Recently, you wrote to ask me if I'd like to write for you— for free— or license one of my works to you, gratis. Or, were you the one who asked me to donate my royalties? I forget.
Of course it's not really "free"— there's always the publicity, which I can't get enough of.
I eat publicity pancakes every day for breakfast, and pay my mortgage with publicity, and even my family's education. Whenever the phone bill comes due, I always send them some "publicity," because they say it's even better than cold hard cash!
Plus, no one's ever heard of me, which makes it even more precious. I have no idea how you managed to dig me up; I've only been in this business for 35 years, and I bet your track record dwarfs mine.
Obviously, you're only working for publicity, as well. I talked to your boss the other day— we were in line at the Cayman Islands Bank branch— and he told me he doesn't even bother depositing greenbacks anymore; just publicity!
While we're negotiating our contract, may I recommend a book to you? It's a priceless crash course, a grad school education in publishing, for under $20.
The title is The Writer's Legal Companion. Although it's written for authors, any publisher, editor, or publicist— who's unaccustomed to professional and legal obligations in our industry— would be well-served by it. To your self-interest, I might add.
Recently, you wrote to me seeking advice about how to get a break in the publishing business.
I asked you what you'd been reading lately, but you told me you'd been awfully busy; hard to catch up with all those pages.
I paraphrased Twain: "Those who don't read have little advantage over those who can't."
But you shushed me— time is of the essence! You apparently have a great idea you'd like to see picked up by a major outlet and publisher. You just need a quick tip, the right connection!
I usually consult with authors professionally, from Pulitzer Prize winners to Hollywood scribes, but I know you're special. You were so thoughtful to call on me, and suggest I could come on over, put my affairs aside, and help you with this effort. Giving is important! I never hear from people like you, maybe once every ten years. It's so remarkable you found me at all.
Maybe someday, when you make it big, you could put in a kind word for me at your church.
I know you can read all you want after you're dead, but out of sheer panic, I recommend these sources to you:
How To Write a Dirty Story, my book on the publishing business, particularly the chapters I wrote in Part V:
"If You Want to Make Some Money At Writing— But Not a Full-Time Livlihood
"If You Want to Make a Living at Writing— Year In and Year Out
"If You Want to Write a #1 Bestseller— & Never Write Again If You Don't Want To"
My second urgent tip is the The Writer's Legal Companion. I can't imagine anyone making it in this business who hasn't memorized its principles backward and forward. I have negotiated over 500 contracts since I first read this book, and I use its tenets every day.