Publishing contracts are one of the legal steps in having your book published. You, perhaps the first time author, must consider what this contract includes and does not include prior to signing it. A variety of contracts may be given to you, some will be in your favor while others will be leaning towards the favor of the publisher. There is a need for an attorney to look over any contract you receive from a publisher, especially when the payout is significant. This will allow your attorney the ability to insure your rights are upheld within the contract.
Things Have Changed
In the earlier years of publishing, the publisher worked for the author, getting the work out there and making sure that it did well. In recent society, things have changed. Now, publishing agents are looking for virtually any way they can get money out of the book, which often leaves the author in the most vulnerable of positions. Those who do go on to fame and fortune, such as bestselling authors, are generally receive good treatment by the publishing houses, but the everyday author must take the time to insure their rights are being met first.
The standard publishing contract will outline the rights of both the publisher and the author. If you have selected to work with a third party agent, then they will insure that the contract is the best it can be for you, though you should have some type of negotiation within it. One of the key areas for this is the royalties paid to the author. Some publishing contracts may place some content within the contract to limit the author from publishing their work elsewhere even if the first company determines that they do not want to publish the book.
Your best course of action with a publishing contract is to take it from the company and read it as an author. Ask questions if you have them. For most books, you will want to talk with your lawyer to determine if the contract is legal and in the best of your interests to sign. There may be some discussion between the attorneys for the publisher and your attorney, but this is normal and necessary. Once your attorney is satisfied with it, ask them questions. Be sure you understand and agree to the final contract before signing it.
By far, most publishing companies are on the up and up and their publishing contracts are just as well outlined for the author. Nevertheless, you should know what is included and what it means to you. Having an agent to help you through the process can be very helpful here, especially when dealing with several publishers of the book.
Contract should contain information on all relevant matter including royalties, editing, copyright, and liability. It can take some time to get that first contract for your first book. Yet, once you do, you will find that careful examination can help you understand the next steps in the publishing process.