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September 15th, 2004

Contract questions

This is actually a question asked in the comment threads at The Whatever, John Scalzi's excellent, although very snarky, blog.

Isn't there a negotiation process with publishers? Big advance, less maneuvering room with rights and such? Royalty percentages? Accounting schedules? Other contract particulars? I truly think there's more to a publishing contract than the cash up front.

And what about a book with a "meh" advance that actually gets decent marketing? Building a career with legs? Looking long term instead of just gimme the money now!

Maybe I'm a naïve git, but it's not so simple. Is it?

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LiveJournal friend

kchew, known to some of you as Kristen or klc, has started an LJ which is almost entirely about what she's reading. As she reads almost everything -- when her small son will let her -- it's an interesting Journal, especially to those of us who can then at least have a passing acquaintance with some of the things she's writing about.

She's been an acquiring editor for UofT Press (University of Toronto, just in case some of you hail from Texas), and also for the trade publishing house James Lorrimar runs (name of which escapes me, and yes, I'm being lazy), and has done editing work for Jane Siberry (whee!), but she's a touch on the shy side, and almost all of her interests run to books and reading. Her house kind of looks like a library. You know, a library that's packed three books deep on a shelve (ETA which would be like a "shelf" except with the sense that you could never ever have one of them. Okay, no it's a typo. But it's kind of a subconscious typo which indicates that my house, sadly, looks a lot the same), with books on dressers and tables and every possible space that's flat and unoccupied.

Contract clauses 1-3

Okay. I'm offering warning once again: This is very, very boring. It's also an older contract, so it may have changed (although there's often a glacial change for things like this). This is before the days of e-books, and Random House has what many consider a punitive clause for "all rights that might possibly exist in the future" in their contracts these days, and I don't have one of those on hand. I have a DAW contract, but DAW is a bit unusual, and the Random House contract more indicative of what you'll generally see.

And if, at the end of this, you aren't crossing your eyes or skipping over these entries in glassy-eyed, polite boredom, I'll dig up the LUNA contracts for contrast.

Boring contract clauses, last chance to not click hereCollapse )