About Mark Levine

Mark L. Levine, a New York lawyer, is a recognized authority on book publishing contracts and the author of Negotiating A Book Contract. He currently writes the Contracts Q&A column for the Authors Guild Bulletin. More about Mark
Author Archive | Mark Levine

Can I change the agent’s clause in the proposed contract my publisher just sent me?

Q.  Can I change the agent’s clause in the proposed contract my publisher just sent me? A.  You certainly can. The clause most publishers include in your contract is one that your agent has given them.  If there are aspects that you want to change, you can certainly ask — even demand — that they…

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Should I agree to a clause that says I can only sue the publisher where it’s located?

Q. I am considering signing a contract directly with an overseas publisher, but it refuses to change the clause that says any lawsuits —whether brought by it or me— must be conducted exclusively in its country. If it sues me, even spuriously, there is no way I could travel there to defend myself. Any suggestions?…

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What if my publisher loses my artwork?

Q. I write and illustrate children’s books. My contracts say that the publisher is “not responsible for the loss or damage of any material” submitted by me. That’s okay for my manuscript since I have a copy on my computer, but what can I do about original drawings and watercolors that I submit? A. Publishers…

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Can I sue my publisher? What about the company that bought foreign rights?

Q. My contract for a medical how-to book has a clause which grants me full cover approval. I designed the cover, which includes powerful back cover endorsements from prominent doctors. When it came out in paperback, a year after the first hardcover run, the publisher had changed all the cover endorsements to industry praise as…

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Can I sue my publisher in the state I live in or must I sue it where it’s located?

Q. I am thinking of suing my publisher. It’s located in Florida, and the contract says that it’s governed by Florida law. I live in New York. Do I have to sue the publisher in Florida or can I sue it in New York? Do I need a Florida lawyer to sue it in Florida?…

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Do I have cover approval for the paperback edition of my hardcover book?

Q. My contract grants me cover approval but the paperback publisher never sent me the cover to look at. It’s totally different from the dust jacket on the hardcover, which was fabulous. I’m told that paperback publishers have the right to design their own covers. Is that true? A. The contract between you and your…

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