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truantoranje
06-30-2013, 01:41 AM
Hi, all. I'm a new user with a very concerning issue. I recently received a contract for a YA novel from a publisher (to remain nameless for now).

One of the conditions in the contract states "In the event that material for which this contract is concerned should be reprinted in matching format (AS TRADE PAPERBACK OR HARDCOVER), for any reason, i.e.: mass market paperback rights, or for any overseas (read as foreign language editions) rights, etc., AUTHOR agrees to pay (PUBLISHER) 10% of all money contracted and agreed upon by AUTHOR with new publisher after agency commission."

Is this standard in the industry? It seems that after the initial period of exclusivity (in this case, 2 years from signing of contract) the rights should revert completely to me. Any insight would be wonderful.

Thanks.

Stacia Kane
06-30-2013, 04:18 AM
**IANAL**

No, that's not standard (afaik). I don't believe I've ever seen that.

It's confusingly worded, too, IMO. If the clause applies when/if the book is published "in matching format (as trade pb or hardcover)" why the mention of mmp rights? What rights are they contracting for--are they planning trade or hardcover editions? They mention reprint rights but then mention foreign rights; those aren't the same thing, so I'm not sure if they're talking specifically about reprint rights or if they're grouping them together.

There are situations with a publisher where they might get a portion of monies from foreign rights or subsidiary rights sales, but in my experience when that's the case they will contract all print rights worldwide, and those rights can then be sold on by them or by your agent in conjunction with them.

They don't get to make money off rights they didn't contract, not in that fashion. And when the contract expires--you mentioned a two-year term--they don't get to make money off sales with someone else.

Again, this may be wording used in some contracts, but not in any of mine or any I've seen.

Have you checked their Bewares thread, if they have one? I understand if you don't yet want to publicly name the publisher, but feel free to drop me a PM or reppie if you want more specific info. This just seems off to me. I'd love to know who the publisher is.


Oh, and welcome to AW! :)

Old Hack
06-30-2013, 11:25 AM
It seems off to me too. Be careful.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 02:26 AM
Truant, I believe there's something you haven't told us. Perhaps this clause is for a situation where you go to a DIFFERENT publisher apart from the one you're signing with...?

truantoranje
07-01-2013, 02:58 AM
Truant, I believe there's something you haven't told us. Perhaps this clause is for a situation where you go to a DIFFERENT publisher apart from the one you're signing with...?

Yes, that's what they're saying - if, after our contract expires (two years, with option to renew), I am expected to pay THIS publisher 10% of anything I make if ANOTHER publisher picks up the title.

It just seems weird that I would have to pay the original publisher monies earned by my book should another publisher (say a mass market paperback publisher) wish to print it.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 03:31 AM
That info would have been good to know up front, Truant. It makes all the difference, for the answers we might give.

The next question I would ask, then, is, does this current pub offer those other versions?

Everything in a publishing contract can be negotiated, if you know how. Even better, if you have an agent who already knows the people.

truantoranje
07-01-2013, 03:55 AM
Sorry, I thought the contract condition I quoted was clear on that up front.

The current pub offers ebook, hardcover, and trade editions. No mass market paperbacks. So, for example, if someone like Pocket Books wanted to pick up the title after the two year contract expires, I would owe the current pub 10% of everything earned from Pocket.

I do not currently have an agent (which is why I was hoping one could clarify for me here), but neither am I new to the publishing world. I have signed contracts for two books already, but this is the first with this particular publisher.

I should also note, this is a YA/MG imprint of a VERY highly-respected publisher in the horror genre so it seemed like the clause might be legit. I just don't want to get ripped off.

Stacia Kane
07-01-2013, 04:21 AM
Sorry, I thought the contract condition I quoted was clear on that up front.

The current pub offers ebook, hardcover, and trade editions. No mass market paperbacks. So, for example, if someone like Pocket Books wanted to pick up the title after the two year contract expires, I would owe the current pub 10% of everything earned from Pocket.

I do not currently have an agent (which is why I was hoping one could clarify for me here), but neither am I new to the publishing world. I have signed contracts for two books already, but this is the first with this particular publisher.

I should also note, this is a YA/MG imprint of a VERY highly-respected publisher in the horror genre so it seemed like the clause might be legit. I just don't want to get ripped off.


It was clear to me, truantoranje. :)

Have you asked the publisher about this--are they willing to negotiate? Do you know any of their other authors that you could ask about this?

I haven't heard of this publisher, to be honest, and am not familiar with them, but I have to say I wouldn't agree to such a clause. Like I said, they don't get to collect money for a book whose rights they no longer have under contract. If they want to keep earning from it, they can keep it in print; if they let it go, they let it go. This isn't like an agency where even if you terminate the relationship they still earn royalties on the work they sold; future sales of a book with a different publisher have nothing to do with the original publisher whose rights terminated.

I admit I'm a little worried about what else might be lurking in that contract; I suggest you send a copy to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware for her comments. She may have more info on the publisher, too.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. :)

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 04:23 AM
Truant, if you were that publisher, would you want to compete with another publisher after you've already spent months and thousands of dollars on editing and design? Not me. Knowing nothing more than you've already told us, I think you might already have a pretty good deal. This clause that you're complaining about, might be the one thing that makes the deal worthwhile for the publisher.

Plus, think about it, do you really want to start out on a new round of submissions on a book that you've already sold? Seems like a waste of your time. Mass paper is a silly thing to fight over.

Unlike some, I don't see a bogeyman behind every deal that doesn't give away the store to the author. I see an offer that you are free to accept or reject. Make a decision, and move forward accordingly. From this point on, the single biggest factor in the success of your book will be you.

Medievalist
07-01-2013, 04:26 AM
I admit I'm a little worried about what else might be lurking in that contract; I suggest you send a copy to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware for her comments. She may have more info on the publisher, too.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. :)

Yeah, this is good advice.

jvc
07-01-2013, 04:30 AM
Sorry, I thought the contract condition I quoted was clear on that up front.



It was clear to me, truantoranje. :)
I just wanted to say that it was clear to me as well.

Plus, everything else Stacia said. :)

Have you asked the publisher about this--are they willing to negotiate? Do you know any of their other authors that you could ask about this?

I haven't heard of this publisher, to be honest, and am not familiar with them, but I have to say I wouldn't agree to such a clause. Like I said, they don't get to collect money for a book whose rights they no longer have under contract. If they want to keep earning from it, they can keep it in print; if they let it go, they let it go. This isn't like an agency where even if you terminate the relationship they still earn royalties on the work they sold; future sales of a book with a different publisher have nothing to do with the original publisher whose rights terminated.

I admit I'm a little worried about what else might be lurking in that contract; I suggest you send a copy to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware for her comments. She may have more info on the publisher, too.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. :)

Stacia Kane
07-01-2013, 04:42 AM
Truant, if you were that publisher, would you want to compete with another publisher after you've already spent months and thousands of dollars on editing and design?


Forgive me, but are you still failing to understand the clause Truantoranje quoted?

There is no "competition." The publisher is asking to be paid 10% of royalties for a book they no longer publish. If they no longer publish it, they are not "competing" with the house currently publishing it.

Even if they ARE still publishing it (as in they're publishing it in NA English), the sales of a UK version, or an audio version, or a German language edition, do not COMPETE with them. THEY have the exclusive right to publish it in X edition in X territory. Readers in X territory who want the book in X edition have only one place to buy it from: this house, which has the EXCLUSIVE rights for that language and territory and edition under contract.

How are they "competing" with those other territories or editions, when by the very nature of publishing contracts and copyrights the fact that they publish the book in X edition and territory means the other house can't do the same, and the fact that the other house publishes it in Y edition and territory means the original house cannot do the same?

Exclusive rights are called "exclusive" because, well, they're exclusive. You can't sell exclusive first NA rights to two different publishers. It can't happen. Once the book is published first rights are gone; if the book goes out of print and is sold again later, it's second or reprint rights that are being sold.


And if it's non-exclusive rights they're contracting, well, then they know they're giving the author the chance to sell elsewhere concurrently (which could be a "competing" edition, yes) and they're okay with that. If they're not they shouldn't contract non-exclusive rights.



Not me. Knowing nothing more than you've already told us, I think you might already have a pretty good deal. This clause that you're complaining about, might be the one thing that makes the deal worthwhile for the publisher.

I think this is FAR from a "pretty good deal," and while I really don't want to be rude, I find your apparent lack of understanding to be quite distressing, your knowledge of publishing and contracts to be dubious, and your advice in this and other matters highly questionable.

What should make the deal worthwhile for the publisher is that they expect to sell enough books that are under contract to them to make a profit. They shouldn't need to take 10% of the author's future earnings just because they happened to publish it first. They're not entitled to some sort of publishing alimony, which is basically what this amounts to: "We don't want to publish your book anymore, but if somebody else does you have to give us some of YOUR royalties from that." No way.



Plus, think about it, do you really want to start out on a new round of submissions on a book that you've already sold? Seems like a waste of your time.


Are you seriously suggesting Truantoranje take a lousy deal because it would be too much effort to find a better one? Seriously?




From this point on, the single biggest factor in the success of your book will be you.

Nonsense. Truantoranje could do everything in the world right, but if the publisher offers poor editing, poor design, no distribution, poor pricing, or any number of other ways publishers can fail authors, none of that will do any good.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 04:48 AM
Stacia, that's not the way Truant described the deal. He said that the 10% tax kicks in from inception.

This is a deal that Truant is free to accept or reject. Doesn't make it a scam. If he has killer credentials (platform, sales history) that should command a better deal, he hasn't claimed such.

As for editing, design, etc., I didn't know we were talking about that. That's a whole different can o'worms.

Medievalist
07-01-2013, 04:58 AM
One of the conditions in the contract states "In the event that material for which this contract is concerned should be reprinted in matching format (AS TRADE PAPERBACK OR HARDCOVER), for any reason, i.e.: mass market paperback rights, or for any overseas (read as foreign language editions) rights, etc., AUTHOR agrees to pay (PUBLISHER) 10% of all money contracted and agreed upon by AUTHOR with new publisher after agency commission."

Is this standard in the industry? It seems that after the initial period of exclusivity (in this case, 2 years from signing of contract) the rights should revert completely to me. Any insight would be wonderful.

Thanks.


Yes, that's what they're saying - if, after our contract expires (two years, with option to renew), I am expected to pay THIS publisher 10% of anything I make if ANOTHER publisher picks up the title. .

I've highlighted the tricky bits for you Mr. Hutson.

The publisher has a two-year term limit. At the end of that term, the publisher is asking for 10% of all monies on subsequent reprints to "matching format" units (including foreign/translation) from sales made by a different publisher.

This is not standard. It is in fact odd.

Stacia Kane
07-01-2013, 04:59 AM
Since you've edited:




Plus, think about it, do you really want to start out on a new round of submissions on a book that you've already sold? Seems like a waste of your time. Mass paper is a silly thing to fight over.


Again, I am having an incredibly hard time getting my head around the idea that someone who fancies himself a literary agent would advise an author to just take a bad deal because hey, they want the book, so why bother looking for a better one? Just take any old contract thrust at you!

Not only are various publishing formats NOT silly things to "fight over"--they are in fact the lifesblood of publishing--this isn't about a particular format. This is about a publisher who thinks the author should be financially beholden to them indefinitely, even after their publishing rights expire, just because...well, because they want more money, but they don't want to earn it themselves by continuing to publish the book in question.




Unlike some, I don't see a bogeyman behind every deal that doesn't give away the store to the author.

The fact that you describe this clause in this fashion makes me shudder. An agent's job is to get good deals for authors, not behave as if authors are being precious when they don't want to sign away 10% of a book's earnings for life to a publisher only willing to publish said book for two years. I don't even have to show this clause to my own agent to know exactly what he would think of it, and no way in Hell would he let me sign it.

I don't appreciate the dig at me, either, the snide little implication that I'm some sort of Chicken Little because I wouldn't agree to give a publisher 10% of my royalties for a book they no longer want to publish. How would that even work--are they going to make you provide royalty statements to prove the earnings? Do you write them a personal check?




I see an offer that you are free to accept or reject. Make a decision, and move forward accordingly. From this point on, the single biggest factor in the success of your book will be you.

1. I see no indication that Truantoranje doesn't feel free to accept or reject. S/he asked for advice and/or opinions from people with a bit more experience or who might have seen such a clause, that's all. No reason to be insulting to her/him as well as to me.

2. A good agent does not treat publishing contracts like a "Act Fast! Offer Expires in 24 hours!" informercial deal.

3. See my previous post. Beyond things like the actual writing and story, the single biggest factor in the success of a book is the publisher.

Stacia Kane
07-01-2013, 05:12 AM
Stacia, that's not the way Truant described the deal. He said that the 10% tax kicks in from inception.

Medievalist has already quoted the relevant parts there.



This is a deal that Truant is free to accept or reject. Doesn't make it a scam. If he has killer credentials (platform, sales history) that should command a better deal, he hasn't claimed such.

No one said it was a scam. We said it was a dubious clause that should be negotiated. And writers shouldn't need a platform or sales history in order to be offered fair contracts. Your argument sounds to me, again, like "Well, you're new, so this is all you deserve." Leaving aside the fact that Truantoranje has stated s/he has other credentials, that's still not a comment I expect to hear from an agent.




As for editing, design, etc., I didn't know we were talking about that. That's a whole different can o'worms.

You said "the single biggest factor in the success of your book is you." I said that's not correct because there are a lot of variables which are the publisher's responsibility, and which have a greater effect on the success of the book.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 05:28 AM
You said "the single biggest factor in the success of your book is you." I said that's not correct because there are a lot of variables which are the publisher's responsibility, and which have a greater effect on the success of the book.

In any book deal, the publisher only has as much authority as the author voluntarily cedes to them. It might be a tough negotiation and more concessions than you want to give, but it only happens when you sign on the line.

The author writes the book. The author chooses the deal. With most pubs, they give the author input in the cover and layout. The author has final approval on the galley. (Generally; if not, you can vote with your feet.) The author will have primary responsibility for marketing.

Indeed, the author is the most important variable in the success of a book.

Ari Meermans
07-01-2013, 05:29 AM
truantoranje, Stacia's advice quoted below is good, solid advice. If you're concerned about sending Victoria Strauss the contract cold, PM her first here. Victoria is one of our Absolute Sages, and if there's an iffy contract clause out there, she's probably already seen it and can advise you. Also, as Stacia indicates, Victoria may have more information on the publisher that could help to guide you in your decision making.

Adding my best wishes for good luck and much success.

Ari



I admit I'm a little worried about what else might be lurking in that contract; I suggest you send a copy to Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware for her comments. She may have more info on the publisher, too.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. :)

FluffBunny
07-01-2013, 06:02 AM
This thread is reminding me of two excellent pieces of advice from our very own Mr. James Macdonald:

1. It's better to be unpublished than to be published badly.
2. A book publishable by one is publishable by many.

Trust your gut, listen to Stacia, Old Hack, JVC, Medievalist, and Ari and contact Victoria Strauss.

James D. Macdonald
07-01-2013, 08:27 AM
With most pubs, they give the author input in the cover and layout.

Really?


The author will have primary responsibility for marketing.No. Absolutely not.


Indeed, the author is the most important variable in the success of a book.The author is the most important variable to this extent: 1) The authors write the best books they can, and 2) The authors sign with the best publishers they can.

Everything beyond that is out of the authors' control.


Hi, all. I'm a new user with a very concerning issue. I recently received a contract for a YA novel from a publisher (to remain nameless for now).


I'd really like to see their reversion clause, their option clause, and exactly which rights they're buying.

Old Hack
07-01-2013, 12:38 PM
Mr Hutson, I am flabbergasted by the comments you've made in this thread. The advice you've given is extremely bad, and just like you did in the thread about the agency you run (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242152) I notice that you're not keeping the conversation straight.


Stacia, that's not the way Truant described the deal. He said that the 10% tax kicks in from inception.

It's not a tax, it's a royalty.


As for editing, design, etc., I didn't know we were talking about that. That's a whole different can o'worms.You're the one who brought up the subject of editing and design in your earlier comment. Let me quote that for you:


Truant, if you were that publisher, would you want to compete with another publisher after you've already spent months and thousands of dollars on editing and design? Not me.

Your bold, my underline.


Knowing nothing more than you've already told us, I think you might already have a pretty good deal. This clause that you're complaining about, might be the one thing that makes the deal worthwhile for the publisher.It's possible that you know nothing more than Truant told us, that's for sure. For example, you don't seem to know a non-standard contract clause when you're shown one, or the difference between royalties and taxes, or the pertinent points about copyright with regard to editing, nor do you seem aware of how publishers generally make their money (I'll give you a hint on that one: it's not usually by charging royalties on books sold by other publishers).


Plus, think about it, do you really want to start out on a new round of submissions on a book that you've already sold? Seems like a waste of your time. Mass paper is a silly thing to fight over.So silly, in fact, that several of my friends make a significant proportion of their significant earnings from their sales in this format.


Unlike some, I don't see a bogeyman behind every deal that doesn't give away the store to the author. I agree that there aren't always problems with contracts. However, there are some contract clauses which are unacceptable. I consider the clause which Truant has described to be unacceptable. But then, what do I know about publishing? Ha!

Also, we could do without digs like this, thanks. Go and read the Newbie Guide. Reacquaint yourself with our One Rule. And yes, that is an official moderator request.


I see an offer that you are free to accept or reject. Make a decision, and move forward accordingly. I agree that writers are free to accept or reject contracts they're offered.

They are also entitled to find out more about questionable clauses within those contracts, which is what Truant is doing here.


From this point on, the single biggest factor in the success of your book will be you.Nope.

It doesn't matter how hard writers work on their books: if their publisher is inept, the book will fail.


The author writes the book. The author chooses the deal. With most pubs, they give the author input in the cover and layout.

No, they don't.


The author has final approval on the galley. (Generally; if not, you can vote with your feet.) No, they don't. At least, not in the way you're implying. And if an author didn't like the design of her book and walked away because of it, that author is likely to incur a huge bill from their publisher and a justified demand for the return of their advance. It would be bad enough if they did this early on in the production process but at galley stage? A nightmare for all concerned.


The author will have primary responsibility for marketing.

Indeed, the author is the most important variable in the success of a book.Nonsense.

Steven, if you really are an agent, I despair for your clients.

mccardey
07-01-2013, 12:43 PM
The author will have primary responsibility for marketing..

Ummm - no.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 08:29 PM
1- For example, you don't seem to know a non-standard contract clause when you're shown on

2-the difference between royalties and taxes,

3- However, there are some contract clauses which are unacceptable.

4- if their publisher is inept, the book will fail.

5- And if an author didn't like the design of her book and walked away because of it, that author is likely to incur a huge bill



1- There are lots of un-standard clauses out there. The part I addressed, was if it should be a dealbreaker.

2- That was a joke.

3- I agree. And I question them all the time.

4- I agree. And the author is responsible for making that choice.

5- Which is a good argument for maintaining a good working relationship with your editor.


I can't account for your experiences. But I don't have that kind of adversarial relationship with the editors I work with. A successful book project is a collaboration between author and editor, and (sometimes) agent. Which means that no one gets their way all the time. But we respect each other and recognize that we need each other to succeed, more than we need to win every argument.

MandyHubbard
07-01-2013, 09:05 PM
Is this standard in the industry? It seems that after the initial period of exclusivity (in this case, 2 years from signing of contract) the rights should revert completely to me. Any insight would be wonderful.

Thanks.

THIS. If the book is out of print (and you should have reversion/out of print clauses-- that said i'd be surprsied if it was only 2 years. Most specify that it's based on the point at which sales drop below a certain amount per royalty period or per year), the rights should completely revert to you.

It's normal to have a split for subsidiary sales in which a publisher themselves negotiates the sale of rights (audio, foreign, a mass market/book club edition/etc), and I could see them spelling out a 90/10 split then.

But to ask for 10% for sales YOU make after the rights revert? NO. Ask them to strike that clause entirely.

Stacia Kane
07-01-2013, 09:44 PM
5- Which is a good argument for maintaining a good working relationship with your editor.


I can't account for your experiences. But I don't have that kind of adversarial relationship with the editors I work with. A successful book project is a collaboration between author and editor, and (sometimes) agent. Which means that no one gets their way all the time. But we respect each other and recognize that we need each other to succeed, more than we need to win every argument.


A good working relationship with one's editor does not preclude or change one's contractual obligations.

Old Hack
07-02-2013, 01:01 AM
I can't account for your experiences. But I don't have that kind of adversarial relationship with the editors I work with. A successful book project is a collaboration between author and editor, and (sometimes) agent. Which means that no one gets their way all the time. But we respect each other and recognize that we need each other to succeed, more than we need to win every argument.

Where did I suggest that I had any sort of adversarial relationship with the editors I've worked with? Or with the agents and agencies I've worked with, or with the writers I've worked with? You're putting words into my mouth, Steven, and I don't appreciate it.


A good working relationship with one's editor does not preclude or change one's contractual obligations.

Agreed.

victoriastrauss
07-02-2013, 01:37 AM
The OP contacted me--I gave him the same advice Stacia, Mandy, Old Hack, etc. have done, and invited him to send me the contract.

I also suggested whose advice in this thread he should ignore.

One thing I think is important, when you encounter bad contract language, is to consider not just the language, but what it says about the publisher. What kind of publisher would consider itself entitled to claim 10% of an author's future earnings, just because it once published their book? What kind of publishing experience might you have with a publisher with that kind of attitude toward writers?

- Victoria

Steven Hutson
07-02-2013, 07:46 PM
Where did I suggest that I had any sort of adversarial relationship with the editors I've worked with?

Nowhere that I know of. Yet it's a very common affliction among frustrated writers.

Old Hack
07-02-2013, 08:22 PM
Nowhere that I know of. Yet it's a very common affliction among frustrated writers.

Are you now suggesting I'm a frustrated writer?

That's sweet.

Terie
07-02-2013, 08:25 PM
Where did I suggest that I had any sort of adversarial relationship with the editors I've worked with?Nowhere that I know of.

Funny enough, you said it right here, in a reply to Old Hack:


I can't account for your experiences. But I don't have that kind of adversarial relationship with the editors I work with.

Medievalist
07-02-2013, 08:37 PM
Nowhere that I know of. Yet it's a very common affliction among frustrated writers.

You're lecturing people who are editors, publishers, agents, and quite a lot of people who have more publishing credits than you have clients—or even more books that all of those clients' books and your books.

A good agent needs to know the industry. A good agent needs to understand the nuances of written communication. A good agent needs to know who's who.

You're not looking so good.

Jamesaritchie
07-02-2013, 09:04 PM
It used to be, and still happens with some publishers, that if one publisher puts the book out in hardcover, and a second publisher then buys paperback rights, the hardcover publisher takes a cut. Half the $400,000 Stephen King received for the paperback rights of Carrie went to Doubleday. I had this same thing happen with some of my early novels.

But I've never heard of money being paid for matching format, and I can't see any decent agent allow it in a contract. I wouldn't allow it, even if my agent wanted to. Right now, I have an IP attorney, rather than an agent, but I know for a fact that he says it's a no-no because I asked him.

I don't think "adversarial" is the right word to use, but the goal of whoever issues contracts at a publisher is to make as much money as possible for the publisher. The goal of an agent is to make as much money as possible for the writer, and, by extension, for herself.

And this much I know, when my books go out of print, they're my books, I regain all rights, and always have. No one gets a dime from them, unless I place them with another publisher, and then only that publisher gets a cut. Any contract that says otherwise is one I wouldn't begin to sign.

truantoranje
07-03-2013, 02:29 AM
Thanks for your input, all involved. Much appreciated.

Incidentally, I contacted the publisher asking them to please clarify why, exactly, they felt entitled to the percentage of future earnings should the work be picked up elsewhere. It has been over 24 hours and no response yet. Usually they are very prompt to answer my questions.

I imagine they're spending the time trying to concoct some justification. Needless to say, unless this condition is stricken (and much of the remaining language of a very shaky contract altered), I'll be moving the manuscript on to greener pastures.

Again, thanks to those who gave sound advice. :)

Old Hack
07-03-2013, 10:35 AM
Thanks for your input, all involved. Much appreciated.

Incidentally, I contacted the publisher asking them to please clarify why, exactly, they felt entitled to the percentage of future earnings should the work be picked up elsewhere. It has been over 24 hours and no response yet. Usually they are very prompt to answer my questions.

I imagine they're spending the time trying to concoct some justification. Needless to say, unless this condition is stricken (and much of the remaining language of a very shaky contract altered), I'll be moving the manuscript on to greener pastures.

Again, thanks to those who gave sound advice. :)

You're welcome to the advice, Truant: but in your position I wouldn't sign with this publisher even if they did delete the clause in question.

The fact that they included it in their contract indicates things I wouldn't be happy with. You have caught this one, but you might have missed other problematic clauses; and if their contract is non-standard and potentially exploitative, you can't guarantee that they'll publish you in a reasonable or professional way.

bearilou
07-03-2013, 03:00 PM
This clause that you're complaining about, might be the one thing that makes the deal worthwhile for the publisher.

I would hope that my agent would be looking for a deal worthwhile for me, the writer.

truantoranje
07-03-2013, 08:43 PM
The pub responded to my concern by stating the 10% in question would only be due them should I sell rights (say, for mass market paperback format) to another publisher *during the contracted period* - anything sold after the contracted period would not qualify. That makes more sense, although there are still issues with the contract overall (thanks again to Victoria Strauss for combing through it and offering sound advice).

Baby Jane
07-05-2013, 06:48 AM
I know I'm a little late to the party but I thought it was worth noting that just because a publisher is an imprint of a well-respected publishing house doesn't always mean they are above sneaking in nasties into the contract.

I'm sure everyone remembers the Hydra contract issues from earlier this year.

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/03/06/note-to-sff-writers-random-houses-hydra-imprint-has-appallingly-bad-contract-terms/

Anyhow, good luck and congratulations Truantoranje, it sounds like you have a good grasp on the situation.

J.Reid
07-06-2013, 07:09 AM
A publisher is not entitled to a split of sub-rights sales if the contract is no longer in force. If the contract expires after two years, and all rights revert to the author, the publisher does NOT have a right to claim any portion of subsequent proceeds. This is pretty basic contract law (contract law varies by state, of course)

The publisher can ask for pink unicorns and frilly heart manuscript pages in the contract but that doesn't mean you have to agree to it.

Ask to have this clause struck in its entirety.

I concur with the folks who've advised you to show this to Victoria Strauss.