Advice to would-be authors

Negotiating your contract

Get the Society of Author's leaflets and use their contract vetting service. Do not be afraid to ask for changes, but be realistic enough to know that you will only be able to make fairly minor changes. If I had to make one suggestion it would be to fight hard for an arbitration clause. There is an old saying (attributed to Napoleon) that in a war "God is on the side of the biggest guns and the biggest battalions" in contracts "right is on the side with the best lawyers". Your publisher almost certainly has more resources and better lawyers than you do - so an arbitration clause helps to level the playing field, and will give you a realistic chance to fight the adverse effects of potentially troublesome clauses in your contract.