Signing with a book publisher is every author’s dream. But think twice and beware of book contract nightmares.
Never sign a book contract with a publisher without doing your homework first.
There are so many small publishers nowadays offering publishing agreements.
While some are good, there are many that are not so good or even worse.
When things go wrong with a publisher
Even among some well-known small publishers, problems have arisen with overdue payment or no payment of royalties to authors.
Publisher Ellora’s Cave experienced financial difficulty, and it seems as if it is now taking legal action against the RWA, who asked Ellora’s Cave to pay overdue royalties.
Throughout Ellora’s Cave’s ongoing financial problems, the RWA has been pressuring the publisher to pay authors overdue royalties or release the authors from their contracts.
The RWA has banned Ellora’s Cave from conferences and forbidden the publisher from contacting RWA chapters to recruit new authors.
Many writer blogs highlighted the problems at Ellora’s Cave. But problems with smaller publishers often go unreported.
I know by some of the messages I get from authors that quite a few have not been paid. In some cases, the publishers went broke yet retained the book rights.
Being offered a contract by a publisher, no matter how big or small, is always an exciting opportunity for new authors, especially, but beware.
Always take your time when negotiating a book contract.
Signing away your book rights is for (almost) ever. If things go wrong, especially if the publisher fails, you lose your book.
An author friend of mine lost one of his best works to a publisher, who made a lot of promises but failed to deliver.
If you have the opportunity to go with a publisher or literary agent, don’t rush to sign a book contract without doing your homework first.
Ask questions before signing a book contract
Do your research on the Internet or check with other authors. But always ask questions of your potential publisher.
How long has the business been running?
What is the offer for net royalty rates?
Are author royalties always paid on time?
How many titles has it published?
What do the option clauses mean?
What happens to your book rights if the publisher ceases trading?
As with any commercial contract, you should take legal advice before signing a book deal.
Spending a little money to check with your lawyer or contract review services before signing is always good advice.
Publishing nowadays is not an easy business, and there are more and more publishing scammers around. Some of them prey on an author’s dream of being published.
For all new authors, think twice and beware of rushing in and signing a book publishing contract.
Related reading: Is This Publisher Legit? How You Can Make Your Decision