1 Robin Sullivan 03/04/2018
2 Business Manager for Author Michael J. Sullivan 10+ years in the publishing business 10+ years doing these seminars (2/2/08) Online courses with Writer s Digest Negotiated 50+ contracts Small press publisher for 4 years Wrote my own contracts for agent and publishing
3 Author 30 books: 13 published, 4 pending release, 13 unpublished, working on new trilogy Riyria Revelations (6), Riyria Chronicles (4), Hollow World, The First Empire (6), Rise and Fall(3) 1,285,000+ English Language Books Sold 70+ Foreign Language Contracts Self, small-press, and big-five (3 contracts) 250+ best-of or most-anticipated lists 6-time Goodreads Choice Nominee Presenter at Writer s Digest Annual Conference Online courses with Writer s Digest
4 03/04/18 3:00 pm Publishing Q & A 04/07/18 1:00 pm Writing a Book from A Z 04/07/18 3:00 pm Reviews, Lists, & Giveaways: Tips &Tricks Revealed 04/21/18 11:30 Library of Congress Author Fest: I'll Do It Myself Publishing 05/06/18 1:00 pm Marketing: Self-publishing VS Traditional 05/06/18 3:00 pm Audiobooks - everything you need to know
5 Read AND Understand your contact! - Your agent s goals may not be aligned with your Never sign a contract you can t live with Short-term issues can be lived with but be wary about contracts that may affect your entire career
6 Agent: Fees are 15% forever (even after they stop doing things for you) They have contacts to shop your book Lawyer: One-time fee (usually by the hour) MUST be familiar with publishing and intellectual property. Should they look at an agent negotiated contract? Depends on the advance.
7 Only YOU will protect YOU What s good for them is not necessarily good for you The agent s primary concern is to get the deal No deal = no money They align more with publishers than authors It s easier to get the author to fold than the publisher They perpetuate the industry standard Are not leaders in change would require high profile clients walking away from contracts They are focused on a single deal not the career
8 selling a license vs selling a copyright of a work work-for-hire droit moral joint tenancy or tenancy in common joint accounting basket accounting non-compete clause indemnification clause remainders & reserve for returns abridgement, adaptation, derivations
9 Small presses: More reasonable terms Higher royalty rates on ebooks Fixed terms 5 10 years Easier reversion clauses More opportunity for negotiation Big-five: Walk in lock-step (operate as a cartel) If one falls, they all fall Contracts are remarkably similar Rights grabs
10 Not everything is negotiable 25% of net e-book royalty rate Length of copyright (Death + 70 years) Standard Royalty Rates Print & ebook rights & now audio rights What is negotiable Joint vs Basket accounting Language translations (for now) Sub-rights: graphic novels Out of print designation
11 Size of the advance? Control over content? Freedom to write outside the contract? Title and/or cover approval? Time commitments for promotional activities? Retaining audio rights? Retaining foreign language rights? Constraints of the non-compete clause?
12 No content changes without author approval No ability to create derivative works Foreign and audio rights retention Too valuable to receive a % of this income Publishers don t pursue these aggressively Minimal infringement on future work creation No blank check on author s time or money Rights reversion to the author if publisher isn t doing their job.
13 What if they don t publish the book? Rights should revert (reversion letter required) Partial advance should remain with author What if disagreement in editing content? Author can revert or force publisher to revert Author retains 50% of any partial advances Can they publish it as is without your consent? What if they stop making payments? Revert rights but still owe the money
14 What if they file for bankruptcy? Bankruptcy law will trump your contract provisions What if they reject the manuscript and deem it unfixable? Make sure the contract isn t in a limbo state Provide financial disincentive so they can t use this as a way to cancel the book.
15 What if you don t deliver the book? Publisher CAN (but doesn t have to) terminate contract Author must repay partial advance Might have quick claim provision to get it back What if they cancel the project? A good contract would require a buying out the author A good contract makes this difficult to do.
16 Boilerplate worst possible terms should never be signed Agency Negotiated for large agencies the terms have already been fought over and the process doesn t have to be repeated again Small agency Start with something better than boilerplate but not as good as Agency Negotiated.
17 Description of the work (1 book or multiple) Which formats (ebook, print, audio, graphic novel) For how long (fixed-term, length of copyright) Territories (North American, World) What languages (English Only, All languages) What about abridgements and adaptations? What about derivative works? NOTE: DO NOT sell your copyright!
18 Life of copyright (really, long time) Requirement of big-five publishers Keep in mind the copyright act of 1976 This makes the out-of-print clause VERY important Fixed Term 5, 7, of 10 years Additional money at renewal Recent renewal of audio netted $400,000 All small-presses, foreign language translations, audio contracts
19 Very important for length of copyright terms The old days of publishing Print books sit in warehouse print more or revert Today s publishing Ebooks have no cost to keep out there Print on demand allows for books to always be available Why is it an issue? Future Potential Author: Reverted rights can self-publish Publisher: What if a movie is made or the author becomes the next James Patterson?
20 Prohibit ebooks from only criteria keeping a book in print Prohibit use of print on demand Create thresholds Income in certain period (preferred) Number of books sold in a period (better than nothing) Thresholds are notoriously small $500 per year per book = $9.16 a week
21 Provides a provision for reclaiming rights under life of copyright terms When a work has been published for 35 years Make sure the work has been registered in the copyright office Need to file within 10 year window Hire an intellectual property attorney to do the paperwork
22 All big-five contracts have these All books but should ONLY be in non-fiction DANGEROUS they affect future works not just the works under contract Need to clearly define what is competing works NOTE: Illegal if it prohibits author income for an extended period of time
23 Governed by the laws of New York (right to work state). Betting on no author bringing them to court. They won t go to trial a precedent against them would eliminate a huge amount of their power. Contracts have provisions such that if one clause is illegal, all the other clauses are in effect
24 The work was written by you You haven t sold it to others You have the right to sell the work Original work Watch for sneaky additions Will be the author s next work this could limit your publication for 2 3 years in a worse case scenario.
25 Early money, guaranteed money, no repayment How many payments 2: signing accepted manuscript 3: signing acceptance publication 4: signing acceptance first publication 1 year later Jointly accounted Bonus for high high initial sales X copies sold before paperback comes out X copies sold within y period of time Is it more advance or outright cash?
26 Generally not allowed due to economic issues Author If the publisher doesn t publish the work within xx period of time (usually two years + 6 mo. extension) If Royalties aren t paid on time Publisher If work is rejected If edits can t be agreed upon If work isn t turned in on time Watch for backdoor quick claim if later produced If a legal review indicates the book might produce legal liability
27 Dates for submission (esp. for multiple books) What if author misses date? How long does the publisher have to provide feedback? Who controls final content? If contract is terminated, is advance repaid? If author can t repay what then? How long after acceptance MUST they publish 2 years is typical
28 Calculation: Actual sales actual returns reserve for returns How do they calculate? Higher initially, but should get down to no more than prior statement actual returns When paid (bi-annually, sometimes quarterly) What is it based on List, Net Income, Net Profit
29 Print (list price) Hardcover (10%, 12.5%, 15% - 5,000 levels) Trade paperback 7.5% - no escalators Mass market paperback 8% first 100,000 then 10% above that 50% - 60% Retailer 25% % publisher Ebook 25% of net Can t tell for sure in post-doj world Auto escalators if rate goes up in future 30% Retailer 52.5% publisher 17.5% of list Audio 10% of net 65% Audible 31.5% publisher 3.5% author
30 Deep discounts Paperback 60% or more Hardcover 55% or more 10% of net rather than 10% -15% of list Example 54% discount of $25.00 Hardcover Retailer: $13.50 Publisher: $9.00 Author: $2.50 Change by 1% 55% discount Retailer: $13.75 Publisher: $10.12 Author: $1.13 Publisher profit increases by 12.4%
31 Items sold in British Market Hardcover: 10% (list) first 3, % above Trade paperback (list): 7.5% Mass market (list): 7.5% first 20,000 10% above Canada, Australia, New Zeeland 2/3 of US royalty Foreign sales 10% of NET hardcover 5% paper Omnibus 10% of net no, no, no make it something you have to agree upon if it happens. Large Print, Premiums, Mail order, Book clubs Remainders Usually no royalty paid
32 Can they make the book free? Not without your approval Can they deep discount ebook Need approval if 80% or more What is the definition of an ebook Text only? Pictures and video? Condensed, adapted?
33 First Serial: 10% 90% Second Serial: 50% 50% Book club: 50% 50% Paperback: 50% 50% * Other print formats: 50% 50% * British Commonwealth: 20% 80% Translation: 25% 75% or 50% 50% Audio: 50% 50% Television, movie, radio: 10% 90% * Author approval
34 How often? Twice a year Quarterly No monthly When? End of March End of September Within 4 months of reporting period end What happens if they don t? 30 days to correct or revert rights Who do they pay? Agent who then splits 85% /15% Make them split the payments How often and where/how to examine records? What happens if there are discrepancies?
35 They determine what will be done Can they FORCE you on tour? Do they need author approval? Free copies? Highly discounted ebooks?
36 Exclusive look at next work Shouldn t be all works just next one How long to decide 60 days to evaluate 30 days to negotiate contract Should NOT be same terms as current contract Should NOT have quick-claim provision If someone else makes a deal they can match and get the work back without say from author Are there lock-outs before they have to consider an option?
37 State of New York (99.9% of contracts) Arbitration provisions Makes it easier for authors to contest contract Assignment: Author Successors, Assigns, heirs Assignment: Publisher Need agreement of author
38 Subliminal material (maps, photos, author forward, author photograph) Who pays for these things? Who decides how many of these things will be made?
39 Format - Ebook/print (may no longer be able to reserve audio) If you can t get them reserved outright, have them revert after xx years without exercising them Languages English only Don t throw in foreign translations Term - Fixed term best (foreign & small presses) Out of print designation should be $ or unit based Territories North American allows you to sell to England/Australia, Europe under another contract Accounting Joint (most won t get this) Just means money faster not more money (usually)
40 Work for hire or granting derivative rights Non-compete clauses Making authors grant publisher a blank check Paying for supplemental materials of their choosing Getting a book in limbo not accepted but not reverted. Publisher ability to release a book whose content isn t what the author wants Joint tenancy or tenancy in common Selling of the copyright rather than a license
41 Launched May 2015 Open letter Jan 2016 Minimum 50% of ebook sales No delay due to non-competes and option clauses High discounts shouldn t make it possible to steal author s royalty to increase profits Rights should revert with publisher is no longer supporting the book Decreased income 2015 Authors Guild survey (first since 2009) Full time dropped 30%: From $25,000 to $17,500 Part time: 38% drop Great idea, but I m seeing no movement from it
42 Write me at I will review contracts that you forward to me Don t forget the next sessions: 03/04/18 Publishing Q & A 04/07/18 Writing a Book from A Z 04/07/18 Reviews, Lists, & Giveaways: 04/21/18 Author Fest: I'll Do It Myself Publishing (LOC) 05/06/18 Marketing: Self-publishing VS Traditional 05/06/18 Audiobooks - everything you need to know