The season has started for what we’re thankful for and celebrating with friends and family. I can remember three years ago, Laura Baumbach (the owner of MLR) wanted to put out a story a day around the holidays and we put out a call. It was kind of late in the season for a holiday call but we figured we’d get a few… try 42. Yes, we released a book a day for the entire month of December and started a few days before Thanksgiving.
One of those stories will always be a bit bittersweet for me (Christmasing With You by William Neale). The lines from The Carpenters “Merry Christmas, Darling” are mentioned and that song always makes me tear up since my husband and I have spent many holidays apart (and really, what military family hasn’t?). You see, William Neale had written a story about a man during the first holiday since his partner’s unexpected death and him trying to move on and maybe open his heart up again.
Less than four months later, I was speaking at a memorial celebrating Bill’s life. He had unexpectedly died. There I was telling over fifty of his friends about his dream of being a published author and how I got to make that dream come true for him. I know that Bill’s partner has continued to live a full life but I’m not sure if he’s put his heart out there again…yet.
Now you’re thinking, what does this have to do with writing? Actually, a lot. None of us like to think about dying and leaving behind our friends and family. But if you have signed a contract, you need to think about this. If something were to happen to you, would your family know how to notify your publisher? Does your publisher know how to contact someone local to you in case you go missing and it’s necessary to contact you?
Without proper notification to your publisher, your royalties and rights can’t be distributed to anyone. What would be your wishes once you were gone about your stories? What would you want to happen if you were in the middle of edits? Scrap the project? Have an author friend help your editor finish it? Have your editor finish it?
Not the happiest of blogs but I think it is a necessary one because there’s information that needs to be shared in case of something unexpected. Just something to think about.
Now, I’m going to go spend some time with my family and read a story by a friend because in the end? That’s what I’m most grateful for this year – my friends and family. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.