What You Know

Sometimes, not just in this industry, but everywhere, what you know is because of who you know. I learned a lot about reading contracts and understanding trademarks when we worked with a team of trademark attorneys in West Los Angeles on domains and branding and trademarks for a company. The jargon isn’t hard to get if you break it down into bits instead of reading and trying to get it all at once.

writing-300x298As an author, you do yourself a mighty disservice if you get excited to receive a contract and don’t read AND understand what you signed. There are a lot of authors in this industry who have been ripped off and hurt when a publisher closed it’s doors. There are lots of authors hurt every royalty payout day because they signed a contract that gave the publisher the right to basically charge that author for the cost of doing business.

What you know – or rather what you don’t know – about your publisher and their business practices and their contract clauses can hurt you. Maybe not today, but at some time it could. If you get a contract, and you don’t know what those clauses mean, you need to ask someone who does. Not someone at that house, but an independent someone. Find out the truth. Know who and what you are dealing with before you give your baby – your manuscript – into their keeping. Make sure you know how much of that cover price you are entitled to or whether most of it will go to the publisher for things like their credit card fees and shipping costs.

Take a run over here to Mary Winter’s blog where she shows you what kinds of clauses in a contract are huge red flags for an author. This blog post could save you money and heartache. I advise you to read it, bookmark it, and use it as a guide to helping you discover what you should know.


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4 Responses to What You Know

  1. Janice~ says:

    Very good post, and I already left a comment the other day at Mary's blog.


  2. Mary Winter says:

    Thank you so much for blogging this. Even if I didn't write bear shape shifters, it really makes my cranky mamma bear come out when I see publishers taking advantage of authors. I mean seriously, without authors those pubs would be out of business in a heartbeat. Why screw the golden goose?

    <abbr><abbr>Mary Winters last blog post..Net Sales – Contract Language</abbr></abbr>

  3. Maurya says:

    Oooo, Lex. I agree with you. I do bookmark Mary's blog because I do need help in understanding this. I'm soooo glad both of you take such an interest in helping the rest of us!

  4. Great advice, Lex. I know when I got my first publishing contract, I had to read it about five times before I was confident I understood it, and then I went to an authors' forum and looked for "red flags" to be sure there weren't any in the contract I had. There are plenty of ways to get advice on contracts if you aren't sure what you're looking at, and as a newbie I'm glad there are experienced authors helping out.

    <abbr><abbr>Karenna Colcrofts last blog post..So much to do…</abbr></abbr>