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Are you an author who just received an offer to have one of your books published?  If you have, congratulations!  There is no prouder moment in the career of a writer than having a book published.  With that said, it is important to proceed with caution.  You do not want your excitement to cloud your judgment.  For that reason, there are a number of important questions that you will want to have answers to before accepting an offer from a book publisher.  A few of these questions are highlighted below for your convenience.

Question:  How will I be paid?

Answer:  Chances are, a publisher will outline payment for you when first accepting your book, but it is important to make sure that you have as much information as possible.  Will you be paid a flat rate fee, an advance payment, royalties, or a combination?  It is also advised that you receive an exact amount of total payments, although this can be difficult if your payments are based on royalties, which are impacted by your book’s sales.

Question:  Can I get an advance payment?

Answer:  Typically, you will find that publishers who offer advance payments offer them.  With that said, not all companies do.  Asking for an advance payment is something that many publishers come to expect, but you will want to proceed with caution at the same time.  If you are in financial despair, it may be a good idea to ask a publisher about advance payments, but keep your public perception in mind.  If you will be paid a flat rate, as opposed to royalty payments, consider waiting the few months that it will likely take for you to receive payment.  

In fact, when you can expect to receive payment is another question that you will want to ask.

Question:  Will I get free copies of my book?  If so, how many?

Answer:  Although getting free copies of your published book isn’t as important as making sure that you get paid, it is something that is of great importance to many first time writers.  If this is the first time that a book of yours has been published, you will want to have a copy of your book to show off to your close friends and family members.  In fact, you may want to have copies to send to them.  Most reputable publishers will at least provide you with a free copy of your book, but additional copies will likely depend on the publisher in question.

Question:  Will my book be published in foreign countries?

Answer:  It is important to know the answer to this question, as it may have an impact on the royalties that you receive.  If your book is sold overseas, you should be paid for those sales as well.  Never let a publisher convince you that foreign sales are different, as they should pay the same way, although a different rate may be agreed on.

Question:  Will you retain the rights to your book or your characters?

Answer:  The answer to this important question will all depend on your contract.  That is why it is important for you to thoroughly read a contract before agreeing to sign it.  Be sure to ask any additional questions that you may have.  For example, if the book is successful, will you be the one to write sequels?  What if someone wants to turn your book into a television show or movie?  

The above mentioned questions are just a few of the many that you will want to ask a publisher before accepting their contract.  As a reminder, never sign a contract without knowing as much as you can about the agreement, as well as the publisher extending the offer.  For that reason, you are encouraged to sit down and make an additional list of questions that you would like to have the answers to.  Be sure to do this before you make contact with the publisher in question, as it will help to ensure that all of your bases are covered and the first time.

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