SOME ADVICE ABOUT BOOK CONTRACTS
Barbara Florio Graham will review your publishing contract, commenting on the contract terms, flagging problems, suggesting modifications, and letting you know if there are any clauses that you should refer to a lawyer. Click HERE to find out more.
Note in contracts:
any reversionary interest
a termination clause
the accounting provision
If you don't understand what these terms mean, you need to consult a lawyer before you sign!
Some specific advice about book contracts from best-selling author, journalist, and photographer, Elle Andra-Warner.
DANGER CLAUSES AND DUBIOUS PRACTICES, from the Writers' Union of Canada.
Before sending a proposal to a publisher, you need to find out:
- what kind of books they publish (order a catalog and study it)
- if this publisher has already published a book
similar to the one you're proposing
(if so, you're wasting your time)
- if they accept submissions from authors, or only from agents
- if they have specific requirement for a proposal format
- how many sample chapters they want to receive in the package
You can obtain this information by going to each
publisher's website, as well as from newsletters for
authors, market books, writers' magazines,
e-mail list-serves, and writers' organizations. See the Resources list.
FOLLOW GUIDELINES AND FORMATS CAREFULLY. A book proposal is NOT the time to be creative!
BE METICULOUS ABOUT GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. A proposal with obvious errors is going to land in the trash as soon as the first mistake is spotted.
DO NOT PHONE to find out what happened to your proposal.
Publishers expect you to promote your book.
Saying you're "available for interviews" isn't sufficient. You need to:
- provide a media list for your local area
- provide contacts with groups you belong to
- provide a list of local bookstores
Tell your publisher's marketing department:
- your ideas for marketing the book
- who you think the target market is for your book
- what sets your book apart from books on similar topics
Helpful booklets from The Writers Union of Canada: www.writersunion.ca/
Anthology Rates and Contracts
Author and Literary Agent
New Technologies (which includes information on e-books and print-on-demand publishing)
The Writers' Guide to Canadian Publishers (publishers who currently accept unsolicited manuscripts)
Contracts Self-Help Package, which inlcudes a Model Trade Book Contract and Help Yourself to a Better Contract.
Writer Beware: Spotting the Publishing Scam, by copyright, media, publishing and entertainment lawyer, Ellen M. Kozak, from the Wisconsin Bar Association site. Kozak is the author of From Pen to Print: The Secrets of Getting Published Successfully (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1990) and Every Writer's Guide to Copyright and Publishing Law (3rd ed., Henry Holt & Co., 2004).
Some sites to check for publishing scams:
Preditors and Editors: http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubwarn.htm
Writers Beware: http://www.sfwa.org/beware/
WEBSITES FOR LEGAL HELP AND/OR SAMPLE CONTRACTS
http://www.nwu.org National Writers' Union - Writers' advocacy group
http://law-arts.org Lawyers for the Creative Arts
SEE PUBLISHING RESOURCES
IF YOU DECIDE TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK YOURSELF,
SEE THE SELF-PUBLISHING PAGES.
Please note that I am not a literary agent, and don't have personal contacts with agents to refer you to. I cannot read your manuscript or suggest a publisher, although I CAN mentor you through the proposal process, and help you decide whether to approach a major trade publisher, a mid-size publisher, self-publish, or publish with one of the POD (publishing on demand) companies. SEE PUBLISHING OPTIONS
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