The Contract

ContractThe book contract arrived. It seemed pretty straightforward to me, but I’ve never laid eyes on a book contract before, so what do I know? I followed the advice of my book consultant and shelled out some bucks to have someone knowledgeable review it.

I recognized that the contract was unusual. The publisher is unusual. It required some shared expenses. Having talked with the publisher, I was aware of this, and given that the author gets 50% of the net (as compared to maybe 12% from standard publishers), that didn’t seem unfair to me, especially as this is a new, startup publisher.

The reviewer sent the contract back with many, many comments. I looked at them all carefully. There were a few that I didn’t agree with, but some of the others seemed more than reasonable. For example, the contract specified that all rights to the work in other media such as TV, movies, audiobook, etc. would belong to the publisher. Now, the likelihood of my little novel being made into a movie is remote, but I didn’t see why I should give up the rights to my own work, even so. So I marked up the contract accordingly and returned it to the publisher with a polite note indicating that everything was up for discussion.

That was yesterday. No response so far. Of course, I reasoned, he needs time to look it over. I took my time, after all. But still. Is he pissed off? Insulted? Did he even see it yet? Am I stressing unnecessarily? Or is this an indication of thunderclouds on the horizon? Should I stop thinking about it? Should I call?

Or maybe I’ll just go for a walk on the beach and forget about it.

7 thoughts on “The Contract

  1. Has he gotten back yet? Also, I recommend in the future not talking about what you find in a contract because I did sign with them, and I believe one clause was to never talk about the terms in the contract. I know you didn’t sign upon writing this blog post, so I suppose there can be some leeway in regards to talking about the contract, but you do retain your copyright for the book, which most publishers do not even offer. They completely strip you of your rights to ownership of that book, so I wasn’t bothered at all by the clause you mentioned, because, I figured, even if I were to go to a big house, they would do the same thing, but at least this press allows me to keep my copyright so that if it were to ever go out of print, I can just self-publish it.


  2. Don’t sign over your rights to anything. You, not them, should be in charge of any movie deals. If you feel like you want to write a script then do so and auction it yourself.


  3. So the question is, what is the publisher offering you? Print? Promotions and advertising? An advance? A print run into conventional book stores? All that should be weighed before signing over any rights. Oh, and two last things–make sure the time limit of the rights is clear, as well as the actions necessary to get your rights back.


  4. Keep calm, if they like your work, they will negotiate – at least, if your requests have been reasonable. But you might not be the only writer they are working with – so give them some time (a week seems fair).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s