In this post, I’m going to talk about my experience with receiving and signing a contract for a book deal. Again, this is my personal experience with the process, it’s not the definitive example of a contract and the process, just something to file away for when you need it.
I wasn’t expecting a contract when it showed up in an attachment to an email informing me I hadn’t won the competition I had submitted to. But they liked the story enough to want to publish it. A lot ran through my mind. Things like: This is exciting, do I need to have a lawyer, what’s this going to cost me out-of-pocket, and did I mention this is exciting.
Once I looked over the contract, I decided I really didn’t need anyone else to go over it. I’m sure this wouldn’t be the case for every contract, but in this case, everything seemed on the up and up.
Here’s a few of the more useful things I learned about book contracts.
They read like legislation, which is to say, heavy on the lawyer speak. Go read some proposed bills or current law if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Get a notebook and pen. Read the contract line by line jotting down what’s required of you and what the publisher is offering. This helped me tremendously.
Make sure you know what rights you retain and what rights the publisher gets. There’s potential for legal troubles if you don’t abide by the terms of the contract.
If in doubt, ask. If you’re aligned with a reputable publisher, they’re going to help you.
Take your time to decide if the contract is a good fit for you and your goals.
Again, this is just one experience with a book contract and my publisher made the process a breeze. Just be wary and when in doubt, get someone else to look it over.
Stay Focused and Write On!