Questions to Ask Your Editor Before You Sign Your Publishing Contract

We all know how exciting publishing is! When you get a publishing offer, you may find yourself so elated you can’t wait to sign and start the process… but hold your horses! There are some questions you should consider asking before you sign. You’ll want to know how the publishing process works.


Will my hardcopy book look like how I submitted it when it’s printed?


Short answer is no. Self-publishers usually print the book however you would like it as they have no interest in the book selling copies. Hybrid and traditional publishers want your book to sell – therefore they will make sure the cover is marketable, the book sizing works for the industry and the illustrations are sized appropriately.


Should I talk to the publisher first before getting my illustrations completed in a certain size?


Any specifics should be discussed with your editor before signing to see if it is possible.


Will my book be sized to how I would like it?


Speak to your editor before signing to see if the size you have in mind would be possible, and make sure this information is confirmed.


What price will my book be?


The rule of thumb is usually the more colour pages in the book, the more expensive it will be. If we know roughly how many pages there will be and how many illustrations will be in the book, we may be able to give a general price. This will give you some indication of the pricing of the book.


 What will my royalty and the discount amount be?


Your royalty and discount are both clearly stated in the contract. If you have any issue with the percentages, we encourage authors to speak to the editor.

They can also explain what ‘net sales’ means; a percentage of a net sale often means your royalty amount on the sale the publisher sells at. For example, if your book is £10 and your royalty is 10% – you would usually receive £1 of each book. However, all publishers offer the book at a discount to wholesalers and retailers. This could be anything from 20-80%! Let’s say they offer the book to a bookshop that requires a 50% discount, the book is being sold at £5 – this is the net price; therefore the author will receive 0.50p in royalties.

Overall, we would like to stress the importance of reading your contract thoroughly with a fine-tooth comb. If there are any terms you do not understand, please ask our editors as they will be happy to explain.


18 Mar 2021