What about the publishing contract? Most of what's online seems slanted toward the writer's benefit, to help them navigate the legal ramifications of the publishing contract. It can be downright scary to grant someone else the copyright for your work. It's a big step, but necessary if you want to work with a traditional publishing company.
When you write something, you automatically own the copyright on it. In order for a publisher to create your book, you must grant him the copyright. A contract is the first step in making a book. The publisher or editor won't touch your work unless you grant them the rights to do so.
A contract is simply an agreement between two people. It doesn't need to be long and full of legal language that's impossible to decipher. It essentially consists of the publisher saying what they want from you, the writer, and you, the writer, agreeing to it or not.
It will say what the publisher gives the writer as part of this business arrangement. If you don't agree, they might adjust it. It never hurts to ask. If you do agree, then you sign and proceed with this exciting venture of having a publishing company invest in you as a writer.
Behind every contract is people. Consider the contract carefully but also consider the people. Do you trust them, or not? If not, don't sign the contract. A person without integrity can manipulate any contract for any purpose, which is why lawyers are so busy. If you do trust them, sign and move forward, trying not to second guess everything that happens. It will be okay!
L is for Legal. (This is an A to Z Challenge post, not intended to go into great depth and detail about the topic.)
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf