Got A Book Deal? What Every Author Needs To Know

By on October 26, 2016
Got A Book Deal? What Every Author Needs To Know - Writer's

Getting a book deal is an incredibly exciting time for any author. Having spent much of our careers being told how difficult it is, particularly in this overly saturated, highly competitive market, it can feel nothing short of a miracle should a publisher or agent choose you and your work to take to the next level.

However, as with every kind of business contract, entering into a book deal is not a decision that one should take lightly. It is easy to feel so flattered and grateful to be ‘one of the lucky few’ that you can sign away on the dotted line before you have even given your contract a thorough read through and made sure that you understand what it all means.

So if you have received a book deal, how can you make sure that you are happy with all the terms and that you aren’t going to regret it further down the line? Here are some things that every author should know.


If an agent of publisher approaches you saying that they would like to offer you a book contract, it is important to understand how long the process will take.

Much like buying a house the process of actually negotiating and securing your book deal can be lengthy and arduous, and until both parties agree and sign, it can fall through at any time. Of course, this can be incredibly nerve-racking, particularly for the first time author who will fear their dreams could come crashing down at any moment. If you are signing with a reputable publisher or agent, rest assured that it’s highly likely you will get there in the end!


OK so it’s not quite the same as haggling at a market stall for a piece of holiday tat, but be aware that you can negotiate your book deal. If you feel there are terms of your contract you are unhappy with, it is OK to enquire about them and see if they can be amended to something you feel more comfortable with.

Of course, there is a balance here. If you go in all guns blazing and argue every single point this may set off warning bells with them that you won’t be particularly easy to work with. However, politely asking if there is room for manoeuvre on one or two points is perfectly acceptable.


Unless you are well versed in the terms and clauses of a typical book contract, it is advisable to hand it over to a professional to give it a once over before you sign. This may cost you money, but it is so worth it to ensure everything is as it should be, and also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions or get them to explain any technical jargon to you.


Just because you have received some interest in your book, make sure you are always working on the next thing. It is quite common for publishers to offer a multiple book deal when providing a publishing contract - they’ll want to know that you are not just a one trick pony and can continue to produce great work (and therefore lots of lovely revenue) for them.

While, as with any job, it is important to have a break sometimes, don’t just sit around and wait for that contract to hit your doorstep. Keep writing and working on your new ideas so you always have something to offer.

Landing a book deal is a genuinely exciting time in any author's life. Before you pop the champagne, however, just make sure you understand exactly what it means and what they expect from you - this way you are far more likely to continue enjoying a satisfying and lucrative relationship with your agent or publisher for many years to come.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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