Book Publishing Contract –
The Art of Negotiation

We understand how exciting news of a book publishing contract can be. It’s thrilling when a call comes in from a client exclaiming:

“I’ve been offered a book deal with a publisher!”


All of the legwork and persistence has paid off and now it is time for advance monies and congratulations!


While getting the offer may SEEM like crossing the finish line, the reality is your work has just begun. Before you sign your contract, it’s important to know your rights, understand what you’re reading and perfect the art of negotiation.

Book Publishing Contract

Most importantly, please consider the following when considering a book publishing contract:


1. The Publisher:  Do they have your best interests at heart? Does your book “fit” with their existing list? Are you satisfied with the relationships you have built with that publisher?


2. The Deal:  Make sure you read any contract carefully before you sign. Does that offer you’ve been made match industry standards? Have you done the math – and fully understand –the amount of money you’ll be making per book? Have you figured out the number of books that must be sold for you to earn back your advance?


3.  The Marketing:  While many people believe that a book marketing plan should come with the contract, that’s simply not the case. Publishers, and editors, are too busy to develop a marketing plan for each book they take on. However, you can do some digging on your own.

◦ Request a Catalog – Have you heard of the Publisher’s books? Specifically, can you research some of the books they’ve published in your same category and find out if they’ve received any press

◦ Speak with a Publicist – It’s perfectly appropriate to request 10 minutes of a publicist’s time to find out if they have experience working with your type of book and find out their “generic” marketing plan for your category.

If you’re satisfied with the publisher, the deal, and the marketing department, it’s time to move to the book publishing contract itself. If you don’t have an agent, we’d strongly suggest that you get a second set of eyes to review your publishing contract. Unfortunately, your family lawyer probably isn’t qualified to do it for you. Talk to other authors. Get online to check out publishing contracts. Call a publishing consultant. Make sure that you’re getting outside advice on what you should be asking for.


Finally, don’t ever be afraid to negotiate a book deal. While the reality is the publisher may not be able to meet all your demands, you won’t know until you ask.


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