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Contract with Publishing Company


April Jennings Clarksville, TN

I received a contract with a publishing company, that would like to collaborate as well as help me with publishing my book. I want to make sure I understand the contract before signing. I'm not sure who to contact at this time.

9 August 2022 10 replies Small Business



Corrinne Callins Springfield, VA

You should have an attorney look over the contract if you're not sure what you're signing. They can go through the contract and explain the terms to you.


Keith Van Sickle Menlo Park, CA

Hi April,

I'd like to echo what Kimberly said. There are a lot of so-called publishing companies that are really scams. I suggest you contact Kimberly, as she suggests, to help you understand if you are dealing with a legitimate player or not. After that, if things look good, you can get a lawyer involved.

FYI, I've self-published four successful books via Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) and it's a good alternative for you to consider.

Best of luck,


Walt Overfield Virginia Beach, VA

Good luck on your book!
Amazon has lots of free Kindle books on writing a book and getting it published. I just searched and found more than a hundred of them.
Did you know that you can publish your book for free on Amazon?


Kimberly West Long Beach, CA

Hi April,

Congratulations on writing a book!
This sounds like a self-publishing company. If you pay them money, it’s a totally different type of “publisher” rather than a traditional one. There are several types.
Some require thousands of dollars. Many overcharge by selling “packages” when you can hire freelancers to do the same for much less.

I have helped a friend/business partner get back $12,000 from one such company. I also have published several books myself.

Feel free to contact me FIRST. I wouldn’t give them any money until you identify what type of company it is.

Below is a good association for authors.
There is lots of free info on their website. The membership part (not expensive) does include contract review if you qualify. Good luck.

Here is their site that explains the different types of publishers:


Mary Bock Austin, TX

HI -- All these answers are great. You want a lawyer to look it over. You also want to ask:
Will you have control re. the cover art?
What happens if you fall behind on deadlines?
Who will pay for indexing and copy editing (if those are needed)
What kind of promotional help with the publisher provide?
Congratulations on your book deal and good luck!


David Eastman Gresham, OR

Hello, April

First of all, thank you for your service. I served in the Navy as a 3rd Class Petty Officer aboard a P-3 Orion ASW. Congratulations on receiving a publishing contract. Two people you might want to get input from. One is a literary agent who represent writers and screenwriters. You can go into Google and find a literary agent in the area you live in. Or, if you can't find a literary agent, see if you can find an entertainment lawyer. Entertainment lawyers represent screenwriters, producers, directors, etcetera and so they might be able to give you some good feedback on your contract terms.

Good luck and much success in your career!!!!!!!!!!!!

David F Eastman
Veteran, US Navy


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

First of all, congratulations on the book deal!
You may want to reach out to SCORE (senior corps of retired executives).
I’ve used them in the past to review a contract for free.
As the old saying goes “good, fast, cheap. pick two.”, it can take a little while to schedule a good review for free.
I notice you are in TN, and there are at least two locations there (often associated with the small business administration, or SBA). You can also go to their national site.



Call the local Bar Association in your town/city. Find their number on Google.

Ask for contact numbers for lawyers in your area who handle your type of business. Contact them and ask for 10 minutes of free time to meet with them - most lawyers will agree. Then ask for their background; experience; costs; charges, etc etc.

Pick the one that you are comfortable with. Good luck.

F. J. Tepedino
Attorney at Law


Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello April.
Agreed, contracts can be very difficult reading. Simple solution...get a lawyer. Look around for a good lawyer and ask how much they would charge to read it over and advise you. Tell lawyer you are new to this and need them to advise you on the contract. Most likely there are no problems or issues at all! But REMEMBER--- it is always cheaper to work with a lawyer BEFORE YOU SIGN, and MUCH more expensive to fix problems AFTER you sign! Think of it as insurance. Yes, you might be able to get by without it....but later on you might be sorry.

Sounds like a good time to establish a good relationship with the lawyer, as you may need their services again down the road!

Note: I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice, but have used them occasionally for just this sort of thing. Money well spent.

Good luck


Richard Byrne Hillsborough, NJ

From the ACP webpage:
Click on the ACP Advisor-net tab, & select the "Community" icon.
Under the "Advisors" tab, select "Legal" from the "Refine by" pull down box.
(Other pertinent selections include: Business, Small Business ... ),
Look for the "Show More" box at the bottom of the page.
Examine the advisor profiles, & use the ACP message feature for advice.
Under Legal, look for Intellectual Property

I've added links to information & videos under these sections of my EE webpage that might be useful to you: -1 yr. Free LinkedIn premium

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