Good news! You finally receive the email that you've been waiting for: A publisher has offered to publish your book. Then your joy turns to apprehension when you actually read that contract:
Rights, sub-rights, territories, escalation, reserve? What’s that? You don’t know the rules, the customs, even the vocabulary. Should you accept the offer?
One of the provisions that causes the greatest angst among new authors, is the so-called option clause. The publishing-advice websites are abuzz with conspiracy theories and horror stories from inexperienced authors who feel they got robbed by it. Yet most publishing contracts have one, and it generally goes something like this: