Release of “An Artful Seduction”

Happy Monday! Today is the release of An Artful Seduction, the first book in my new Infamous Somertons series. The next two books, The Art of Sinning and A Sinful Arrangement will be release in 2016-17.

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His lust for revenge will be his downfall…

London, 1815. Eliza Somerton has a dangerous secret. As the daughter of the infamous art forger who duped half the ton, she’s rebuilt her life under a new name. But when an old forgery goes up for auction, her father’s enemy, Grayson Montgomery, outbids her and presents her with an unimaginable choice: help him find her father or he’ll ruin her.

For years, Grayson, the Earl of Huntingdon and one of London’s top art critics, has sought justice. His well-laid plans finally come to fruition when he learns of his enemy’s beautiful daughter. But Eliza possesses a sensuality and independent spirit that weakens his resolve, and as the heat between them sizzles, what started as revenge soon blossoms into something sinful…

Read an excerpt here!

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Publishing Contracts 101 – Grant of Rights

Whether you’ve received your tenth publishing contract or you are getting closer to obtaining your first one, publishing contracts can seem confusing and overwhelming.

Contract Exam (1)

One of the initial clauses found in these contracts is the “Grant of Publisher Rights.” It’s an important clause and it determines what you’re licensing to the publisher and what you are legally keeping for yourself. The clause includes two types of rights: (1) publication rights and (2) subsidiary rights. Publishing contracts are written to protect the publisher, and publishers always seek the broadest possible grant of rights. But as with all contracts, these clauses are negotiable. Some important things to know:

The author owns the copyright. In a grant of rights clause, the author is licensing, not selling the copyright. The author will eventually get their rights back in the reversion of rights clause of the contract (a discussion for a future blog post).

Close-up of a fountain pen

So how can an author negotiate the grant of rights clause? Here are some concrete examples.

Limit publisher’s grant of rights to legitimate ones

Be professional. Tell the publisher that you are willing to license any rights they legitimately need, but that you would like to retain the rights to the work that they don’t need and have no plans to use. Ask yourself if the publisher is just including everything in the contract, even rights that they have no intention of exploiting?

Example: foreign language rights. Does the publisher produce foreign language books or are they just collecting rights?

If the answer is no, then politely ask the publisher why it needs that right and how it intends to exploit it. If they do not intend to exploit the right, then you can ask to have it stricken. You can also suggest that you will negotiate in good faith in the future if the publisher later decides it needs the right.

What about ebooks and audio books?

In today’s publishing world, you probably won’t be able to retain ebook rights. Many publishers legitimately need them. That being said, if you write a romance novel, chances are the publisher may not need mixed media rights such as ebooks with pictures or sound (these does not include audio books). And if they do not translate ebooks into foreign languages, then this may be a right you’d like to retain.

As for audio book rights, if your publisher develops them then you can license this right to them. However, just like foreign language rights and media rights, if a publisher doesn’t  develop audio books, then you may want to negotiate to keep these rights. Who knows? You may want to produce your own audio books.

Other subsidiary rights

These can include movie and screen play rights, abridgements, anthologies, special editions, book clubs and more. Each of these can be considered separately. Is your publisher known for developing movies or screenplays? And remember, if your novel hits it big and your publisher approaches you with a movie deal, then you can always negotiate in the future!

To sum it all up, if your publisher is seeking a very broad grant of rights that they don’t legitimately need, then consider asking to have them separated out. Authors can license the rights to someone else or keep them until a future time when they can develop them themselves. In a perfect world, the author and publisher will work together to have a fair grant of rights clause for today’s constantly changing marketplace.

Please note, this blog post is not legal advice. If you are unsure of what you’re signing, don’t sign it and seek legal advice. Good luck!

You can find me at:

 www.tinagabrielle.com

http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

  In The Barrister's Bed InTheBarristersChambers

LADYOFSCANDAL Cover Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal

Get Wicked With Entangled Blog Hop!

“Trick or Treat” OR “Trunk or Treat” – Which do you prefer?

Welcome to the Get Wicked With Entangled Blog Hop! Stop by each blog to check out their favorite Halloween stories and enter to win their giveaways.

For this stop, I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift card and a copy of my soon-to-be released historical romance, A SPY UNMASKED, the first book In The Crown’s Secret Service Series. The winner will receive an ebook copy on the date of its release on November 10, 2014.

Halloween Blog Hop

 

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For the first time this year, my town hosted trunk or treat for the children. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Trunk or treat is very different from the way I grew up celebrating Halloween. We went door to door from block to block repeating the mantra “trick or treat” until our feet ached and our pillow cases were bursting with as much candy as we could carry home.

Trunk or treat is different. Families volunteer to decorate their cars with flashing orange lights, cobwebs, and big hairy spiders. The cars were parked in a big circle, and children walked around from car to car and filled their bags with candy. It’s an alternative to the old-fashioned Halloween in a much more concentrated setting where all the local parents can keep a watchful eye over the children. My kids had a great time. They saw their friends in one place—something they wouldn’t get to do if they walked around each of their separate neighborhoods.

But here’s the catch—they will still trick or treat this Friday on Halloween. So they get twice the candy. Fun for the kids? I’m still undecided.

So what do you think? Do you prefer “trick or treating” or “trunk or treating?” Please leave a comment and enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of A Spy Unmasked on its November 10, 2014 release day, then HOP to the rest of the participating blogs. Good luck!

A SPY UNMASKED

 Coming November 10, 2104 from Entangled (Cover is Top Secret!)

The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware—known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland–planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a “guest” at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he’s quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him…

Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice’s shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert’s betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia’s reputation… and both of their lives.

Happy Halloween!

Tina Gabrielle

Enter to win!

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HOP to the rest of the blogs!

 

You can find me at:

 www.tinagabrielle.com

 http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

 https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

In The Barrister's Bed InTheBarristersChambers LADYOFSCANDAL Cover Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal

Noncompete Clauses in Publishing Contracts – What precisely is an author agreeing to?

The very first time I read a noncompete clause in a friend’s publishing contract, I had to reread it—not just twice like we all should—but a few times. What exactly do publishers want and what are authors agreeing to? How important is this clause to authors anyway?

tug of war

Noncompete clauses are also called competing works clauses or conflicting publication clauses. In simple terms, noncompete clauses restrict the right of an author to write or publish another book that is similar to and would unfairly compete with the sold book. Almost all publishing contracts include a version of this clause, and publishers are well within their rights to have the exclusive right to the book the author has entered into a contract with them. But the clause must be fair and authors should check that the clause is not overly restrictive.

For example, if an author writes romantic suspense and sells it to Publisher X and there is a noncompete clause in the contract for eighteen months prior to or after publication of the work, the author may not publish another romantic suspense to Publisher Y until the eighteen months are over. With the increasing number of hybrid authors who are both traditionally publishing and self-publishing, the noncompete clause can be overly restrictive and tie up an author for months or even years.

Some publishers are progressive and they realize that a prolific author who wishes to traditionally publish and self-publish can only help sales, not hurt them, and they are more lenient with the noncompete clauses. Others may not be as progressive. Publishers are definitely entitled to have the exclusive right to the author’s book, but at the same time, the noncompete clauses shouldn’t be overly binding.

So how can an author negotiate overly binding noncompete clause? Here are some concrete examples.

Limit the definition of “compete”

Try to replace the language that says “might” interfere with sales and use “will” interfere with sales instead. The publisher is overreaching here. The publisher’s rights are still protected with the word “will” rather than “might.”

Limit the definition of “competing work”

Try to limit the definition of “competing work” in your contract. The more specific the language of “competing work,” the better for the author. For example, you can attempt to limit the clause to “a work with similar characters or title as the contracted work” or “a series military romance with Navy Seals.” This allows the author to publish or self-publish a long contemporary romance with firefighters and not violate the clause. The different genre wouldn’t be competing with the military romance novel and would free the author to make more income in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Limit the publisher’s time in a noncompete clause

Try to limit the publisher’s time in a noncompete clause. A contract shouldn’t give a publisher an unlimited time period. That’s overreaching and not necessary to protect the publisher. Examples of unreasonable time periods are: “as long as the work remains in print or electronically,” and “for the term of the copyright of the work.” Yikes! These sound bad, don’t they?

In a perfect world, the author and publisher will work together to have a fair noncompete clause for today’s constantly changing marketplace.

So have you ever heard of another way to effectively negotiate any type of contract? What’s your best tip? I’d love to hear your views, so please share!

Tina Gabrielle

A SPY UNMASKED – Coming November 10, 2014 from Entangled!

You can find me at:

 www.tinagabrielle.com

 http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

 https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

In The Barrister's Bed InTheBarristersChambers Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal LADYOFSCANDAL Cover

Option Clauses in Publishing Contracts – friend or foe to an author?

As mentioned, I’m going to talk about different aspects of publishing contracts in my blogs with the femmes. This month’s topic is option clauses.

We’ve all heard of option clauses in publishing contracts. But what exactly are they and how important are they to authors?

In simple terms, option clauses require an author to offer her next book to the publisher before anyone else. They’re also referred to as “a right of first refusal” clauses. It’s fair to assume that any clause in a contract is written in favor of the party who wrote it. In this case, the publisher.

 

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Now I know of authors who like the option clause. They say it gives them a sense of comfort knowing the publisher wants their next book. But this could very well be a false sense of comfort. Remember what I just mentioned above? Any clause in a contract is written in favor the party who wrote it. What the option clause is doing is prohibiting the author from submitting to other publishers while the publisher has no related duty. Not entirely fair, right?

If you’re a new or even a midlist author, you may not be able to eliminate the option clause entirely, but you may be able to effectively and professionally negotiate some points. Here are some concrete examples.

Limit the terms

Try to limit the word count or genre or both. The more specific the language of the option, the better for the author. For example, if the contract says “for author’s next fiction novel,” you can attempt to limit the option to “for author’s next 50,000 to 60,000 word contemporary paranormal romance.”

Limit the time you are required to submit your next book

For example, limit the amount of time you have to submit another book under the option clause, for example, number of years (one or two years). Otherwise, an option clause may be construed as endless.

Limit the publisher’s time to respond

Try to limit the publisher’s time to respond to the option work offered. For example, thirty to ninety days.

Limit the option work to a specific proposal

For example, write a short paragraph of your next work that you want covered under the option clause.

So have you ever heard of another way to effectively negotiate any type of contract? What’s your best tip? I’d love hear your views, so please share!

And please look for my next blog on different contract clauses.

Tina Gabrielle

In The Barrister's Bed   In the Barrister's Chambers   Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal   LADYOFSCANDAL Cover

You can find me at:

 tinagabrielle.com

 http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

 https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

The Art of Contract Negotiation for Women Writers

We’ve heard it before: Women earn less money and benefits than their male counterparts. But the question is why? I believe the answer lies in the fact that women tend to shy away from negotiation. Women who do ask for more money or benefits are often viewed by society as overly aggressive or pushy. Overwhelmingly, romance writers are women who will find these essential skills helpful when negotiating their own publishing contracts.

3Contract

As an attorney, I’ve had the benefit of hours of negotiation training and have negotiated scores of civil settlements. Negotiation is a craft that can be studied and learned and will help with every facet of a writer’s career. I plan to blog about specific author contract clauses in the future, but I’m starting out with the very important art of negotiation.  Here are some tips:

 Don’t be afraid to ask.

I know as well as the next writer how hard it is to get “The Call.” I received many rejections before I sold my first book. We are all hesitant to ask for anything after waiting so long, and we feel we should be eternally grateful. But asking does not mean we aren’t grateful. Asking means we are taking our writing careers seriously and that we are intelligent businesswomen who intend to be successful in this profession.

Be Prepared.

Research is key.As members of RWA and our local chapters, we have excellent resources. The RWA website as well as the monthly Romance Writer’s Report magazine have a wealth of information on contract clauses. Conferences frequently offer workshops on author contracts and what’s standard in the industry. And don’t forget to ask fellow authors what is in their contracts and what clauses in particular they negotiated. Gathering as much information as possible is the best strategy.

Create a script in advance.

Before you call or meet with the editor or agent, you should have a mental outline of what you want. Items in that outline should include: your wish list; your reality list; and a deal breaker item, if there is one.

Develop options.

Understand in advance that you will not get everything you ask for. I’m not just talking about money here—there’s so much more to a contract. There are publishers that do not negotiate royalties or advances. This does not mean, however, that you cannot negotiate other sections of the contract to your benefit. What about the author’s grant of rights, for example, foreign rights? Publisher option clauses? Rights of reversion clauses? Basket accounting? Author’s rights in case of publisher bankruptcy? Or even more basic, what about more free and discounted author copies?

Know your negotiation power.

This is critical. If you are unpublished and you get an offer from an agent or editor, you have significantly much less negotiation power than a NY Times Bestseller. This doesn’t mean you have no power, but you must keep what you do have in perspective. An unpublished author cannot insist on a six figure deal and a cross-country book tour. That is demanding and unprofessional.

Stay Unemotional.

I know. This is your baby. You have spent countless hours polishing the first page, let alone the first chapter. But remember that publishing is a business, and the agent or editor is interested in selling your book and making money. The most effective negotiators are the unemotional ones.

Take a time out.

Don’t agree to anything immediately. Wait at least a day, preferably more, to think things through and clear your mind. Talk to other writers. Your spouse. Your critique partner. Your attorney, if necessary. That means if you get “The Call” and are jumping up and down with joy, do not agree to the representation or sign on the dotted line without waiting the requisite time period. After you calm down, you will be able to look at the fine print with different eyes.

Be professional.

Ask, don’t demand. Start out by saying, “I have a few concerns with the language of the contract…”

You’d be surprised what you can accomplish. Even if you do not get everything you hope for, you let industry professionals know that you are serious about your career and your books and that you are an author who is a worthwhile investment.

So have you ever negotiated any type of contract? What’s your best tip? I’d love hear your views, so please share!

And stay tuned  for my next blog on contract clauses.

Tina Gabrielle

In The Barrister's Bed    InTheBarristersChambers   Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal   LADYOFSCANDAL Cover

 You can find me at:

 www.tinagabrielle.com

 http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

 https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

Swimming Through Writer’s Block: Can Exercise Make You A Better Writer?

I never believed in writer’s block until I was working on my last manuscript. I did everything right. I had detailed character sketches. I plotted and wrote a wonderful synopsis and first three chapters which sold “A Spy Unmasked” to a publisher. I pulled out all the tricks I learned at writing workshops. I raised the stakes, I put the characters in an impossible situation, I heightened the emotional and external conflict, and then…well…nothing. I was stuck. I wrote myself in a corner.

For the first time, I had writer’s block.

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I knew about writer’s block, of course. I was just fortunate enough never to experience it. Let me first say that I was working nonstop. I love the story about a sexy Regency era spy, an emotionally damaged hero who blames himself on the death of his wife after one of his missions goes terribly awry. He’s forced to work with a feisty, intelligent heroine who wants revenge for her father’s murder. It’s a great love story with a hint of mystery. But I was working part time, writing, stopping to get the kids off the bus and seeing to their needs, and then writing all night. I was ignoring my needs.
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Housekeeping and Editing…Two Challenging Tasks!

I admit I’m not much of a housekeeper. I know mothers that excel at having a well-kept home. I’ve stopped by to drop my kids off at scheduled play dates or even unexpectedly to sell Girl Scout cookies and have been invited into homes that are often tidy and beautiful. I do clean, but more often than not, there are toys strewn about, and my office/playroom is well…just plain messy.

MessyDesk

One rainy afternoon, I was mumbling under my breath while cleaning out closets when my hubby walked in and said, “What’s the big deal? Think of it as cleaning up your manuscript after the first draft.” I dropped the trash bag stuffed with kids’ clothes intended for Goodwill, and looked up at him in shock. As an engineer and introvert, he’s definitely on the quiet side, but sometimes he blurts out very helpful and insightful things. I started thinking and came to the conclusion he was totally on point.

So what do cleaning the house and editing your book really have in common? It turns out to be a whole lot.

Read the entire manuscript in one sitting

Get the feel for the story. Resist marking the pages and making notes in the margins. Just read for the content. This will reveal overwriting, sections that need more explanation, or unfinished plot points. It’s similar to walking through the house and noting what needs to be cleaned, which closets need to be organized, and how big of a task you have ahead of you.
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Author Tina Gabrielle shares the romance novel that changed her life

The Femmes are pleased to welcome author Tina Gabrielle to our blog today. Tina is a member of Romance Writers of America, NJ Romance Writers, and Liberty State Fiction Writers. Today, she’ll share the author and book that influenced her early love of romance reading and writing.

Tina Gabrielle, an award-winning author, is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. After multi-publishing for a prestigious Law Journal, she fulfilled her dream of writing fiction. She is the author of In The Barrister’s Bed, In The Barrister’s Chambers, Lady Of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Kensington Books. To enter her monthly contests for free giveaways visit her website at www.tinagabrielle.com

For a chance to win a signed copy of IN THE BARRISTER’S CHAMBERS and a NJ Romance Writer’s tote bag, leave a comment during this week. Good luck! Tina will be commenting on the blog through Tuesday and then is off to RWA Nationals in Anaheim. Don’t forget, anyone commenting the month of July will also be entered in The Femmes monthly contest.

And now…Welcome Tina!

First let me thank the Violet Femmes for inviting me to blog. It’s wonderful to be here!

I’m Tina Gabrielle, and I write rich Regency historical romances full of passion and emotion for Kensington Books. My current Regency Barrister series is about four sexy barristers and the women who wreak havoc in their chambers and steal their hearts.

I started reading romance at an early age—too early now that I’m a mother myself! I remember a fateful family vacation in the Poconos. Both of my older sisters found summer romances, one sister with another vacationing boy and the other sister with a waiter at the hotel. I was much younger, in an awkward phase of braces and a bad complexion, and left behind. So I picked up my oldest sister’s romance and read in secret.

Ah! I was hooked!

It was Julie Garwood’s The Bride. I dreamed about her Scottish hero Alec Kincaid for a year thereafter and fell in love with brawny Highlanders and historical romance novels. I recently repurchased the book, and it still enthralled me and kept me up reading all night.

How did it change my life? I read all types of fiction, but I write historical romance, and I credit Julie Garwood’s book for inspiring me. I’ve since attended engineering school and law school and my love of reading for pleasure helped me through years of academia. I often picked up a romance and let my fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry me away. So I owe part of my success—academic or as a romance author—to fiction and romance in particular.

My fourth historical romance, In the Barrister’s Bed, was released by Kensington Books in July 2012. It’s the second book in my award-winning Regency Barrister Series. Here’s a sneak peek at both Barrister Books:

IN THE BARRISTER’S BED (July 2012) 

A Hotly Contested Claim

A bastard by birth, James Devlin lives on his own terms—until a twist of fate reveals that he is the true Duke of Blackwood. Though the brooding bachelor swears to hold on to his freedom, he does intend to take back his childhood home. But once at Wyndmoor Manor, he discovers an arresting adversary in Bella Sinclair. Her hot-blooded claim to his home is amusing…and arousing. Which is why he isn’t leaving until he takes possession of everything—starting with the bewitching Bella…

A Sensual Surrender

Bella is furious when the Duke barges into her home, declaring it rightfully his! The willful widow is not about to give up her haven without a fight, no matter how determined the Duke is—or how sensual the battlefield. But once she’s sharing a house with the beguiling barrister, she is in danger of losing everything—one deep, slow kiss at a time…

IN THE BARRISTER’S CHAMBERS (September 2011) 

Courting Danger

Lady Evelyn Darlington’s first love was the law. But since a woman scholar meets nothing but ridicule from men, she has given up and chosen a future husband. Randolph seems adequate for the task: to provide intelligent conversation and not annoy her too much. Of course, before they can be engaged, she’ll have to do something about the murder charge hanging over his head. If only London’s top barrister wasn’t Jack Harding, object of all her unattainable girlhood fantasies…

And Seducing Scandal…

Jack Harding remembers Evelyn well—but the idea that the gorgeous woman standing before him is little Evie, the professor’s daughter, is incredible. He knows better than to enter a business relationship when he wants to pursue pleasure. Yet however desirable she is now, Evie is still Evie—stubborn, smart, and never willing to take no for an answer. Even though proving her fiancé’s innocence might just cost her her own…

So tell me: Who is your favorite type of historical hero? A kilted Highlander, a Regency rogue, or a cowboy? Comment for a chance to win!

If you want to keep in touch with Tina, you can find her at:

Tina Gabrielle – www.tinagabrielle.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

Thanks, Tina, for visiting and have a great time in Anaheim!

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