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Official, professional site for author, speaker and blogger Karl Giberson. 


Contractual Obligations

Karl Giberson

Writer’s Log: Stardate 23-112

I just signed my contract(s) for my book Creating Adam, now titled Saving Adam. It’s amazing how long it takes to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s.”

Signing this contract is the final step in a long process that, for me, is actually the first time I have gotten a contract in a “regular” way. My previous 8 books all had some oddball path—usually a shortcut— to their respective contracts. Here is the route that Saving Adam took from “idea in my head” to “contract on my desk.”

I decided in the spring of 2011 that I wanted to get a literary agent, to help me with my writing career. I recommend this for everyone, whether you are an aspiring or seasoned writer. The agent takes a commission from your royalties—typically 15%—but I think it is worth it. 

I made some inquiries and found two agents who were interested in me. The rule of thumb is that you don’t want to be your agent’s biggest or smallest client. If you are the biggest client you should get a more high-powered agent. If you are the smallest client, you might not get much attention. But this is just a rule of thumb. There is no reason why a powerful agent would not take a small client, if she or he thought the small client would soon be a big client.  John Grisham was once a small client and his first book—A Time to Kill—sold just 5000 copies until his second book—The Firm—took off and made him a household name.

I gave each of my two potential agents a description of where I wanted my writing career to go and a list of book projects that interested me. Both agents were interested but I decided to sign with David Patterson of Foundry Media. When we chatted on the phone, I felt comfortable and very much on the same wavelength with him. There is no magic formula for choosing an agent.

David recommended Saving Adam as my next book. (I was kind of hoping he would go for the book patterned after The Screwtape Letters—where the devil undermines Christianity by making Christians stupid, rather than immoral—but he thought that should wait.)  So I started working on a book proposal for Saving Adam.

And that ended up being a lot of work…