Red flag panel on contracts:


I don’t recall if these are notes from attending Wester con or from LTUE. Anyway, here is info about publishers and contracts.

  • Small press: You may not get an advance in small press, don’t get royalty until you earn out your print run.
  • Small press: want you to pay for your cover or pay for a copy editor. If they want money, they are a vanity press.
  • Put your book out in eBook only: If they are getting a cut then you should self-publish. EBooks never go out of print. Did they get rights to publish forever? Might provide marketing, if not, it may be worth it.
  • The publisher only use print on demand. A publisher takes a chunk and tangles you with marketing. Books have to stay in the store. Unsold books will go back to the publisher.
  • Books go out of finish or author not finish a series = Look at the pattern of such book treatment from the publisher.
  • Tell me about your social marketing platform: the publisher sees the importance to work with you on your platform as part of their marketing. You will want to check to see if they plan to help you on marketing or if they expect you to do it all. If your publisher does not give you a marketing plan. They want to see if you will be a positive light as part of their company.
  • Does your social presence match with your book? See if the marketing plan is part of the contract.
  • One thing that will sell your work will be your next book. If you spend all your time on marketing you have less time to write.
  • Does your contract have a marketing plan/ budget? A big publisher will not guarantee a lot of money. Divide up responsibly and have it in writing.
  • Have someone else look at the contract.
  • In a multi-book deal, a publisher wants you to only give them one book a yr. make sure have an advance, and if table does not get published the rights get returned. If in contact there is also exclusivity piece and can’t print anything else> is a red flag. You need to make sure it refers to ‘this series’ this character.
  • A contract has a noncompeting clause: shows they have an invested interest in our work. Look for anything to limit our ability to continue publishing. If they have the first right of approval, it must have a time clause in it.
  • The right of approval of future work can cause a problem of all future work. It can include anything in my medium. So red flag.
  • Your contract does not have a sunset clause. Means that rights never return back to the author. EBooks never got out of print.
  • A contract gives away the rights of script or audio to the publisher. The chances you might never have those chances but maybe if you wanted to? You can’t do anything to your material. Publishers could hoard branches of your world. There should be a clause for your audiobooks.
  • It is always in your best interest to pay an attorney up front to review a contract. Agents do not know legal terms but they have looked at a lot of contracts. Need an attorney who specializes in book deal attorney. Need to have experience with a literary agent. Maybe discuss with an agent if they have access to an attorney.
  • Have to sell 5 k books in the first week. Small presses like to throw around industry standard. Look at industry markets by their category as each has traits. Publishers will want you to take responsibility for their failures.
  • We have a price point> is the cost of a book. May need to be agreed on if they put it up too high.
  • You might want to hold back audiobooks rights by first seeing how they handle current tasks.
  • Publishers who are not willing to negotiate> is a red flag. Whenever negotiate your contract. You know they do not have your best interests in mind. If they don’t budge> red flag.
  • Small publisher taught an author the industry. The small press needs to make money so want you to succeed.

Do you have something to add? If you do, please respond in the comment section of this blog. Thanks.

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