast members including a dragon (some Musiville favorites also make guest appearances). Their titles are Valiant Smile, Whisker Smile, and Lola’s Smile. All books will now be officially part of the Mystery Smiles series (the old name, Niditales, will now be phased out).
The first book will be published in Greece in March and the rest are scheduled for May and October. As I still hold the rights for the English language, I will be self-publishing them on Amazon in the same months.
Negotiating With A Publisher
- Patakis first expressed an interest in my books almost 3 years ago. Even though we’d hit it off, I never heard from them for over 2 years. Then, earlier this year, I received an email telling me they would be interested in signing me on. Things in the publishing world move far slower than in the Indie one (“at a glacial speed,” as a seasoned pro once described it). Keep that in mind when you send in manuscripts or respond to a publisher’s interest. Publishers work at a completely different timescale than Indies. They make long-term plans and already have a publishing schedule that spans several years. Which means it can take a while before they get to your book.
- It took us over 6 months of negotiations to successfully sign the contracts. The first draft they sent me covered all of their needs. The final contract was more balanced, addressing my concerns as well. For example, I made sure to include clauses that would see the rights to the books revert to me in the event of the publisher going bust or in the event they sold under 150 copies in a single year. Stick to your guns where it matters to you.
- Patakis accepted increasing some royalties during our negotiations. Others, not so much. I know I said you should stick to your guns, but you should also be ready to compromise and accept that you win some, you lose some. Choose your battles and know when to budge.
- I’ve heard plenty of authors (especially trad-published ones) claim that no publisher would ever touch an Indie-published work. I’ve always been skeptical of that claim. Now, I know it’s a non-issue. Indeed, being an Indie was a definite advantage in my case. It has taught me a lot about publishing. It has honed my writing and marketing skills. And it helped me understand the publisher’s point of view during our contract negotiations, something that proved invaluable. I got far more generous terms than most authors signing on to a major publisher because of my Indie experience, as the publisher admitted. Having a proven sales record also helped secure a better contract. It also allowed me to keep the publishing rights for the English language, as I could prove that I was doing a better job selling my book than they would.
- My book marketing expertise was much appreciated. In fact, they offered me a consultancy position to help them push some of their other books on Amazon. Which shows you just how precious (and uncommon) a skill it still is.
- When negotiating your contract, consult a lawyer and be honest. If a term gives you pause, let them know. Explain what it is that troubles you and offer a solution that covers your needs as well. Always be polite and professional, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind. You’re entering a partnership, and it’s the same as with any romantic relationship: if they can’t love you for who you are, chances are it won’t last long.
- Do your homework. Is the publisher someone you want to do business with? What do you hear from other authors? In my case, I was helped a lot by two Greek authors (hi Marina, Kosta) who knew what’s happening in the Greek publishing world. When, 3 years ago, I enlisted the help of Delta Publishers in distributing my first book in Greece, I failed to do all that. As a result, I never saw a penny of my sales. Learn from my mistake and don’t rush into things.
Congratulations, Nicholas! That is fantastic 😀 And thank you for the tips as well. Very helpful.
Thank you 🙂
Congratulations! Well deserved recognition, and a real wake up call about the glacial speeds of publishing… I had no idea it took THAT long. Well done, και εις ανώτερα! -Anna
Thank you so much, Anna! How’s your little star writer? I’m still waiting to hear from you about that Skype call 🙂
She is fine! Thank you for asking 🙂 She was part of a theatre performance at school that happened last week, so she had lots of rehearsals in the run-up that meant she was mostly either home later than our discussed time, or catching up on homework. Do you want us to disturb you during this festive period? I wasn’t sure if it would be a bad time…
A regular Renaissance girl 🙂
Ach, don’t worry about it. It’s probably the best time to chat, as I’ll have some time off. Thanks for being so considerate, though 🙂
Oh Nick I’m delighted!! Fantabulous news! You deserve it. Can’t wait to see your obnoxious success and wonder why you won’t talk to me any more.
On another note, I’m sure you were already made aware of this so apologies if I’m only repeating the obvious, but I was browsing in the children’s section the other day and saw a book written by UK TV star Miranda Hart about a little girl who had lost her smile, and was, guess what… travelling around searching for it! Does being plagiarised mean you’ve already become an obnoxious success?
Yay! That comes on top of finding out that Runaway Smile is also sold by a company I’ve never heard of–on Amazon of all places. As they’re kind enough to offer it at 50% more than I do, I’m not terribly worried, as being pirated an plagiarized on the same week can only mean that I’m famous and the days of my money woes are finally over. Why are you laughing?
Because it’s December and I’m drunk. Seriously. Get with the times, dude.
Congratulations, Nicholas – I’m delighted for you, and wish you great success.
Thank you so much, Toni 🙂
Excellent news! And much deserved, needless to say. What you say about trad publishers relying on the hard-fought experience gained by the indies makes much sense. Can’t wait to see the books on their site!
Thank you so much! It was fun to watch that particular myth get busted. Unless it’s somehow different in other countries, of course.
Congratulations, Nicholas and thank you for the words of advice. Well done and good luck.
Thank you so much, Adele 🙂
Okay, I’m super excited for you Nicholas! This is fantastic news and you’ve had enough years of experience to better negotiate and know the biz. I wish you much success my friend! Thank you for sharing with us here, and wish you and your family a beautiful Christmas. 🙂
Yay! Thank you so much, Debby, I appreciate it! Merry Christmas to you, too 🙂
Thanks so much Nicholas. 🙂
COngratulations, you hybrid author, you! 😀 … I’d add to your list, be prepared to walk away, at any time in the negotiating process. Contrary to popular belief, the author is hiring the publisher to get their story in front of an audience.
I love your attitude–and thanks 🙂
Congratulations! You are an inspiration
Thank so much, Daniel, you’re too kind 🙂
So exciting for you and mega congrats! Thank you, also for the sound advice when it comes to negotiating contracts. Superb, as always!
Thank you so much 🙂
Well done Nicholas, not an easy task in this day and age.
Thank you so much, Leslie! As I keep saying, it took a lot of patience–and praying 🙂
and it all worked out for the best….
I sure do hope so 🙂
Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family Nicholas.
To you too, Leslie! Thank you 🙂
Congratulations Nicholas – that’s such awesome news 😀
Thank you so much, Catherine 🙂
Congratulations, Nicholas, and thanks for sharing your wisdom. It’s a tricky business and having a strong understanding of the business is key. I appreciate the note that indie-publishing can provide lots of that training. Can’t wait to see your next children’s books!
Thank you so much, D! As I was explaining, Greece is a strange country: only 5% of people buy books online. As a result, it’s virtually impossible to reach readers without a publisher–and Patakis has the best distribution system. However, I’ve kept the rights for the English language, unless they can get me a good publishing deal. They were really nice during the negotiations, which I appreciated.
That’s so interesting that paper books are still preferred by such a large percentage. In a way, it’s really nice, but makes the publishing deal all the more important. Cheers!
I guess it is nice in a way, even though it often exasperates me 🙂
Well done Nicholas! You deserve everything that comes your way. What your post highlights for me is that I have failed to manage to market my indie works because fundamentally they are so ‘niche’ that none of the genre, series, funnel strategies seemed to apply. Just as I was on the point of creating said ‘funnel’ with short stories I was invited to submit to a trad publisher, so fingers crossed!
They will probably say no for want of your kind of following! And maybe when I am out of earshot! But maybe if one can;’t live in hope one can die in hope!
I’ll keep both fingers and toes crossed for you, Philippa 🙂
Contgratulations! I hope you become a household name. 🙂
Aw, you! Thank you 🙂
Excellent advice as always, Nicholas.
Best wishes, Pete.
Thank you so much, Pete 🙂
Congrats with the contract! Great present for Holidays 🙂
Tatyana at http://www.arts-ny.com
Thank you so much, Tatyana 🙂
How exciting. Congratulations and great job.
Thank you so much, CC 🙂
Congratulations! That’s awesome! Half of the setting in my first novel (I’m still revising, but close to finishing in the next 10 weeks or so) is set in Santorini and Athens, Greece. My mom is from Greece. OPA! Best wishes.
Lol-talk about a small world! Thanks and welcome 😀
Congratulations and good to stand on your rights too. You are right, they also need to respect you and your earning this way, otherwise you could do all by yourself.
I haven’t been looking into your children books yet, but from which age are they meant? I ask you, because I will have Grandchildren in the coming years, who will need help to learn to love books, just like their parents did. They will learn languages too and I think, it is a good way to start by reading books for them.
First of all, thank you for your interest in reading my books! I think my books can be enjoyed the most by children over the age of five, as they contain a lot of text for younger kids. You can actually check them out for free on https://nicholasrossis.me/childrens-books/runaway-smile/ and https://nicholasrossis.me/childrens-books/musiville/
Thank you, I will, but I will need to wait some years yet. My first Grandson is now 16 days and the next Granddaughter should be born in February. I wish to introduce them for books early, just as I did with my own kids back then.
Oh my gosh, I remember reading about that, and how they visited you at the hospital! Congratulations on the wonderful news and the new arrival. How’s your health?
Thank you Nicholas. I’m recovering and I can feel, it is going the right way, even if it not as fast, as I could wish for. I’m grateful for every day, I get.
Yes, I’m very happy to become a Granny now and mostly happy, that my kids chose to be mature enough, before they decided to have kids. It means the world for the kids later.
Thank you so much, Janice 🙂
That’s huge! Congratulations! It’s also really nice to hear that trad publishers are willing to work with self-pubbed authors, because that’s something I’ve been thinking more and more about lately. Can’t wait to read all about your successes 🙂
And failures. In fact, I’ve already scheduled that post for the 21st 🙂
To quote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, one of my favorite childhood films, which is much weirder to watch as an adult, “From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success.”
I haven’t watched that in ages. Now I want to!
Congratulations, Nicholas – that’s so exciting! 🙂
Thank you so much, Lori 🙂
Thank you 🙂