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View Full Version : author/agent agreement: is this a standard clause?



WonderCat
04-30-2014, 09:00 PM
Hi all,
So the agent who recently offered on my latest project sent me a sample contract to review, and it all looks pretty standard (I have worked with an agent before, and it looks more-or-less like my last contract.)

The only thing that concerned me a bit was the section that states that if the author/publisher contract is terminated prematurely (for example, because the work is deemed unacceptable, etc.), the agent is still due her commission.

This seems to be a pretty unlikely occurrence, but it did strike me that this might pose a problem should I croak while I have a book under contract. It's my understanding that, if this were to occur, my heirs would have to return my advance to the publisher. Does this indicate that they would then have to pay the agent's commission out-of-pocket?

My last contract said nothing about this, so I'm not sure if this is standard.

Corinne Duyvis
05-01-2014, 05:37 PM
A friend of mine has actually been in this position--her publisher canceled her book and she had to pay back the advance. Which, yes, included the agent's commission out of pocket.

So I don't know if it's standard, but it does happen, unfortunately.

WeaselFire
05-01-2014, 09:07 PM
My last contract said nothing about this, so I'm not sure if this is standard.
I don't know any agent that doesn't have this (or similar) in their contract. Would you do a job that, through no fault of your own, you might not get paid for?

On the author's side, there is also usually a clause in the publishing contract that pays the author, even if just the advance, in the event that the publisher does not publish, through no fault of the author. Ages ago I got to keep my $80 advance when the publisher went under after a fire. (Okay, MANY ages ago...)

FWIW, I also got to publish the work elsewhere without penalty, it met the "no longer in print" clause.

Jeff

WonderCat
05-01-2014, 10:19 PM
On the author's side, there is also usually a clause in the publishing contract that pays the author, even if just the advance, in the event that the publisher does not publish, through no fault of the author.

Thanks, this is useful. I recognize that the clause is there for the protection of the agent should I flake out and fail to perform; my concern is what happens if something goes wrong that is out of my control. It sounds like I'd be pretty well protected in case the publisher decides to cancel because of business issues on their end, which is a comfort.

J.Reid
05-05-2014, 04:26 PM
Hi all,


The only thing that concerned me a bit was the section that states that if the author/publisher contract is terminated prematurely (for example, because the work is deemed unacceptable, etc.), the agent is still due her commission.

.


Yes, this is standard.