To ensure you're dealing with a genuine "trade" publisher, check to see that they belong to a recognized publishers' organization. U.S. publishers belong to the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Small publishers in Canada belong to the Independent Publishers Association of Canada.

Write a solid book proposal

Publishers expect you to promote your book.


If you don't understand what these terms mean, you need to consult a lawyer before you sign!

VALUABLE CONTRACT INFORMATION from Canadian lawyer and writer Tim Perrin:
                        Contracts Checklist; An Offer You Can Refuse (S.M.A.R.T. Contracts)

HAVE YOUR CONTRACT REVIEWED by Barbara Florio Graham: 
            for considerably less than a lawyer would charge for the same service  CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Sample contracts:


There's a popular myth about successful authors getting rich from the huge advances they receive from publishers. In truth, publishers offer large adances only reluctantly, because seven out of every books published do not earn back the advance. Roy Blount Jr., the president of the Authors Guild, was recently quotes in a NYTimes article as describing what a reported six-figure advance really means.  “That may mean $100,000, minus 15 percent agent’s commission and self-employment tax, and if we’re comparing it to a salary let us recall (a) that it does not include any fringes like a desk, let alone health insurance, and (b) that the book might take two years to write and three years to get published. . . . So a six-figure advance, while in my experience gratefully received, is not necessarily enough, in itself, for most adults to live on.”

In many standard contracts, the author receives upon signing the contract, another quarter on acceptance of the manuscript and a quarter on publication, but recent reports indicate that may be changing. One literary agent says, “Now we see advance amounts being paid in thirds, fourths and even fifths.” And most advances are not in the "six-figure" range. The average tends to be $30,000. That means if it takes you six months to write the book, another four months to find an agent and a publisher and then edit the manuscript, and a month after publication doing non-stop publicity, you will end up earning just $30,000 for almost a full year's work.

So whether you sign a contract with a trade publisher or whether you self-publish, writing books is not a way to become rich.