The Paper Bag Principle

My brother, who is in the construction profession in Oregon, has a principle that he applies to all of his business dealings. He calls it the “Paper Bag Principle.”

Simply stated, the PBP is this: a deal isn’t done until you have the money in a paper bag, metaphorically speaking, and are walking away with it. A verbal agreement doesn’t count. A handshake doesn’t count. “Check’s in the mail” doesn’t count. Cash in a bag, so to speak, does.

My brother builds custom homes. I write novels. But the PBP applies to me, too. Otherwise I’d be telling you about a book deal. A publisher has promised a contract for EYEWALL. My agent, Jeanie Pantelakis, called to check on the status of the document yesterday. “It’s next in the queue” she was told. I have no reason to believe that it’s not, especially since we’ve already been given a galley-proofs-will-be-done-by-this-date date and a publication date.

But until the contract is in Jeanie’s hands and she’s reviewed it and I’ve signed it, the money isn’t in the figurative bag.

When it is, I’ll open said sack to the public. Keep watching.

Photo: A paper bag
My brother’s “Paper Bag Principle” applies not only to the construction business, but to the book business as well.


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