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How to Sell and Negotiate a Book Publishing Contract.

By Jonathan Carnino

Are you wondering how to sell and negotiate a book publishing contract? If so, you’re in the right place. Pitching your book is no small feat, especially if it’s non-fiction. The process can seem daunting, but with the right preparation and research, the outcome will be positive for you and your book. Let’s explore how to pitch a book proposal successfully and negotiate a book publishing contract with ease. A publishing contract doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. It’s essentially an agreement that outlines the terms of your relationship with your publisher, including what rights they have to your work and how much you will get paid for it. If you’re thinking about self-publishing or working with an independent press (such as an independent literary house), there are some things you should know before signing any contracts. Here are some things you should know when pitching a book proposal and negotiating a book publishing contract:


Negotiating Basics

A publishing contract is a contract you enter into with a publisher when you sell your book to be published. In most cases, it’s a good idea to have an agent negotiate the contract on your behalf. However, if you’re self-publishing, you’ll have to negotiate the contract yourself. Before you start negotiating, there are a few things you should know. First, you should know what rights you’re giving up and what rights you’re keeping. You will want to retain as many rights as possible so that you can maximize earning potential from your book. This may include the rights to the book’s content, the cover, the digital rights, and more. Therefore, it’s important to know what rights your publisher wants for their investment. The next thing you should know is that book publishing contracts are negotiable. Therefore, don’t feel like you have to accept a publisher’s terms if you don’t like them. You have the right to negotiate, and the publisher knows it.

Why is it so difficult to sell a book?

If you’ve been pitching a book and receiving rejection letters, you may start to wonder if it’s even possible to sell a book. However, don’t let the rejections get you down. There are a few things you should know before you pitch a book. First, know your niche. Sellers know their product better than anyone, and it’s important to understand your audience. Join online forums and meetups to network with people who share a similar interest and ask questions. You’ll also want to know your competition and why your book would be better than theirs. Most importantly, you should know your book’s USP. Every book has competition, so why would a publisher choose yours over another? What makes your book unique?

Things to consider before selling your book

Before you sell your book, you should consider the following: - Research your publisher. Make sure the publisher is legitimate and that they have a good reputation. You can do this by looking them up online and reading reviews. - Research your book’s category. Make sure your book’s category and subcategory fit the publisher’s selection. - Do your research on the editors at the publishing house. What are their credentials? Do they have any published works? - Do your research on the market for your book. How many books are currently published in your category and how many books do you think will be published in the future? - Decide on your book’s length and word count. - Know your rights and retain as many as possible.

How to pitch and negotiate a book publishing contract

Before you start pitching your book, you’ll want to make sure you have a killer summary and a killer pitch. A killer summary is a one- to two-sentence summary of your entire book. A killer pitch is a short summary that tells the publisher why they should publish your book. It should be between two and three sentences. Before you pitch your book, make sure you’re pitching to the right person. - Make a list of every publisher you’d like to pitch your book to. - Create a spreadsheet with the publishers’ name, address, and editor’s name. - Put your book’s summary and pitch in an email and make sure it’s short and to the point. - Start pitching! - Be persistent. - Follow up with every publisher that doesn’t respond to your pitch. - Follow up again with the publishers that don’t respond the second time. - Keep pitching and never give up!

Ask for editorial feedback before signing the contract

Before signing the contract, it’s a good idea to ask for editorial feedback on your manuscript. Editorial feedback is a letter from the publisher that states that your book is ready for publication. You can also request a letter of intent, which is basically a letter of confirmation that your book was accepted for publication. If you receive an editorial feedback letter, it’s advised that you don’t sign the publishing contract until you’ve addressed all of the issues listed in the letter. Once you’ve addressed all of the issues and the contract has been signed, there’s no turning back.

Get your foot in the door with an option clause

If you’ve received a lot of interest from publishers, you may want to consider investing in an option clause. An option clause is basically a contract that states that if a publisher doesn’t accept or reject your book within a certain amount of time, you can then go ahead and publish your book yourself. This means that you would then be responsible for finding a publishing company to print your book and marketing it. The option clause is a great way to get your foot in the door with a publisher. You have nothing to lose because if the publisher accepts your book and publishes it, you don’t have to do anything. However, if the publisher doesn’t accept your book, you can then publish it yourself. There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing your book, but it’s good to have a back-up plan just in case a publisher doesn’t accept your book. The option clause is that back-up plan.

Summing up

A book can be a great investment if you choose the right topic and publish with the right publisher. Before you start pitching your book and negotiating a book publishing contract, make sure you do your research. You’ll want to make sure you’re pitching to the right people and make sure they’re legitimate. You’ll also want to consider the following: research your publisher, do your research on the editors at the publishing house, decide on your book’s length and word count, and know your rights and retain as many as possible. It can be difficult to sell a book because there are so many factors that go into the decision. Before you start pitching your book, make sure you have a killer summary and a killer pitch. Once you’ve pitched your book, be persistent and follow up with every publisher that doesn’t respond to your pitch. Finally, once you’ve received editorial feedback, get your foot in the door with an option clause, and use an editor's feedback to make your manuscript the best it can be, you’ll be well on your way to publishing a bestselling book!