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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

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 ... )