When entering the vast world of publishing, know what you are getting into and don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Every week, we see eager authors who have signed contracts they didn’t really understand (sometimes with their attorneys who didn’t understand the terminology either). In particular, they get hooked up with agents who are not legitimately trying to place their book) or "self publishing" companies whose contracts are very confusing. So before you send anything to any publisher, editor, or book or literary agent, Google the name or visit a site called Preditors [sic] and Editors (www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubabout.htm). Find out what others say about them first and make sure they are who they say they are.
Remember one thing: With the print on demand/subsidy/vanity houses, their contracts say you retain the rights to your work. However, that doesn’t mean you own anything they have done with it—for example, you do not own the book they produced from your manuscript. Know what the terms mean, or ask a professional before you sign.
Don't pull a Sally Field at the first person who says they will publish your book ("They like me, they really, really like me!"). Know what you are signing. Know what kind of company you are dealing with. Understand their business before you give up any of your rights.
Lisa Pelto, President
and Publishing Services