Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Contracts

The topic today, boys and girls is contracts and how they're written. I think we've all gotten contracts that aren't geared in the author's favor. Have you ever gotten one that you just couldn't bring yourself to sign? I was offered a contract by a  solid small press with a great reputation. I would have loved to have signed with them. I felt and still feel, it would have been a good fit.The editor would have been wonderful to work with and was very enthusiastic about the manuscript. But I couldn't get past their breach of contract clause. It was salty. The head of the agency I'm with summed it up in one word: draconian.Being the smart blogsters you are, you probably already know this word means cruel. I blush to admit I had to look it up. But now that I'm aware of it I plan to use it on a regular basis. grin. It's a great word. Anyhoo, back on topic--It was geared to protect them against authors taking the edits then self-publishing but it was ambiguously written and didn't spell that out. I honestly don't think it would have been an issue on my end or the publishers, but if it ever was, it would have cleaned out my piggy bank. So even though it was a publisher I would have liked to have aligned with I walked away. Also, I felt there was a moral dilemma. What if all the presses start adding that type of clause, where does that leave us as authors? Last but not least I prefer the carrot to the stick. What's your thoughts? Have you encountered this? What  did you decide to do? Sign or walk away? 

11 comments:

  1. sneaky little villains those publishers often are....

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  2. That's how they make their dough, stick in a clause then twist the words and take all your money.

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  3. It is unfortunate that yo couldn't have negotiated to a place where the publisher said precisely what they MEANT. "You can't take advantage of the edits we provide and then back out to self publish." There. Very clear. I can see a publisher not wanting to pay their editors to make an authors work better just so that they yank their book and self publish. So why not just say precisely what you mean????

    I haven't experienced this... but if your agent thought it was draconian (and a bad deal), I would bet that it was AND you did the right thing walking away.

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  4. I refused to sign a movie contract once. It was basically: sign this and we'll get you into trouble.

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  5. Hi Dez dear, Sneaky villians...I like that.

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  6. I imagine they are already adding those clauses...

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  7. Hey Pat, contracts make me nervous.

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  8. I agree, Robin. It did all come down to wording.

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  9. Hey Vanessa, that's huge. My agent walked away from one too. I'd love the opportunity to. grin.

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  10. Hey Ms. Julia, something to be said for self publishing, hey.

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  11. I'm noticing and hearing about a lot of different and restraining clauses being added into contracts since the arrival of self-publishing.

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