How to read a pubishing contract

Since this is one of the hot issues in the discussion of my previous post about the Harper Voyager open submission window, I thought I'd give a link to this post at the Stroppy Author's Guide to Publishing, entitled How to Read a Publishing Contract.
Don't assume your contract is non-negotiable. And don't be so pathetically grateful the want to publish your book that you accept any outrageous terms they offer you. Publishing is a business and no matter how friendly and reassuring your editor, they want to make as much money out of the deal as they can. Don't take any notice of arguments like 'we never use that clause'. If they don't use it, it doesn't need to be there. If 'it's just the standard contract' you say that's fine as a starting point but now you are going to make it suitable to you and your book. If they say 'no one has ever objected before' that means either they're lying or no one has read the contract properly and taken a professional approach. So  - put your angry eyes in and let's look at that contract!

Lots of great links in this clearinghouse post. Go check it out!

p.s. I'm neither a lawyer nor an agent. If there's any serious money on the line, don't rely on your own amateur judgement, no matter how many webpages you've read.

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