My official contract came yesterday. And I realized that I’d never actually seen a book contract before. It’s not what I expected. I sort of expected this thing that looked like a mortgage contract — legal size and unreadable.

But no, it’s not legal size. It’s regular size. It’s not as fat as I thought it would be. And it’s readable, if a bit boring. Lots of it is regular contract language stuff. And then there’s the specific stuff that applies to me and my books. That was more interesting.

It’s kind of strange to see it in black and white — someone is really, truly, honest to goodness going to PAY me for my work. ME. It still makes me giggle. My words are worth that much? Too cool.

It’s hard sometimes when you dream of being published to hear that money flows TO the writer, not the other direction. It’s hard because you want to see your story between the covers of a book. You want to hold it and show it to your friends and family. And there are certain presses out there that know that.

But try to hold out, okay? Money flows TO the writer, not the other way around. I have it in black and white. If someone wants to publish your book, but wants you to pay them to do so, be patient and keep trying. You may have to write another book, or another few books, but you can get there with persistence and an open mind to what you need to do to grow as a writer. It didn’t happen for me overnight. And it wouldn’t have happened at all had I not kept trying. (If you’ve already paid someone to publish your book, enjoy the product — but write another book and don’t give up on having someone pay you for your work. It can happen.)

I was looking forward to this contract, and now it’s here and I’m reading it with awe and determination. What have you been looking forward to lately? Have you gotten something that wasn’t quite what you expected? Was that good or bad for you?