So Saturday, I attended the usual 3rd Saturday meeting for the NTRWA and got to hear Shelley Bradley talk about the business, but a part of the business you usually don't hear about at one of these things. The actual publishing process (contract talk) and the difference between it with e-publishers and print publishers. Wow! I learned so much, I swear my brain grew just a little.
Some things I took away with me: E-publishers' turn around time until your book is available online ranges from about 3-9 months, whereas print publishers can take anywhere from 11 to 36 months. She mentioned (with print publishers) how you should never settle on a 36 month contract. A common length can be around 24 months, but can always be negotiated (hence the reason awesome rockstar agents are a must). With e-books, you get no advance, just royalties, and if you ever want the option of your e-book going to print, make sure the word count is 50-55K and over. With print, the common thing now a days is a split advance, and not half split (like it use to be), but 3 or 4 splits. You get a portion when you sign with the publisher, a portion at D & A (delivery) and a portion when the book releases. She mentioned how you really want to get as much up front on the signing as possible, because the time from then until your book actually releases might end up being a year, which is a year of waiting to get paid again.
The Option Clause is another part of the contract she went over. This is the length of time you have until your next novel can be released, and these can be tricky. Be very specific in the contract about the next novel you plan on releasing through that publisher. For example, "contemporary YA" can be any novel falling in that category. But if you put something like "contemporary YA paranormal" then, technically (and correct me if I'm wrong here, published people) if you write a YA historical romance, or anything other than YA, you have the option of going to another publisher instead of being tied up with the publisher that has your first book and waiting on the option clause before your next book can be released. Also, make sure the length of time in which the publisher will accept your Book 2 (contemporary YA paranormal to use the example) isn't a lengthy amount of time. If they put in the contract they won't read the second book until no earlier than 3 months after the release of your first, and their response (with revisions etc.) might not get back to you until 6 months later, you're looking at an awful long time before your second book hits the shelves, and if 18 months passes before this happens, readers might forget about you.
This is all just example, but make sure to understand what the Option Clause means (and again, another reason I strongly urge to have an awesome rockstar agent).
She talked about a multitude of other things like book covers and an authors control (including how it works with e-publishers), Grant & Territory (world rights, foreign rights, etc.) Royalties (print publishers generally give around 4-8% for mass paperback, but not to take less than 6%, and the more common is 8%) until you make USA Today or the Times (which is typically after selling 150K copies. For trade, it ranges around 7.5%), Length of Term and Revision clause and so much more! So, this is another reason I encourage you, aspiring writer, to find a group and join! Your brain will grow amazingly fat!
As well as all of this awesome information, the NTRWA not only has an annual conference, but an annual contest called Great Expectations. I shall be entering, and anyone in the area, you should enter as well!