One Writer’s Journey

September 14, 2017

Confidential: When You Can’t Talk about Your Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 12:44 am
Tags: , ,

Recently, I found a new clause in one of my contracts.  The publisher now includes a confidentiality statement, otherwise known as a confidentiality clause.

In its shortest form, the clause states that the author cannot distribute material that might be considered proprietary or confidential.  This can include any or all of the following:

  • The broad topic of a series,
  • The topics of individual books,
  • The content of said books,
  • The layout or special sections of these books,
  • And much, much more.

I have to admit that I’ve always been surprised that this publisher didn’t require confidentiality.  After all, they publish in competition with other publisher who target this market.  An unscrupulous and short-sighted writer could make things difficult when they accidentally give the competition the scoop on a new series.

And that’s really the whole point.  The publisher wants to keep what they are doing from the competition.

It isn’t personal although it can sometimes feel that way if this is something new.

It isn’t meant to make things more difficult although it can feel that way, too.  My local librarians love to help me find the materials that I need for a new book.  Seriously.  There’s even a game like version where they meet me at the counter to try to guess what I’m working on now.  Given the fact that I sometimes have 25 things out at a time, spread across several projects, it can be like spotting a pattern in a rather large sample.

So far I’ve been able to find what I need on my own.  But I suspect that my editor wouldn’t object to my talking to the librarians in general terms.

The tough part is knowing if I have the first chapter right.  This is the one that generally starts with some compelling incident to hook the reader.  Without my critique group behind me, I suspect that I’ll have a few more rewrites in my future.

But I get it.  You can’t sell something if the competition scoops you and that is a whole lot less likely to happen if everything in confidential.




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