Here is a list of selected chapters from the 2009 edition of Negotiating a Book Contract which you can purchase individually in PDF format. In some cases, the text of a chapter has been slightly revised to adapt it for presentation as a stand-alone chapter. If you need more than a couple of chapters, you may be better off purchasing the entire book (PDF or Paperback).
Read what this book is about and why you need to know what’s in it before you or your agent negotiate with a publisher. Actually, even before you sign a contract with your agent.
This chapter tells you how to figure out how much to ask for as an advance, when you should get it, when you have to repay it and when you don’t —even if they want it back. Includes the following headings: Amount; Timing; Bonuses; Flow Through; and Repayment.
A good agent will protect you from overreaching clauses in your publisher’s contract. But who will protect you from the overreaching clauses in your agent’s contract? You’d best read this. Includes the entire Appendix B, with more than a dozen important points you need to watch out for.
There’s no way your publisher will agree not to publish a competing book, but without doubt it will insist that you agree that you never will. Learn what you can – and should – do about this.
Don’t be roadkill on the information highway. “Electronic rights” is a ridiculously broad and vague term, yet that’s what many publishers ask for in their contracts. But “electronic rights” is really a collection of lots of different rights. It’s okay to grant certain ones to your publisher — but you’d be foolish to grant others. Read this to learn which are which. Includes the following headings: Which Rights to Grant; Verbatim Electronic Rights; Multimedia Rights; and Other Non-Verbatim Electronic Rights.
Murray Burnett, who wrote Casablanca, could never write a prequel or sequel because his grant of rights to Warner Bros was too broad. Know the 12 points you need to keep in mind to make sure this – or 11 other mistakes – doesn’t happen to you!
Did you know that most publishing contracts require you to reimburse your publisher if it incurs expenses just because someone claims you violated another person’s copyright – even if you didn’t and the court says you didn’t? Learn how to prevent this. Better safe than…
You spend two years writing your manuscript and then hand it in. But your editor left in the meantime and the new one doesn’t like your book. So you don’t hear a word from the new editor for six months (what’s taking so long??) or she just says it’s “not satisfactory” and rejects it. Learn what you need to say in your contract to prevent this. Includes the following headings: Time of Delivery; What to Deliver; Return of Advance; Editor’s Response; and Index.
10 changes you will need to make in virtually every publisher’s contract (unless you’re comfortable with handcuffs on your wrists and feet when it comes to selling your next book).
There are lots of important provisions left out of’ most publishers’ contracts — important to you, not to the publisher, of course. Could that be why they’re not there…? Includes the following headings: Advertising and Material by Others; Reservation of Rights; Affiliates; Arbitration; Assignment; Right to Audit; Credit; Return of Manuscript and Art; Free Copies; Governing Law; and Paperback.
According to one major publisher’s contract, your contract stays in effect – and you can’t get your rights back – if your book is out of print in the United States but on sale in Mali! Of course, the contract doesn’t say it in quite that way… And what about e-books? Will your book ever go out of print now? Learn the new changes required in all book contracts now that e-books are here to stay!
Some contracts don’t even require your publisher to publish the book—nor give the rights back to you when it doesn’t. It’s simple to avoid this – if you know how. (What’s left out of a contract is as important as what’s in it – and sometimes even more important. But, without this book as a guide, how will you know what else is left out?) Includes the following headings: Changes in Manuscript; Title Approval; Cover Consultation or Approval; Index; and Copyright Notice.
Did the advance on your last book “earn out”? If it didn’t, you may not get royalties on sales of your new book. That situation is simple to avoid – if you know what to look for in the legalese. But if you don’t…
If what you say in this section is wrong, your contract can be cancelled and you have to return your advance. If the publisher is sued because what you say here is wrong, you’ll have to pay all the publisher’s litigation expenses. So learn what you need to know – and the qualifications you should insert in this section — to make sure what you say is right. An ounce of prevention…
The greater the number of revised editions, the less most authors get in royalties. Why? Read how to prevent that in this chapter and make sure your heirs keep getting royalties for the books you conceived and wrote. Learn the 6 contract changes that even business school professors aren’t smart enough to ask for in their textbook contracts.
When is an 8% royalty more than a 10% royalty? If you don’t know, you shouldn’t negotiate your contract without reading this chapter first…
Includes the following headings: “Standard” Royalty Rates (adult hardcovers and paperbacks, children’s hardcover and paperbacks, textbooks); E-Books; Royalties Based On “Net”; Deep Discount” Royalties; and Other Reduced Royalties (small printings, reprints, mail order).
Believe it or not, lots of publishers’ contracts say you don’t always get one. But if you don’t, how do you know if it’s because no books were sold or because a hefty royalty check was lost in the mail? Or – worse – because the publisher is in financial trouble and can’t pay the royalties you’re entitled to?
See the way professionals tell a publisher what changes the contract needs so it’s fair to the author as well as the publisher. This sample letter lists over 50 changes that you can hope your contract doesn’t need but want to know how to ask for if it does.
If your publisher sells the paperback rights to your book for $50,000, do you really have to wait up to 10 months until your next royalty statement to get your share of that $50,000? Not if you’ve read this chapter and learn how to get it in only 30 days… And that’s just one of the many helpful changes you can get in your contract if you know what to ask for. Read this chapter and learn more! Includes the following headings: List of Rights; Points to Watch Out For; Income: Division with Publisher; Income: When Paid (Flow-Through); and More About Certain Rights.
Does your contract always terminate when you get your rights back from the publisher? Should it? What are the pro’s and con’s? Which does your publisher want? Which should you want? Learn the differences here.