In this week's episode of Writing Mistakes, we're going to deal with one that very nearly sucked me in! With The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer finished, it's time for me to look into publishing options. I already know what I can do if I go the route of self-publishing, so I decided to send it out to a few traditional publishers to see what they say. I've gotten a few positive answers, and I have at least two good options that I should know more about before the Christmas holidays. A third option presented itself to me the other day, in the form of an offshoot company of an established publisher. But when I was sent the writing contract, a friend of mine pointed out that there were some SERIOUS red flags. When I posted the details of the contract to a Facebook group filled with publishers, writers, and authors, the responses I received were mostly along the lines of "Run, run far away!" The truth is that for newbies like me, the world of publishing is WAY beyond my understanding. All of the legalese about "net profit", "profit sharing", "licensing rights", "worldwide rights", and all the rest is very complicated. Thankfully, there are people who can help! DO NOT make the mistake of signing the first contract you see. I haven't signed anything simply because I want to find the best deal for my book--both in terms of marketing help and royalties earned. But I'm glad I haven't rushed into anything, because had I done so, I could have found myself locked into a contract that would earn me next to nothing. Don't be sucked into the promises made by publishers who want to offer you a "great deal", but who offer it with iffy terms. Always look up the publishing company on sites like Preditors and Editors to see what it has to say. Ask people you trust for feedback on the terms of the contract, and find people who understand these contracts to help you figure out exactly what you're being offered. Lost in the legalese may be something that could SERIOUSLY impact your ability to make money as a writer. If you don't have a lawyer to go over it, go online and search for sites that will peruse your contract to make sure everything is above-board. There are sites like this that exist, and they can help you save yourself from a nightmare contract. For those interested, I have a document with a sort of "flow chart" to help you figure out whether or not your publishing contract is a good one. It was created by the CEO of a publishing company to help newbie authors avoid the publishing trap!