Now that some of the decision-making publishing stress triggers have been talked about, I will briefly mention one more stressor and then move forward with the FUN parts of publishing.

Publishing Contract

IF you’ve decided to test the traditional publishing waters the CONTRACT(S) you’ll be asked to sign can be intimidating.

  • Literary Agent contracts (or agreements)!
    • Most authors look at the Agent Commission percentage(s) first. Standard rates range from 15% (of you advances/royalties) up to 25%.
    • Higher rates could mean that they plan to “split” commissions with a co-agent, someone you may never meet or know—or want to work with.
    • Verbiage you’ll need to understand includes: domestic and/or foreign/overseas sales, dramatic sales, and other concepts such as “bargain rates for first time authors.” Beware of those bargains.
    • MOST important is what “authority” is being given to an agent with your signature on that contract. Are you agreeing to work with/pay this agent for the longevity of this ONE book or several? Is there a Retainer Fee? What Agent expenses will they want reimbursed?
    • HOW is their “termination clause” written? Can you (or they) terminate the contract at any time for any reason?
  • Publishers Contract…
    • Yes, your Agent is an excellent resource for explaining every paragraph of this publishing house agreement and a strong advocate for encouraging the best possible agreement between all parties. However, many authors I know want will still retain a Literary Lawyer to “review” it.
    • Traditional Publishing is a “for profit” business industry, and their contracts are specifically written for enhance their interest—not the author’s best interests.
    • Over many years, The Writer’s Digest has offered multiple articles about the ins-and-outs of publishing contracts. This is an excellent place to start your research into: Rights, Subsidiary Rights, Royalties, Advances and most importantly Copyright ownership.
    • There are still sad stories being told by authors who signed away overseas rights or movie/film/TV rights and lost their rightful income from those venues.

BOTTOM LINE about these Contract/Agreement stressors is BE PREPARED by reviewing multiple sample contracts (found online), and talking with Agents and Literary Attorneys at writing conferences and/or by phone if they are willing to offer a brief “free” consult.

IF you Self-Publish you’ll also sign an Agreement.  However, the language is usually very straightforward, clearly outlining the responsibilities of both parties—Author and Press.

NOW…about the FUN part of becoming a Published Author! Next week I’ll share with you the JOY I felt the moment I held my first book in my hands and the EXCITEMENT of signing that first autograph, reading the first online review…and more! ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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