Bane - publisher
Agent - They know contracts so that you don't have to. Like a real estate agent.
Things to watch for
The Rights of Termination - How to terminate the contract if you are not satisfied or how to get your rights back. Also called sunset clause. A lot of it has to do with expectations.
Delivering Acceptance - when you and they have to deliver. When do you get the $$. A reasonable amount of time to finish it. 3 books in 6 months. Date of delivery, length of editorial process, length of time you have to work on the book. When you get the $$ how much and when. The book needs to be published in a reasonable amount of time.
Options and Non-compete - Further relationship outside of the book. Movie, audio, foreign rights. World English or just american. READ THIS SECTION.
Out of print used to be simple. With ebooks and print on demand make things different. Need a clear definition of out of print - Online edition with income less than a certain amount and not a print on demand.
Agents are great for negotiating and so you don't sell yourself short.
Boilerplate - A standard contract between an agent and a publisher.
Right of first refusal - You have to take it to the publisher first. Some can get very demanding. Make sure you are okay with this. Look at the offer and say no thanks. Make sure there are dates attached to this. Make this specific.
Must have an agent for HOLLYWOOD! Must have a reversion clause.
350k and if you needed the money maybe do it.
Often can't write in the same world with a different publisher.
Match or better an offer from another publisher.
Make sure all the terms are clearly defined.
Things might mean a different thing to an agent or a lawyer. Things are interpreted according to industry standard not what you think they might be.
Same worls is the most extensive non compete you should be willing to agree too. Also have a time limit attached. Same genre, next book, etc. Say no.
Cost of an Agent - 15% Domestic 20% Foreign (this is split with foreign agent).
Literary and Hollywood agent can split the 15%.
Take yourself seriously. Take long term plans into consideration. Don't give everything that you are planning to write for the next dacade to the same publisher.
Ask for permssion to self-publish. Can be time based.
Work for Hire
Who owns copyright. If you are writing for another universe. Like Star Wars or Assassins Creed. Cover art is copyrighted by the publisher. Don't sign over copyright. Only license for printing. Except in work for hire.
Audiobook rights are often included in the original contract. If they don't produce one within a time frame rights revert.
Two deals on the table but the rights might make the difference. Foreign rights especially.
If you're going to substantially modify the contract sign with both parties. For minor stuff get it in email.
Sffwa Look up short fiction contracts.
Rob Skidmore writes science fiction stories about being human. Raised in rural Western New York, he now lives with his beautiful wife in Utah. They have four kids whose initials spell HOME. By day he's a software engineer. By night he's exhausted. Every door in their basement is painted with a Disney-themed mural. His claim to fame is that he was an All-American and the 2004 New York state champion in the 400m hurdles in high school.More about Rob