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Contract continued, clauses 5 to 8

Just before I start, and to put this whole bureaucratic mess into perspective, or into what I feel should be perspective, papersky says some of the most profound -- and moving -- things about high fantasy I've ever read, which makes the whole contract issue seem somehow paltry and mundane in comparison. She says it here: http://www.livejournal.com/users/papersky/194396.html

Tonight's portion of the long contract will be clauses 5, 6, 7 and 8.


Style and Price of Publication [This is, again, along the side.]

5. Publication of the Work will be at Publisher's option and expense at such a time and in such style and manner, under such imprint, and at such prices as Publisher deems suitable, whether in a hardcover or paperbound edition or both simultaneously. Final decision as to cover and title of the Work shall be Publisher's. In the even the Author is more than one person, Publisher shall determine the order of authorship credits.

This is fairly straightforward. We knew, straight up, that it would be a mass market original, but they could change their mind if they wanted to. There wasn't any pressing reason to change this clause, although I think, if cover consultation were possible, it would be inserted somewhere here.

Proofreading and Author's Corrections

6. The Author shall read, correct and return any proofs of the Work and Publisher shall charge to the Author the cost of alterations in type, plates, or film requested by Author and made by Publisher, other than those due to printer's errors, in excess of 10% of the charge for composition. If Author fails to return corrected proofs within three (3) weeks after submission, Publisher may elect to treat them as correct, and they shall be deemed approved by the Author, with such changes as the Publisher elects to make, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 hereof.

A word about this 10%: what it means is not that you get to change 10% of the actual text; it means that you can cause 10% of the pages to be redone. If you add two sentences, this works its way down throughout the chapter. If you add a paragraph or two, you can mess up the chapter end, which leads into the next chapter. See where this is going? Page proofs are not the place to do revisions. You will cause much screaming, teeth gnashing and hair pulling, and the production department, or the HE, will stick little pins in voodoo dolls they keep for that purpose.

A funny aside: One author -- I was never told their name -- just threw them out. Didn't read them; just tossed them in the garbage. The first time the author did this, the editors had a heart attack, but the author, conversant with the three (3) weeks in this paragraph assumed that when they didn't come in, the Publisher would proceed <wry g>. I was told this only because my editor at the time wanted to make certain that if I was one of these authors, I would let her know in advance, to save coronary stress.

Printer error: For some reason, the printer had elected to change the word "fighter" to "finger". There were other equally hilarious typos. Okay, I thought they were funny <g>. I'm sure I wouldn't have thought they were quite as funny had I seen them in the finished book, otoh.

Termination for Lack of Publication

7. a. If the Work is not published within eighteen (18) months after acceptance of the manuscript, unless delayed by circumstances beyond its reasonable control, then Author may terminate this agreement at any time thereafter prior to commencement of manufacture of copies of the Work, by ninety (90) days written notice, and unless the Work shall have been published within ninety (90) days after receipt by Publisher of such notice, this agreement shall terminate without further liability on the part of Publisher effective ninety (90) days after such receipt. Publisher's time to publish shall be extended by the period of time publication was prevented by circumstances beyond its reasonable control.

b. In the event of termination by the Author in accordance with this paragraph, the Author shall be entitled to retain all advances previously paid and to contract with others concerning the Work free of liability to the Publisher, except Publisher will be entitled to repayment of its advances from the first proceeds of such contracts with others concerning the Work. All rights granted to Publisher herein shall revert to the Author upon effective date of termination in accordance herewith.


Again, this is fairly straightforward. If they fail to publish the book after they've accepted it, you can get the rights back and keep the advance until you sell it to another publisher (if you do), but you can't sue them. You do have to put this request in writing, however. Do I know of anyone who has ever done this? Well, no. And our FTN probably won't, either, since publication is the goal. The way I read this, though, if you fail to sell it to another publisher after pulling it, you still get to keep the money.

Copyright

After publication of the Work hereunder, the Publisher shall copyright the Work in the name of the Author in accordance with the United States Copyright Law and in compliance with the Universal Copyright Convention and apply for renewal of copyright if this agreement is still in effect. If any material in the Work by the Author shall have been previously published, the Author shall notify Publisher promptly and shall deliver a legally recordable assignment to Publisher of the copyright in such material together with the same rights in such material as are granted Publisher with respect to the Work.

This, as well, is straightforward. Is anyone still awake?

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
lexcorp_hope
Sep. 16th, 2004 09:58 pm (UTC)
I am. :) I've been signing screenwriting contracts for a long time, but I'm hoping to get my hands on a novel contract realsoonlike, and this has been quite educational. Thank you so much for taking the time to type it all out!
davidcook
Sep. 16th, 2004 10:02 pm (UTC)
I'm awake (although that's very foolish of me, it being near 6am). Anyway, I think I've found everything you've written about writing and publishing interesting so far, even these details of contracts.

(wonder how book contracts compare to record contracts ? I feel a sudden need to hunt down a musician ... )
(Deleted comment)
msagara
Sep. 17th, 2004 08:25 am (UTC)
Also awake and finding this pretty interesting, actually. It answers alot of questions I would have gotten around to asking when you started to run out of stuff to talk about though... ;D

And you expected this to happen when which circle of hell froze over? You know me <g>.

Although I'm now curious about what those questions were...
(Deleted comment)
msagara
Sep. 18th, 2004 04:38 pm (UTC)
What would be the most likely outcome if you were to add, say, upon written notification to Author to the beginning of all of those sub-clauses.. ? I suspect it would be ignored, much like the clause which stated that you had to submit 2 copies of that first manuscript, but would their legal department reject it even though it simply states 'notification' and doesn't require Author's approval..?

I would guess that this would depend on how important the clause was to you, the author; the upon written notification puts the onus on the publisher to inform you, but doesn't actually have any remedies listed for if they fail to do so.

Since they're licensing these, and we've agreed to this, it would kind of be like our telling the we required written notification of printing, publishing and selling the book itself. I think.

rajankhanna
Sep. 17th, 2004 06:11 am (UTC)
Still here, still appreciating all of this. Thanks!
mmarques
Sep. 17th, 2004 07:18 am (UTC)
I find it interesting. Hopefully it will be something I'll get to see at some point regarding my own work. Once I negotiated some terms on a non-fiction article, but all my other published work has been either for hire, or volunteer.

I guess I'm also used to hearing contract stuff, as my mother always talks to me about contract stuff on my father's non-fiction work. It's very helpful to see how little is negotiable for a FTN, as my mother has quite a bit of clout on my father's work.
msagara
Sep. 17th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)
I guess I'm also used to hearing contract stuff, as my mother always talks to me about contract stuff on my father's non-fiction work. It's very helpful to see how little is negotiable for a FTN, as my mother has quite a bit of clout on my father's work.

Non-fiction is different <g>. Depending on what your father's writing, it usually costs more to get someone to write non-fiction because -- I think I've mentioned this elsewhere -- anyone who is expert is in theory expert because they're already getting paid. And publishers are in competition with other people who are doing the paying.

Which would mean that the leverage would be more on the side of the non-fiction person and less on the side of the Publisher if the author had a proven record.
mmarques
Sep. 17th, 2004 10:25 am (UTC)
You're right about the non-fiction author gaining leverage from having a reputation in their field and not from necessarily from the writing.

My father was not a prolific author, but is widely known in his field. Much of the contract business I hear about is not for first publication rights, but people who want to include one of his articles in their books, etc.
msagara
Sep. 17th, 2004 07:12 pm (UTC)
My father was not a prolific author, but is widely known in his field. Much of the contract business I hear about is not for first publication rights, but people who want to include one of his articles in their books, etc.

Okay, you get the Coolest Known Relative award in this Journal <g>. And yes, I can see why there would be some leverage there.
maggiemotley
Sep. 17th, 2004 08:53 am (UTC)
Definitely still awake.

This is really interesting stuff, thanks :-)
zhaneel69
Sep. 17th, 2004 08:55 am (UTC)
Very much awake (for my definition of awake before noon).

And very thankful that you went over this.

Zhaneel
msagara
Sep. 17th, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC)
Very much awake (for my definition of awake before noon).

This sounds like me <g>. Night? Good. Brain on. Morning? Urg. I once motioned that the word be struck from English usage, but was over-ruled, as people would invent some other word that meant "the hell-time that man was not meant to see".
marikochan
Sep. 17th, 2004 09:12 am (UTC)
(Um, hi. I've been lurking here since John Scalzi linked to your LJ, and this discussion is fascinating. Thanks!)

I have a question about that 10% -- it says 10% excluding printer errors, so is there any situation where the 10% would include anything other than things the author later decided to change? I assume typos, cut out text, repeated text, etc. would all count as printer errors. Basically, what I'm asking is, if the version you submitted to the publisher is (in a perfect world, of course!) exactly what you want to be printed, could there be any type of change that would still count in that 10%? (Also, I assume author typos would be counted as part of this, and not as printer errors?)

I'm sure it's really not all that important, but I'm curious...

And yes, very awake!
msagara
Sep. 17th, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC)
I have a question about that 10% -- it says 10% excluding printer errors, so is there any situation where the 10% would include anything other than things the author later decided to change? I assume typos, cut out text, repeated text, etc. would all count as printer errors. Basically, what I'm asking is, if the version you submitted to the publisher is (in a perfect world, of course!) exactly what you want to be printed, could there be any type of change that would still count in that 10%? (Also, I assume author typos would be counted as part of this, and not as printer errors?

Keeping in mind that I said that I've never heard of an author who has actually been charged for corrections...

No, I can't think of anything that would otherwise be included. If you don't see copy-edits, on the other hand, the galleys are the first time you see the line-edits or punctuation changes, etc., done to your book, and in that case, I consider those "printer errors". I'm sure that they're not considered printer errors by the other side of the fence though <wry g>..

Author typos shouldn't count as part of this, fwiw, since they were in theory caught by either the line-editor or the copy-editor before the book was sent to production to be typeset.

So... if you handed in the perfect book in every way, and the book needed no line-editing and received zero copy-editing and went to production As-Is (which, ummm, happens never), then no, there would be no changes that would count as part of the 10%.

You would, however, be surprised at what stages an author suddenly leaps up in a horrible OHMYGOD frenzy because they've just realized that they forgot to change something important...
lnhammer
Sep. 18th, 2004 08:19 am (UTC)
Keeping in mind that I said that I've never heard of an author who has actually been charged for corrections.

I have — when I was working for an university press, we had to, ah, vigorously remind authors of that clause, and when the emendations got really out of hand, invoke it. This was IIRC a problem with the academic publications, rather than the creative non-fiction that was most of the other half of the list.

---L.
msagara
Sep. 18th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
I have — when I was working for an university press, we had to, ah, vigorously remind authors of that clause, and when the emendations got really out of hand, invoke it. This was IIRC a problem with the academic publications, rather than the creative non-fiction that was most of the other half of the list.

I've heard editorial-desk-side horror stories -- but not one of those editors said that the author had been charged for the overage <g>. Reminding the authors of the clause, maybe -- but actually charging them? I'm impressing <g>.
thinkum
Sep. 17th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC)
I'm finding this absolutely fascinating - the juxtapositioning of the contract language with your real-world experiences results in something not even remotely boring. Thank you! ;-)
nonniemous
Sep. 17th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
Does it count as still awake...
If I waited to read it until the next morning, coffee in hand? ;-)

Thank you for typing all of this in and adding your comments. I'm on the verge of starting my quest for publication (making a final dip, fluff and comb run through my novel) so this is both timely and interesting for my part. I think the best thing is to hear that, scary as all the legalese can be, these clauses are rarely invoked. Otherwise it feels like signing away my first-born child. (On a given day, I might sign him away. But my first novel? EEEK!)
msagara
Sep. 17th, 2004 06:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Does it count as still awake...
Thank you for typing all of this in and adding your comments. I'm on the verge of starting my quest for publication (making a final dip, fluff and comb run through my novel) so this is both timely and interesting for my part. I think the best thing is to hear that, scary as all the legalese can be, these clauses are rarely invoked. Otherwise it feels like signing away my first-born child. (On a given day, I might sign him away. But my first novel? EEEK!)

At the end of the contract phase, with my little bits and pieces thrown in to either a) keep you awake or b) keep me awake, I'll do a round up about what happened with my first novel, and put it in a wider context for the books of 1991.

robling_t
Sep. 17th, 2004 09:38 pm (UTC)
Not only still awake, but still reading in preference to eating my dinner despite my stomach having tied itself in a half-hitch an hour ago. ;)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )