Great! You found a publisher!
But what if the services they provide are not up to the standards you were promised? Here is an overview of things you can do to either break the contract or just make things bearable.
This step is one for people that have actually NOT signed a contract with a publisher yet but it might save you and the publisher some grievance. The first thing you want to do is to investigate the publisher you or your agent wants to go with. When the publisher has given his fiat, you have to start looking into the business and if this fits your standards and expectations. Look at the amount of following they have on social media, look at the way the books they have published are being marketed and maybe even order one of the books yourself to see how well the books are printed and made. There is nothing worse than receiving your cardboard box of books and seeing that the lettering was done bad or that the quality of the cover picture was extremely bad.
Look at how well the books sold, look at the book blogs the publisher is working with and even how many and what kind of reviews the book received on amazon. Write your findings down and go with your gut feeling. Do not let your enthusiasm of that long awaited “yes” lead you and do not let yourself get talked into a contract by your agent. In the end, it is your name on the cover and just like any other “manufacturer” or “business”, you have to stand behind the product you made. If your gut tells you it’s not good enough, you have to look further.
Is it official?
Some publishers might give you a contract, others might give you an agreement. Honestly? I would almost always want to go with a contract, although an agreement would would be beneficial for you if you would want to leave the collaboration. Read over the document you signed and look at the wording. Does it say contract or agreement? If it is a contract, read on, if it is an agreement, you can happily break it. An agreement is NOT enforceable in a court of law so you are safe(ish).
Not sure if you are looking at an agreement of at a contract? There is some great information on this site that might help you.
Is your content copyrighted?
When you want to break an agreement – and even a contract, you have to be very sure that your content is copyrighted. I mean, the last thing you want to happen is that your book will get published under someone else’s name.
Has the publisher broken the contrqct?
Go through the contract as with a very fine comb and have a look if the publisher might have broken the contract. Have they? That is great but…
You will need an attorney anyway
When you want to get out of a contract with your publisher you will need an attorney. I know this is not the thing you want to hear but since a contract is legally binding, you will always need help from someone that can navigate the laws. And even then… it might be that the court will rule in the publisher’s favour. Remember Ke$ha ?