Stop! Before you sign, get a professional to represent you and your needs as the artist.
Contracts were never written so that the common person could understand them. Why, that would make it difficult for lawyers to make a living. They are paid those big bucks because of all those funky little words they use to twist and turn, to bend and split the meanings of words. So, it is never a smart idea to sign any form of a contract without reading it and understanding it well. If in doubt, hire a professional. A little money down is better than all your money gone and your time is now wasted. You wrote that book, you own that book, don’t sign it off to the first shyster who has a pretty contract full of mumble jumble.
We are all salivating over the illusive contract. But, this artist puts too much time and heart into my work to give it away. Now a days, contracts are taking twists and turns that what meant one thing twenty or ten years ago in favor of the writer, is no longer the case; i.e., read the post from Kristine Kathryn Rusch on the changes in publishing. The wind is blowing in the direction of the publishers these days. Their world is treading in the sink or swim realm. Writers are the dime a dozen. A Best-seller simply means that the screws can be applied a little tighter and in more devious manners.
I keep thinking that I still want to be one of the old-fashioned traditional writers. The writer that is blessed to have a great agent who shakes the rafters when she speaks my name, and the publisher who stands behind my book. But, is that the correct street to drive down these days? Or should I look down the self publishing road?
Okay, two things stand out in my mind; 1) Too often I have heard people say that only authors who can’t get published by a big publishing company are self publishing. 2) It’s easier to self publish then to learn the language and correct structure. I’ve read several books on my Kindle and there are a lot of errors with missing words and poor sentence structure that I am told are because of the downloading so, we’ll pooh pah that problem for that reason, alone. (It’s just too good.)
If you write a series, as I have in the DunMiller’s Mansion, what happens when you e-pub with the first and you want a larger publishing company to pick up the second. Will They??? In today’s questionable publishing economics, its hard to tell.