3. Deciphering Book Contracts
I think it’s wonderful that there are so many routes to publishing these days, but if we are unable to snag an agent and benefit from their wealth of experience, how do we know if we are getting a fair offer?
Truth be told, I was so delighted to receive the contract for my first book from Rainstorm Press that I read it through quickly and signed on the dotted line. However with my new publisher, Legend Press, I was more circumspect. How did I know whether the offer was competitive and the contract fair? Answer: The Society of Authors.
Membership of the Society of Authors in the UK costs around £95 per year and offers a host of benefits including free access to a media lawyer for independent advice about any contracts. They were extremely helpful and explained all the clauses and small print so that I understood what I was signing my name to. Even though my book contract was fairly standard the peace of mind was worth its weight in gold.
Don’t worry if you are not based in the UK. A quick search on Google identified similar organisations in the UK and Australia on the very first page. And these are just some of the plethora of sites out there that can help us work our way through the publication process.
Another site recommended to me was Writer Beware. Writer Beware is a fabulous website sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and supported by the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association, that supports both new and established authors by raising awareness on fraud or ‘other questionable activities in and around the publishing industry’. The good news is that they are not genre or country specific. I emailed them regarding a film rights enquiry that I received last Christmas and they responded within 48 hours. Their advice was sound – they were not aware of any scams associated with this company but, like everyone else, advised me to proceed with caution.
The creative journey is full of twists and turns which at times can be arduous to navigate. Whatever route you choose to publish your work, it is reassuring to know that there is a wealth of assistance out there that we can pull on to help and support us through.
I finally signed with Legend Press in April 2013 and they gave me a publication date of 1.4.14.
Now it was time to get the book ready for publication…
Jane Isaac is author of An Unfamiliar Murder and The Truth Will Out. With a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. You can catch up with her at www.janeisaac.co.uk