It’s finally happened: Your awesome magazine or newspaper article has led to a book deal. But before you jump to sign that contract, take a moment to read it thoroughly. Bets are, it won’t have your best interest at heart; there will be clauses hidden in the fine print that might kill your future prospects. For example:

The non-compete clause. This can prohibit writers from working on books that would compete with the existing title they are publishing. The problem is that it’s often so broadly written that it could stop you from writing magazine articles or blog posts, all of which can help to market the book.

“Any such clause should be limited to book-length work and should give the publisher a deadline for refusing a new book proposal on a related topic, which then frees the writer to pursue publication elsewhere,” advised Meg Schnieder, an Iowa-based author of 12 books, including The Everything Guide to Writing a Book Proposal.

For more information on other potential deal breakers and steps to renegotiation, read The 7 Biggest Red Flags in Book Contracts.

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