Negotiating book contract terms and royalties
Negotiating Publishing Contracts for Writers - Words IrelandNegotiating Book Contract Terms and Royalties Warning: This information is based on my personal experiences and confidential communications from others. It is not intended as legal advice First, my advice to all commercial authors is, get a good lawyer with book contract experience. I got through my last contract negotiation and a Federal court lawsuit for copyright infringement somebody ripped me off with the help of Zick Rubin, a terrific Intellectual Property lawyer in the Boston area. Check out his "Really Legal" columns. The publishing industry has a bad reputation amongst the majority of writers, many of whom see publishers as little more than law firms with an editorial department in tow. Publishers reel in unwary authors with a carrot, the advance, then whack them with a stick, the contract.
How Book Authors and Book Writers Can Negotiate A Book Royalty
Publisher Book Contracts
As a member, you can receive a free contract review from Legal Services. Here are some basic rules of thumb applicable to most publishing agreements:. Never assign or transfer your copyright to a publisher; grant only specific rights e. Consider what specific territories and languages you want the publisher to have and be sure the grant of rights is limited to those territories and languages. Demand a deadline for publication and demand that you be able to terminate the contract and keep your advance if the publisher fails to bring out the book on time. Require your publisher to register your work with the Copyright Office in your name within three months of publication.
Basic Tips on Negotiating a Publishing Contract
Today, I am running a guest post by Jody Rein, a book publishing consultant, literary agent and former executive editor with Big 10 , Big 6 , Big 5 publishers in New York. She shares some helpful advice on understanding and negotiating publishing contracts. A traditional book publisher has offered you a contract—hallelujah! But…now what? I always negotiate book publishing contracts in at least two stages. I recommend you do this as well.
When presented with a publishing contract, remember that you are a professional writer and author even if your title is professor, librarian, researcher, or academic. There are five copyrights and you can choose which ones to give to the publisher. These two are needed to publish something, i. And you don't have to transfer or assign them. You can establish an exclusive or even non-exclusive agreement where you retain rights and contractually provide permission to the publisher to engage in the rights surrounding your manuscript. If you plan on translating your work, then don't transfer your right to prepare a derivative work, i.
I am writing this note as a general guidance based on my experiences in these negotiations which often involved drafting of carefully worded clauses and further refinement as the two sides come closer to a deal. Your relationship with your publisher is unique and what is achievable in contract negotiations can depend on how much the publisher wants to publish your book and how commercial the publication is. This note is a general guidance note only and is not intended to be comprehensive or a substitute for legal advice. Each negotiation turns on its specific set of facts, so you should not rely on this note in place of seeking professional advice. As a writer, you have probably been anticipating the moment when a publishing agreement is sent to you by your publisher or agent. It is an exciting time and a great achievement to have got to this stage but, without sounding too much like a lawyer, I would advise caution before cracking open the champagne just yet!