The Traps in Publishing Contracts

Part Two of the series. Don’t miss the entire series, it is extremely informative, especially for those that only consider traditional publishing. Read this before you publish and it could save you many headaches!

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

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Traditional Publishing Contracts – Part Two of a Series 

There should be a large neon sign that says: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER sign a contract without having your contract lawyer going over it and explaining it to you in detail – sentence for sentence. The contract clauses described here in this blog post are the “norm” in publishing. It is difficult to see how your publishing agreement will play out in the long term, what you sign today could have profound, long term consequences.

Contract attorney Ivan Hoffman explains in his blog:
“In the US, many contracts that consumers commonly sign, such as for mortgage or auto loans or to
obtain a credit card, are subject to statutory requirements for fairness, clarity, etc.  If some of the clauses and drafting techniques commonly included in publishing contracts used by publishers were found in consumer contracts, those provisions would be…

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6 thoughts on “The Traps in Publishing Contracts

  1. I’m glad to say I don’t feel a headache coming on having been happy to go with self-publishing and keep much more control of my own work. The hardest bit for someone like me ( an idiot) is getting to grips with actually getting books on Kindle, Createspace, Lulu or places like that. So far I’ve passed that job on to the most patient ( and not too expensive) people but my time to try is approaching. Anyone seen the Aspirin?
    xxx Hugs xxx

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    • I think that I’ll probably try having someone else deal with the formatting also. Call me vain, but I want to be the one to hit that Upload button! 🙂 I want it to be right though and I am not a patient person. In fact, I mentioned to my roommate that I didn’t have a very high patience level. She informed me that I do not even have a level! haha..that is evident when anything comes unassembled and I try to put it together. She notes the screaming and gnashing of teeth. I will try to figure it out on my own, but if it is beyond me, I will let someone else assist me. 🙂

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  2. I oscillated for awhile between traditional and self, but I’ve finally settled on self, but mostly because I think I’m a control freak and don’t trust a big company to get the right cover for my book. 🙂

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  3. This is a very informative series. My current publisher does not accept YA manuscripts, so while I’m happy and comfortable with them, I’ll be out there again soon having to research possible traps…I’ve seen a number of contracts that do expect all rights to be granted, it’s scary.

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    • It is really scary! I had been vacillating back and forth between traditional and self-publishing since I began planning my WIP. I have made up my mind. I know it is the more expensive way to go and I am on a limited income, but I plan to self-publish. I want to be in control of my creations, not at the mercy of what someone else wants them to be. I guess I am too much of a control freak to want to relinquish all rights or to get swindled by a company that I would little chance of fighting in court. Right or wrong, it seems like the ones with the purse strings are always the winner. I heard a rumor, now I do not know the validity of this, but another author on Goodreads claimed that she sent in a manuscript to Harper/Collins and got back a rejection slip. Then a few months later, another author, published by Harper/Collins, wrote a book not only with her same ideas, but with the exact same title! True or not, that is pretty scary. If this is going on, no wonder the publishing arena is running scared and fear for their demise. That is quite desperate for a big publishing firm. I think I will just stick to self-publishing and I am considering setting up my own sole proprietorship publishing company. That way I truly have all rights to my work. I have been checking into that and may make it an upcoming post. Stay tuned! 🙂

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