Publishing can be a strange labyrinth, hidden beneath the groaning shelves of libraries and bookstores, but if you’re willing to let me I am happy to be your guide to this small part of it!
I’ve set this page up to be a handy reference point for all of the Publishing Contracts blog posts I’ve made. You’ll see a nice list below (as with the Introduction post) of all of the posts along with a quick summary.
As you might have come to expect these posts do come with their very own disclaimer: These posts reflect my own experience with contracts and are intended for guidance and informational purposes only. They should not be taken as iron-clad advice for all publishing contracts and if in doubt you should seek specific advice. There are organisations, like the Society of Authors in the UK, who will be able to help with this and if you have an agent they should also be able to help.
If you’d like to learn about what goes into a publishing contract and what you, as an author, should keep an eye out for then look no further! I’ve dedicated a blog post to each of the areas below so that you can come back and take a look at your leisure.
Grant of Rights
This will include things like the term (how long the contract is for), what territories you’re selling, and formats the publisher is granted and things like that. We’ll also talk about the difference between a grant of rights and an assignment of rights.
This means things like when you deliver your book, whether you have to proofread stuff, and what other things you can publish.
This covers things on the Publisher’s side. You’ve sent the manuscript and now we can talk about things like how long the Publisher can take to produce the book, how many free copies they send you and other fun (and not so fun) stuff!
What everyone wants to know about! I’ll talk about advances, royalties, and how publishers typically pay their authors.
This one might be a bit more mysterious, but Subsidiary Rights means other ways the book can be exploited like film rights or selling the rights to a specialist publisher to do a special edition.
Legal Mumbo Jumbo
In this post we’ll have a whistle-stop tour of the meatier legal clauses like warranties or copyright infringement.
Finally, we’ll talk about getting out of the contract. This will cover what would make your book out of print and what other ways you could terminate the agreement.
A quick post to round off the series with some broad rules to remember as you read through your own contract.
There you have it. That should cover just about everything you might get in a contract, boiled down into seven broad categories. Some things might change as time goes on, but this should provide a broad outline of what to look out for and what to know about your publishing contract.