On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Contracts

I just received my Berkley contract from my agent and I wanted to say a couple of things.

First, if you have an agent, your contracts will go to them and then to you. Your agent should check the appropriate paragraphs -- rights, payment, amounts.

YOU SHOULD READ IT TOO. DO NOT DEPEND SOLELY ON YOUR AGENT.

I am a paralegal in my day job and I'm going to do a line-by-line comparison with my old contract. Mistakes get made. Things change for the better (bigger authors get changes that go into the boilerplate and filter down to us).

I know I won't understand every word or concept. But I WILL read it and make sure something that I'm not expecting is not in it. If I have questions, I'll ask my agent. I've done this before. When I was on my own and my 2nd book contract was supposed to be the same as my first book and wasn't, I called my editor and the contract department and got it changed (and waited for the new copy).

Over the last year Berkley has gone to a 3 payment arrangement instead of 2. Upon signing the contract, upon acceptance of the manuscript, AND UPON PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK. This is non-negotiable for writers like me. Take it or leave it.

So I'll expect to see that in the contract, and the fact that my agent negotiated payment upon shipping the book, not the street date.

You are the one signing the contract. Know what it says.

May legal matters be far from your mind (unless you're writing something of that sort) today...
Robin

2 Comments:

Blogger Heather Waters said...

Hi Robin,
Question here. The Upon Publication part is in my Berkley contract too, and I'm curious to know exactly what that means. Does it mean as soon as it's published or a few months later?

11:09 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

I think it means the street date, the date the book is released.

Robin

12:09 PM  

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