So you follow all of my advice – or you chart your own direction – and you finally get a ‘yes’ and a contract! Congratulations!!!
Legally, you have 60 days to consider the contract and seek advice. You are going to want to seek some advice before signing and there are a number of different supports available to help lead you through the process:
- Now that you have a contract in hand, you could attempt to approach an agent again. See my advice on how to find the best agent for your work here.
- You could have a literary lawyer or a literary consultant review your contract. These professionals charge a one-time fee, usually based on an hourly rate, to review your contract and provide advice. Depending on your needs and arrangement, the consultant may also negotiate the contract with the publisher on your behalf. Once the contract is signed, the consultant’s role is complete and so, unlike an agent, consultants do not receive an ongoing percentage of all future royalties from the book. (For a reputable literary consultant in the Toronto area, I recommend Sally Keefe Cohen.)
- The Writers’ Union of Canada has a Contract Review Service, which they offer as a one-time free service to members. Of course, you cannot be a member until you are a published author but they will often make an exception and allow you provisional membership given that you have a contract in hand.
- The Writers’ Union of Canada also offers additional advice on contracts and has available many helpful publications including their Contract Self-Help Package ($15 to download if you are not a member.)
- CANSCAIP also has a guide entitled “What to look for in your Author/Illustrator Contract,” which is available for all Members and Friends to download for free. To consider joining this organisation and availing yourself of their advise, visit the CANSCAIP website.
And then the fun begins! The time before publication is usually quite lengthy, often over a year – sometimes more than 2 years for picture books as the illustrator needs time to work too.
During this time there will be long periods of silence and crazy periods of editing and proofreading. You will work very closely with an in-house editor who will provide you with his or her feedback in order to help you turn your story into the best book it can be.
So, even then, with your beautiful contract all signed, sealed and delivered, you will be headed back to that writing table to Revise, Revise, Revise!! 🙂