#WriterWednesday: Caution when approached

Confusion

Last night, I was asked to collaborate on a project to write a children’s book about learning math. The idea wasn’t mine, but I was approached to write the script for a picture book. The person who came to me was told by a 3rd party they could get the book published once it’s done. And that was it. I mean, that’s all the information I was given.

So, you guys know I had more than a few questions about this. And that’s what inspired this blog post today.

Now, I know that when someone approaches you about wanting to publish your work, it can seem like a dream come true. And it would behoove you to keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true, it ain’t.

(Yes, I did indeed end a sentence with ain’t.)

Of course I had the usual questions like:

  • Is this person an actual publisher? Manager? Agent?
  • What publishing company does this person work for?
  • Did they say they would actually publish it off the back, or did they just promise to read it first?

All of those are very important, because there is a world of difference between someone reading your manuscript for curiosity, for approval and them actually calling the shots to get it published.

Not to mention the loads of notes you’ll probably—and more than likely to— receive when the manuscript is submitted. Needless to say, I had some things to explain.

Also, when you’re collaborating with someone on a project, it’s very important to definitively outline what each person’s role will be. For example, if the idea isn’t yours, but you’re writing the manuscript, that definitely needs to be stated and understood. The last thing you want is a business or personal relationship to go sideways because boundaries and responsibilities weren’t expressed from jump.

So if you are approached, it’s cool to be happy and/or flattered. But stay grounded and think about what’s real, and what ain’t.

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