Publishing Contracts: Key Provisions - Creative Law Center

Publishing Contracts: Key Provisions

Publishing Contracts: Key Provisions to Know and Negotiate [Live Workshop]

As the publishing world becomes increasingly consolidated, the power dynamics in contract negotiations have shifted significantly in favor of a few large publishers. This consolidation affects everything from royalty rates to rights retention, making it more challenging for individual authors to negotiate favorable terms.

At the same time, these traditional giants face growing competition from self-publishing, small publishing houses, and digital platforms, creating a unique dynamic where authors must navigate complex negotiations against both entrenched and emerging forces.

Whether you are preparing to publish your first book or are an experienced writer, understanding these dynamics is crucial.

This month’s workshop in the Creative Law Center is aimed at demystifying key provisions in publishing contracts to give you the edge you need.

What You Will Learn

  • Royalties and Advances: Discover how to negotiate your royalties and understand the nuances of advance payments. Learn the strategies to maximize your earnings before and after your book hits the shelves.
  • Grant of Rights: Gain clarity on the licensing provisions critical to your contract. Learn what rights you are granting to your publisher, the rights you can keep for yourself, and what this means for your book’s future formats and translations.
  • Term of Contract: Understand the duration of your agreement with the publisher and what happens when the contract term ends. Set up terms that keep your career goals in focus.
  • Out-of-Print Provisions: Find out how to regain your rights if your book stops selling. Learn how to define ‘out of print’ in the digital age and strategies to ensure your book remains in your control.
  • Warranties and Indemnities: Learn about the legal commitments you are making when you sign a publishing contract. Don’t skip the fine print. It’s there to protect the publisher, not you.

Navigate the Nuances of Publishing Contracts

If you’re aiming for a traditional publishing deal for your manuscript, most likely you will be working with an agent.

Publishing companies prefer working with agents rather than dealing with authors directly because experienced agents know the business. Negotiating with someone who already understands how publishing deals work makes the  process more efficient.

But here’s the thing, you, as the author, are the one signing the contract. You’re the one who is bound by its terms, not the agent. You need to understand the deal. Although your agent represents you in the transaction, you are the best protector of your interests.

Not only that, when you have an understanding of publishing contract terms and how negotiations work, you become a better client for your agent. Together, you and your agent become a formidable team.

If you are working with a smaller publishing company, you might have the opportunity to negotiate your deal directly. If that’s the case, you most certainly need an in-depth understanding of publishing contracts.

In either case, this month’s workshop is for you because the current publishing landscape is complex.

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is perfect for:

  • First-time authors ready to publish.
  • Experienced authors looking to negotiate better contract terms.
  • Literary agents who want to better serve their clients.

Join us on Thursday, April 18th at 1 p.m. ET for this virtual session. A Zoom link will be sent to you after registration.

Don’t miss this chance to empower yourself with the knowledge needed to navigate the key terms of publishing contracts.

About the Author

Kathryn Goldman helps small business people, writers, artists, and creative professionals make a living from their creative work by teaching them how to protect and enforce their rights. She is an attorney who writes these posts to help you be more thoughtful about intellectual property and the law as you build your business, write your stories, and create your art.