Friday, January 15, 2016

Want to License Your Manuscript to a Publisher?

Are you writing a book, trying to get it traditional published?  Want to contract with a publishing house?  Read these articles first: 

Bestselling author Kristine Rusch wrote an eye-opening blog post.  Here are some snippets, however you should read the article in its entirety.

"These “standard” book contracts are horrible.  No writer should sign some of the clauses in these contracts, and no writer should ever consider licensing rights under many of these terms."
"I wrote an entire book three years ago about contract terms writers should avoid. Unfortunately, the book needs updating—not because the terms I mentioned are gone now, but because even WORSE ones have joined them."
"I believe writers should understand what they sign, and walk away from bad contracts. Simply knowing that publishers will negotiate many of these points will help writers in standing up for themselves—without agents, who make the problem worse, generally speaking."
(Agents, who are not lawyers, break the law when they practice law without a license.  In some states, that’s a misdemeanor. In others, it’s a felony. But I digress.)
"Writers can hire lawyers to negotiate for them, and believe me when I tell you that the lawyers will do a much better job for the writers who partner with them.  Why do I use the word “partner”? Because I’ve seen some writers completely misunderstand what the lawyers tell them, and make matters worse.  Writers need to understand that contracts are a unit, and changing one clause without changing another will sometimes not make a difference at all."
"Most important of all, writers must understand that they are not selling their books
to publishing companies. Writers are licensing pieces of the book’s copyright."
"If you do not understand that, then get a copy of Nolo Press’s The Copyright Handbook, and read the dang thing.  Then re-read it and reread it and buy the updated version when it comes out, and read that one.  When you work with a lawyer on contract negotiation, make sure you understand the advice you’re given, and make sure you agree with that advice before you take it."
"Conversely, make sure your lawyer understands what you want, so they’re not simply doing what they think is best."

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