Hello everyone, I'm a long-term subscriber to WM but have only lurked here so far... took the plunge and joined today as I have a burning question to ask!
I am an established writer, mainly magazine articles, in quite a niche specialism. I have one book under my belt already, published a couple of years ago: I won't say who the publishers were as I had quite a bad experience with them. I was very keen to bag myself a publishing contract at the time so didn't think too hard about the terms: they didn't pay me an advance at all, so it was a 'royalties-only' deal. You can guess the rest.
Second publishing deal is now under negotiation with a different publisher. It's a much more established one and has a good 'reach'; but the deal this time is one-off fee/advance - but no royalties.
They tell me 'this is how we always do things'. It's a collaborative publisher - i.e. they work up the synopsis in conjunction with a writer and then work with a larger publisher to actually get it done. They have good connections and it's among the better (as in best-known for producing successful books) publishers, in my field.
This makes me so uncomfortable. I really, really, really want to do the book as it's a subject I've wanted to write about for ages - so it's going to really hurt to turn down this deal. But I don't want to be ripped off again.
I can't decide what to do. It might be that the book doesn't sell that well, and I'll be better off with the one-off fee. It might be though that it sells lots of copies (to be honest I would have thought this was more likely, not because of me but because of the very of-the-moment subject matter and the companies/organisations which would be connected with the book).
I am joining the Society of Authors so they can at least look over the contract. It's not usual to have an agent in my field of work but there are one or two - perhaps that might be better?