Publishers Contracts


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In this presentation, Gavin D. J. Harper explains basic publishing contract terms for the benefit of would-be writers!

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Publishers Contracts

  1. 1. Gavin D. J. Harper
  2. 2. <ul><li>Manuscript Prep. & Delivery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provisional Title </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submission Date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many printed pages? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many words? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple Authors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Names of Authors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are rights apportioned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How is royalties apportioned </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Right Conveyed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who owns the copyright? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Derivative works rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Internet Media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>eBooks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Further Editions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Authors Warranty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The author states they have the ability to enter into this contract indemnifying the publisher against loss if material is supplied e.g./ that breaches copyright. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Competing Works Clause </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The author agrees not to print a competing publication with another publisher. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is usually a stipulation that …% of material can be reused in connection with author’s professional activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Right on next works clause </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The publisher will usually ask for first refusal on the author’s next work. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Royalties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>£/$/€……. Paid Before Publication on Receipt Of A Signed, Dated Contract </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>£/$/€……. Paid On Submission </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[Sometimes] £/$/€……. Paid On Publication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Royalty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Amount equal to the advance must accrue before royalties are paid. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Royalties paid on a stepped scale based on sales numbers. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May be different rates for hard / paperback </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Royalties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Royalty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stepped Scale for Domestic Sales e.g./ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10% on first 10,000 copies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>12.5% on the next 5,000 copies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>15% on all copies sold thereafter. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign Sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Usually a fixed % (low) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>fixed % for books sold direct to the reader e.g./ publishers website. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special sales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sales from promotions – fixed % </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Royalties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>eBooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>% for books distributed electronically. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Translation & Subsidiary Rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>% of the publishers receipts from licensing the work to others. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercise of other rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>% for other rights not covered above. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reserve Against Returns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>% Held back by publisher as a reserve against returned copies. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Author’s Copies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The publisher will agree to supply … copies of the book to the author free of charge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The author will have an option to buy further books at a heavily discounted price. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Revised Editions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The author will agree to make further revisions to the book as they become applicable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the author cannot make these revisions, the publisher will have them made by another author, in exchange for a fee or percentage of the royalty on revised editions. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Out Of Print </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Definitions vary as to what constitutes ‘Out Of Print’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once the publisher terminates publication of the book, rights revert wholly to the author [usually]. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>If this is your first book, the chances are… No. Publishers generally have standard rates for books which are generally inflexible. </li></ul><ul><li>If you already have a track record of successfully publishing books, have worked with the same publisher on numerous occassions, or have something ‘very special’ to offer, there may be room for negotiation. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Advance Too Low </li></ul><ul><li>Subsidiary Rights Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Royalties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Net & Gross Royalties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Royalties paid on ‘Net Reciepts’ tend to be about half the value of those paid on ‘Gross Receipts’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(The ‘Gross Price’ is the cover price of the book) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(The ‘Net Price’ is the cover price minus the publishers costs) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Who Owns The Copyright (Negotiate for author to own rather than the publisher. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>‘ Reserve against return’ Clauses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A publisher will hold a certain amount of royaties as a ‘reserve’ against books that are returned unsold by booksellers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the competitive world of bookselling, where publishers often have to offer concessions to booksellers in order to place books, deals are often arranged where seller offer to take a large amount of books on a ‘sale or return’ basis. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>‘ Late Penalty’ Clauses </li></ul><ul><li>No ‘Bankruptcy Clause’ (Especially important with smaller publishers. </li></ul><ul><li>Clauses that state author must repay advance if publisher cancels the book. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Non-competition’ clauses – publishers don’t want other books that will compete aganst those they have publisher, but at the same time, you need to write about what you know. </li></ul>