This post today on the Fictionwise Yahoo group nearly made my eyes bug out of my head. Both that there are publishers out there who are so criminally ripping authors off like this, and that there are people out there who can work a computer but don’t do their research to find out about the difference between legitimate publishing and scam. I can only be glad they didn’t sign the contract but instead posted the question on that group, which might not be the best place for it, but at least it was something.

I have a contract from a publisher and since this is my first one, I
would appreciate any help I might get from anyone here.
This will be my first time to be published so I don\’t want to sign
something I don\’t understand. I would get an attorney but can\’t
really afford one at this time.
If no one can help I understand and I will get an attorney
somehow…with that said…here goes:

(1)The Publisher agrees to publish the Work in book form at its own
expense at a catalogue retail price, and to complete publication
within twelve months after the delivery of the completed Work. In the
event of delay from causes beyond the control of the Publisher, the
publication date may be postponed accordingly, but not to exceed
eighteen months from the delivery of the completed work.

(could someone explain if \”at a catalogue retail price\” is good or bad?

(2)The cost of alterations required by the Author, other than
corrections of typesetting errors, in excess of ten percent (10%) of
the original cost of composition, shall be charged against the
earnings of the Author under this agreement or shall, at the option of
the Publisher, be paid by the Author in cash and before publication.

(is that appropriate?)

(3)(a) A royalty of fifteen percent (15%) of net sales.
(b) Fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds of any license granted to
another Publisher to bring out a reprint edition, cartoon or other
format of the Work.

(does this sound like a good deal for a first time author?)

(4)The author hereby grants and assigns to the Publisher the exclusive
rights to publish in the English and any subsequent languages in book
and/or e-book forms in all countries of the world, a Work now entitled

(does this mean they could do it in e-book and would not have to
publish my book?)

(5)Last but not least for sure! I have read the terms of this
agreement. I understand that upon signing, this agreement will come
into effect. I agree to be bound by the terms of this contract and do
hereby attest to that by my signature below. I also understand that my
four hundred dollar ($400) payment must accompany this contract for it
to be valid.

(An agent told me this as a reason for the 400 bucks—I have a great
track record for traditional publishing; some clients however are
simply not qualified for full traditional; that\’s when I fight for
very inexpensive co-operative deals, where publication costs can be
shared (only 10% of the cost of publication) with ** and even financed
in some situations.—I am not too sure about this part at all.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

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