I'm the type of person who likes to do my research. So, long before I even started querying, I began looking into tips for un-agented authors (when I was deciding whether or not I wanted to pursue agency representation). These mostly centered on the biggest piece of any deal: the publishing contract.
My favorite to date is probably still Kristen Nelson's Agenting 101 sequence, which starts here. As Ms. Nelson points out in that very first post, sometimes authors without experience and/or an agent make really silly mistakes when it comes to their contracts. I've read many different sources and even spoken with some lawyers – all of whom caution against diving into an un-negotiated contract because of the many pitfalls hidden from inexperienced eyes, some of which could easily destroy a budding author's career. So, I've decided to do a sequence of posts on the different pieces of publishing contracts.
Disclaimer: I am NOT (did you see how emphasized that word is?!) a lawyer, and I encourage anyone without a trusted agent to consult one before signing anything. These posts will focus on my own opinions, synthesized information that I've learned from my research, and some common sense, all to help aspiring authors understand what they're getting into. My informative posts should not replace professional advice!For a good start before diving in, you may want to check out some sample publishing contracts posted here and here.
Do you have questions about publishing contracts? Ask them in the comments! I will do my best to find and post the answers as I go along.