Tags: negotiation

Demystifying the Mystical Art of Negotiation

As promised last week, here's another of the "Agent Anonymous" articles I wrote for the SFWA Bulletin, this one from the April - May 2009 issue.  I hope you enjoy!

Demystifying the Mystical Art of Negotiation

I’ve been staring at the screen trying to figure out how to start this article.  “Show me the money!”  Seems too clichéd, especially since we all know we won’t actually see the money for a couple of months after negotiation…one, at least, in which to get the contracts and haggle out any remaining points, send said contracts to the author for signature and get them back to the publisher, and another few weeks for the publisher to process the contract and payment.  So I went looking for good famous quotes on negotiation.  There was a surprising dearth of quotes.  Apparently, the concept of negotiation is either not terribly inspiring or the great negotiators like to play their wisdom close to the vest. 

Finally, I found the following on ThinkExist.com, attributed to Dean Archeson: “Negotiation in the classic diplomatic sense assumes parties more anxious to agree than disagree.”  This, of course, is the essence of negotiation.  Parties come to the bargaining table because they want to make a deal.  In the publishing sense, the publisher wants to buy a book or series and we want to sell it…for the right price. 

There are as many ways to arrive at that price as there are stars in the sky.  And it all starts well before the words “Here’s our offer” are even uttered. 

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