I’m Signed! ?? Here’s How it Happened:

So, just in case you haven’t seen my last post, here’s the query letter that got accepted by a publisher – WOOT!?

MY 2nd ACCEPTED QUERY [linked]

On the call that was set up after that, I immediately clicked with the publishing company’s editorial vision for the story, and …now came the contract!


OK, so first of all: I will fully admit it — I was terrified.  That blog recommending that unagented authors not negotiate contracts on their own behalf, really put the fear of God in me.

While that piece of advice would no doubt be helpful for some authors, I *do* want to tell the story of how I got around that unscathed — with research!  Lots of it!

So, as I said in my last blog, “How I Got my Agent,” that although it might have been the right choice for another author, I elected not to go with the offering agent.

I instead opted to sign directly with a publishing company I’d found on my own, whose editor immediately “got” the DNA of my story, and whose company’s terms were a standout.

Now, for the contract.


I was literally dreading not understanding anything that was put in front of me.

Then I opened it.  And it read like plain English! ?


Now, I am not the sort of person who considers legal documents pleasurable reading, so that is a lot coming from me.

I got everything, terms we had already discussed were right there, in writing, so it could very well be considered an open-and-shut case.

But I wanted to go the further step of researching what a typical publishing contract looks like, to see what made this one unique, if anything.  As well as researching additional clauses that other un-agented authors have found helpful over time.

Upon doing this, I was happy to see that my own contract was definitely on the generous side, so there was not a whole lot for me to do there.

So, now that was sorted!

Winding Roads Stories always wrote back promptly, with clear explanations of why their clauses were set out how they were, and easily adjusted to incorporate and accommodate a number of my suggestions, and I’m happy to say, they included ones that were really important to me. ?

So, now to cover what NOT to do — a mistake I *almost* made that you probably will want to avoid.

And it’s this: When it comes to sentences you don’t see questioned anywhere else on the internet, ? Don’t Over-Suggest. ?

While looking through the sample contract they gave me, I noticed a phrase I didn’t understand: “This agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, administrators, successors, and assigns of the Author,”

… and if you’re a lawyer, you’ll probably already be nodding your head, saying, “sounds about right to me.”

Only, with my novel-proofreading background, I could only think, “Don’t they mean ‘inured‘ to?  Isn’t the ‘D‘ left off?”

XD! Thankfully, I Googled it before asking, and in legalese, ‘inure to the benefit of’ means “will be benefitting”. LOL!

I definitely don’t want to be inured to the all benefits of the contract!


I’m sure if I’d sent that in though, they def wld’ve caught me up on the mistake. ?

So, all in all, don’t take yourself so seriously.

This is me, signing out for now, as I begin the next leg of my publishing journey.

To stay up-to-date on how things are going on #UpNorthCountDown, do follow me on Twitter @abena_sankofa.

As always,

— Love, Abena