View Full Version : Reputable agent; questionable contract

01-05-2012, 03:39 AM
Hi, I am in discussions with a very reputable agency who represents many best-selling authors. However I am concerned about the author-agent agreement they sent me, which seems poorly worded and leaves out many provisions I assumed would be included.

Drachen Jager
01-05-2012, 04:39 AM
Check the agent on pred-ed. Contact Victoria Strauss if you're concerned (she runs the blog Writer Beware!) she's a regular around here and very approachable.

If there are no red flags on either source and the BR&B thread is clear you're probably fine going with that agent. You're right though, #10 does seem problematic, but #7 seems to completely contradict it. My contract is a flat 30 days after receipt of termination notice via registered mail with the same caveat as yours.

On the whole I'd say it doesn't look very well put-together, but the terms appear to be pretty standard. If there are no red flags, and you like the agent, go for it.

One thing that appears to be missing, which probably doesn't matter much, is that I have a veto in my contract. If my agent arranges a deal I don't like I'm not obliged to take it.

01-05-2012, 04:42 AM
7. This agreement may be terminated by either of us upon 30 days written notice.

10. The contract becomes valid once signed by both parties and is valid for three years from the date of signing. After three years from the signature of this contract, the contract can be terminated after 30 days notice

You're right, that's confusing. You should have the right to terminate at any time, whether the three years are up or not.

01-05-2012, 04:57 AM
Keep in mind, too, that any contract is negotiable. You can ask the agency to clarify their policy and, if necessary, to amend provisions you disagree with. The major problem I see here is confusing legalese. Basically, they've written themselves into a circle. So after checking them out here, on P&E and any other reputable watchdog site, I'd contact the offering agent and ask--nicely--for clarification on their policy and/or a more clearly written contract. Any reputable agent is going to be more than happy to go over the contract with you and to make changes like the ones you'd want.

01-05-2012, 05:06 AM
I don't like the wording in clause #1 as it seems that they are telling the author that he/she is granting them all rights to do with as they please.

Shouldn't the paragraph read that the author is granting them the rights to represent the BOOK in all forms and rights as necessary to sell on behalf of the author?

The rest sound pretty standard except for the conflicting language of items #7 and 10. #10 seems to negate #7.

01-05-2012, 05:19 AM
Find a lawyer you know and trust if you'd like, or someone who would understand the legalese, at the very least. Get them to take a look at the contract and have them explain what they mean, and why they word it that way. Better safe than sorry.

01-06-2012, 09:19 PM
I'll be glad to take a look at the contract and provide (non-legal) feedback--just email me at beware [at] sfwa.org. All information shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

- Victoria