How does one negotiate a book contract if there are a lot of red flags and the contract may need a rewrite? Will book publishers be open to that?
If you have an agent, it’s their job to negotiate the publishing contract on your behalf. However, you sign the contract. Which means you are legally obligated to the terms and should not enter into the contract lightly.Most writers who experience publishing for the first time (and more experienced authors too) feel compelled to sign the agreement the publisher offers for fear the deal will fall apart and put an end to their publishing dreams. But a publishing contract, like any contract, is meant for negotiations. While a debut author may have less leverage during negotiations than a well-established author, that does not mean the publishers are averse to negotiating the terms of the contract. Publishers want to buy the book, so there is plenty of leverage to adjust the contract terms if necessary.A typical publishing contract is negotiated in two phases.First, the major deal points are agreed upon before the contract is even drafted. These are the fundamentals of every publishing contract and should be negotiated. Once these deal points have been solidified, there should be a deal memo from the publisher listing the points discussed.Second, the contract is created, reviewed, negotiated again, and signed. This phase includes the fundamentals of the contract from phase one, and a few boilerplate items that usually are not negotiated but can be depending on the needs of the publisher and author.Here is a general overview of the 8 Top Deal Points In A Book Publishing Contract every writer should understand before signing a publishing contract. This will give you a basic understanding of the terms so when the actual contract arrives, you will know what questions to ask, what modifications to request, and what terms will protect your interests. Failing to address any issues with the terms of a publishing contract before signing, means the contract can, and often does, fit like handcuffs instead of nice Italian leather gloves.If you want more information, see our blog articles on Sidebar Saturdays about:Negotiating Editorial Control in Publishing ContractsPublishing Contracts ‡ Ten Tips for Negotiating the Grant of Rights ClauseHow to Avoid Unfair Delivery and Acceptance Clauses in a Publishing Contract, andReduce the Sting of Warranty and Indemnity Clauses in Publishing Contracts.Our articles, which post every Saturday, are designed to help writers with questions about publishing law and fictional legal scenarios in their stories.