The contracts for the current project, a three-book series called Cutter's Wars, are signed on my end and on the way back to New York City. Publisher still has to sign, but failing a major meltdown on Wall Street, probably that will happen in the next couple of weeks.
First book manuscript is due early in 2012. Nobody's mentioned publication dates, and they won't for a while, but I'd guess late in 2012 or early in 2013 for the first one, working title of which is The Ramal Extraction.
As always in such negotiations, terms get poked and prodded, and a deal that doesn't completely please anybody is struck.
One of the boilerplate provisions currently in vogue and hard to get rid of involves a ban on publishing excerpts from the novel-in-progress without the consent of the publisher.
Until the information age blossomed with computers, phones, tablets, and other gimcrackery, this wasn't a problem; however, now that there are blogs and tweets and Facebook and all, the only thing necessary is for an author to upload a file and touch a button and stuff is out there.
Adjustments have been made to book contracts to deal with this.
Basically, a publisher doesn't want anybody stealing their thunder; having a story about the characters show up in a competing market might cost sales, so they want to head that off. Can't blame them for that, though sometimes the wording gets exceedingly convoluted and tricky. If you aren't careful, you might find yourself owing somebody a pound of flesh and your firstborn ...
More than likely, as the publication date nears, a sneak peek, either in the back of somebody else's book, or on a writer's blog, will be allowed, since it will help generate sales. But until then, I won't be sticking chapters up here for public consumption. I can talk about it all I want, I just can't post actual extracts.
Book contracts on their best days are arcane, some of what they want is downright immoral, and you need an I.P. lawyer to go over the paperwork with a magnifying glass to spot all the traps and snares therein. I've been doing this for a while, as have my agents–we have a person who does all the contracts at the agency–but even so, it's a rat's nest, so if you get a sale and a contract, keep that in mind. Some of what is there you can't change. Some of it you can, and it would be a good idea to know which is which. Regular attorneys aren't a good idea because they don't really know the market. You want an intellectual property specialist, and preferably one who has dealt in such matters.
(This doesn't matter in work-for-hire in somebody else's universe. You don't own any of those rights, you get paid, either a flat-fee or an advance with a tiny royalty, and that's that.)
So, off to work. Got about ten thousand words done on the initial book, some fun stuff, and I'll keep you posted as to how it is going.
And on the Matador front, Dan and Amy have moved quickly to get those books moving. The mss are cleaned up, the artist has given us cover concepts that we have fined down, heading for a final selection, and while I don't want to start a ticking clock by naming a pub date, I'm guessing it will be pretty soon.
All of the Matador backlist will be available as ebooks from FSAnd–and exclusively so until you hear otherwise.
Addendum: Oh, yeah, Dan has prodded me into writing an introduction to the electronic editions. It's not huge, and I didn't do an individual one for each book; however, I did touch on what sparked the original trilogy, and then how I came back to the series and added stuff. Might add a bit for hardcore fans who find such stuff interesting.
Stay tuned ...