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Lauri Kubuitsile Discusses What to Expect When Signing a Book Publishing Contract

In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and other storiesLauri Kubuitsile, author of In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and other stories, and one of the authors shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, has written a post on her blog, Thoughts From Botswana, about the dos and don’ts for writers when signing a publishing contract.

Kubuitsile gives advice on everything from what rights you have over your book, where advances are standard practice, and what royalty rate you should realistically expect or even demand. She says: “The important thing to remember is that everything is negotiable on a contract. Sign nothing until you understand it, but be realistic.”

When a publisher hands you your first contract it can be a heady experience. You are finally going to have a published book with your name on the cover. You are over the moon and so thankful to the publisher who is giving you your chance finally. You look at the thick document and you’re positive the publisher has your best interests at heart, she’s been so lovely throughout the whole process, and there really is no reason to waste your time reading all of the fine print. So you sign and initial and date and you get your copy and throw it in the corner on top of your exercise books from form two and the Cosmos you’ve been stacking up for five years for a reason that has yet to make itself clear. You forget about it. All you want is to see is your novel with your name on the cover.

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