I was recently asked what my biggest piece of advice is to new or aspiring authors. This is actually a question I’ve answered a lot in live broadcasts because it is such an important topic. While there are a number of things I say, this one is probably the most important:
I tell everyone, no matter what industry they are in, to not sign anything without having a lawyer check it over first. I’m not saying everyone is out to get you, but contracts typically are created with the other party in mind. You want to make sure your interests are being protected.
I’ve had so many experiences with author friends signing contracts with people they thought were good, only to have to fight to survive later on. There were a number of red flags in those contracts that I knew about from spending a lot of time working with contracts, but they didn’t know about them and signed them. They were then stuck in very bad situations.
I’ve been offered several deals over the years with less-than-ideal terms. I know some of the things weren’t awesome, but I’m not a lawyer, I haven’t studied the law, and when I had my publishing lawyer look it over, she pointed out things I wouldn’t have fully understood.
My lawyer took care of me. She made sure I didn’t end up in a bad situation. I’m incredibly grateful for her counsel, because in one particular case, I’m watching something incredibly bad play out, and I avoided it.
Don’t sign on with anyone-publisher, agent, etc-until you’ve had someone who’s studies the law look it over for you and tell you it’s a good deal. It’s important. I don’t want you suffering like a number of my author friends are suffering.
Bonus: Don’t take the first book deal you’re offered just because it’s a deal. Wait for the right one (if it happens to be your first, that’s awesome, but don’t take i just because you think it’s your only shot)
Have questions? Hit up those comments!