Joyce's words of advice: "Don't take it to a lawyer. A. costs money and B. all Harper Collins contracts are boiler plate and there is NOTHING negotiable to a first time author. If you want to take the time, you can send it to me and I'll review it for free, but there's really no variance in what they say. I've known people who went to contract attorneys with their book contract and the attorney, thinking it's a real contract that should be negotiated, requests all sorts of things from publisher, who forever after brands the author as a prima donna. Don't do it. Your agent would have already negotiated anything she could. And she pretty much can't.
Just make sure you understand what every clause means. I'm a stickler for that. Never sign language you don't understand. So if anything's bothering you, check with the agent or me."