What To Do When Offered A Publishing Contract

Some people might rightly assume there are only two things you should do when you finally get that precious publishing deal: sign on the dotted line and open the bubbly.

I understand this impulse, but I have five other steps you should also maybe consider.

  1. Read the fine print
  2. Have the Society of Authors read the fine print. This is a free service they offer to members. Because of their expertise, they will be able to see any potential red flags better than you.
  3. Contact the other places you’ve had your manuscript on submission to let them know about the offer. This is courtesy but, aside from making you a good person, it might also net you a second (or third) offer.
  4. If the contract you have been given is by a publisher directly, ask an agent to come in and broker the deal. Even if you’ve previously submitted to agents with no luck, they will likely reconsider given this new circumstance and can probably get you a better deal.
  5. Consider your options. While you don’t want to leave your interested party waiting indefinitely, lest said offer expire, you do want to to give the people contacted at stages three and four of this process long enough to get back to you. Also consider, in the case where you’re given multiple offers, that the largest cash advance might not be the best deal for you/your book. Ask your publisher/agent what vision they have for marketing it and what level of edits they expect.
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