The Road to Publication #1: The Contract

Wow, did I TOTALLY not expect to be writing a heading like that so early this year.

This will be a series of posts, but it will most-likely not be weekly.  Honestly, I don’t know everything that’s involved yet, or how often I’ll even have anything I can tell you.

Why am I writing this?

I realize that I am in a position of extreme interest to most of you.  As always, my mistakes, or my good fortune in this case, are an open book for you all to learn from.

To start with… the contract.  Wow.  Nothing makes things more real than seven scary pages filled with very serious sounding words like “Breach” “Grant” “Term” and “Indemnification”

Yikes!

Luckily enough for me, part of my day job is reading contracts, so this wasn’t as scary as it could have been.  I would highly suggest that if you DON’T have a background in contracts, or have a clear understanding of the publishing business, to bring your contract to a lawyer to get it explained.

Luckily for me, J.Taylor is a great publisher.  Their contract is concise and fair, and there are things in there to protect me and my family, as well as them.  Everything that I wanted was already there in the contract.  Whew!

Be prepared that there is a lot of negative stuff in the contract.  This is because the document is made to protect both sides if something “bad” happens.  It can be a little daunting to read all the stuff that can go wrong, but don’t worry.  This is just part of business, and is standard for almost any kind of business agreement.

What I really liked is J.Taylor Publishing softened the blow of the contract with a pretty “Welcome packet” wonderfully written with an air of excitement outlining some of the things that they will expect of me, and all of the great services that they offer.

After all I have heard about publishers dropping marketing in the lap of the author, leaving them to flounder on their own, I am tickled to find out that My publisher will be creating a marketing plan, and will do everything in their power to make sure the work is a success.

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22 responses to “The Road to Publication #1: The Contract

  1. That is fantastic!! Woo hoo! Do not come down from that high! 😉

  2. The magic words of a “contract!”

  3. Hooray for contracts! And congrats on getting a RAOK shoutout yesterday too. 🙂

  4. Wonderful! I hope I get to tremble over a contract someday :p

  5. The idea of contracts scares me!

  6. Wow, you’re already a gold mine of information about writing. And now you get to take it to the next level! I’m looking forward to learning more from your experiences. Thank you for sharing! 🙂 (And when your book is ready, I’ll be sure to recommend it on FB and to family and friends. 🙂 )

  7. I actually couldn’t agree more about J Taylor’s contracts. They were the first publisher to accept a work of mine. They were, however, the first ones I didn’t turn down after seeing the contract. In fact, I kept and still have my rejected contract so I can remind myself just how awesome my contract with JTP is. I think too many authors sign away in their eagerness to be published. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read the contract carefully–AND to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. AND if there’s anything on the contract you’re unhappy with, and the contract is non-negotiable, never settle, be strong enough to walk away. If there has been one contract, then there’s a chance there’ll be another. 🙂

  8. WTG on getting a publisher that will go to bat for you like that!

  9. I’m starting to realize all the excitement I missed by self publishing. I’m so happy for you Jenn and I’m glad you are sharing the process with us. 🙂

  10. Jeremy Cook

    So you aren’t working with an agent or anything, correct? For those of us who don’t have lawyers, I think this might be a arguement for use of them. I know this portion of the process scares me o.o

    • If you can get accepted by a publisher without an agent, you are actually in better shape, because you will not have to give them a cut of your earnings for the entire contract term (5 years in my case)

      What you can do, is hire a lawyer for one contract read, which probably would not be all that expensive.

      Many publishers, though, will not talk to you without an agent.

      Some agents, though, earn their keep by helping with readying the novel and helping with publicity. My publisher has an editor and a Marketing person working with me. In this case, they are replacing the agent in that respect. Time will tell how it goes.

  11. I, too, was amazed by their contract and marketing package. Though I am a paralegal by trade and have worked around contracts for 20 years, I sent mine from J. Taylor to my contract attorney who read it and said it was one of the best, most concise and fair contracts he’s seen in a long time. I felt the same way, but it made me feel even better hearing him say the same thing. So far, J. Taylor’s lines of communication have been fantastic. They are a great indie publisher and I recommend them to everyone looking to publish.

  12. Congratulations, what amazing new! Reading contracts always sends me into a major tailspin… there’s something about contracts that disengages my brain and then turns it into blubber. Love your guidance on how to approach signing it! And I look forward to hearing more about your road to publication complete with marketing plan. XX Thanks for sharing your insights!