Dear Debut Author…
First, huge congratulations to you. Second, banish that Timid Author Syndrome, my friend. Don’t step into your writing career with the mindset of a grateful pawn—you are a partner in a business venture. These are your books, and these negotiations will affect your income and intellectual property. Understand as much of what’s going on as possible. Your friend is concerned because joint accounting (which requires both books earn out before you get royalties) doesn’t favor authors yet some publishers insist on it, film rights are sometimes best handled through sub-agents than publishers, and electronic rights are a battleground these days. Your agent knows this publisher’s strengths and will explain why some things are worth fighting for while others should be granted. Ask before she starts negotiating so no one has to backtrack. That’s not stepping out of line, it’s making sure you’re all happy with the final contract.