"How To" Book Review
Unless you’re a lawyer, a publishing contract can seem like it’s written in a foreign language to a first time author. It can be overwhelming and confusing… and often times the joyous prospect of being published can encumber the ability to review a publishing contract with the critical eye needed to ensure the best publishing deal. Even writers with agents should review and understand the terms that he/she is signing to on the dotted line.
When it came time for me to review my first publishing contract as a novice in a new world, I felt like I had a trusty translator with me because of the book: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent, An Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Richard Curtis. Don’t let the title fool you, this book does not recommend that an author should forgo an agent in order to represent him or herself. In fact, Richard Curtis advises both aspiring and established writers alike to seek representation of an agent throughout the book, because it’s much easier to navigate through the unpredictable publishing industry with an agent by your side. With that being said, what this book does well is break down a publishing contract line by line to give its reader the best explanation and understanding of its terms. It also provides useful tips and information on the publishing market, the slush pile, advances, rights, liability, royalty statements, what to expect after publication, movie and television deals, etc. In addition, the appendix offers concrete examples of poor, fair, and good publishing deals to better an author’s knowledge of the kind of contract he/she is signing.
I believe this book is an invaluable reference for every writer to have in his/her bookcase. It truly helped me to understand the exciting yet tricky curveball otherwise known as my first publishing contract. I’m sure there is still a lot to learn, but I feel confident that I have a good head start thanks to Richard Curtis.
*Best Wishes & Lipstick Kisses*