Get Smart: How to Tell Good Publishing Contracts From Bad

Excellent advice for first- or any-time authors!

Lee Peterson

BY AUDREY WICK

Like many new and debut authors, I was eager to sign with a traditional publisher. After the hard work of completing a novel, signing on the dotted line with a publishing house was exactly the reward I envisioned would make it all worthwhile.

Any contract for publishing can, at first, seem like an offer too good to refuse—but that doesn’t mean you should take anything that comes your way.

Publishing contracts are as varied as book genres. It’s easy for an author hungry to be published to be blinded by any contract’s lure, to the potential detriment of their career and their hard-fought creative work.

When I was submitting my debut novel for publication, the first book contract offer I received included bad terms—I’m grateful my agent and a close traditionally published friend helped me know what to look for. They helped me spot the three red…

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