Book Publishing Agreement Lawyer
Book Publishing Agreement Lawyer Sebastian Gibson
The Right Choice in Book Publishing Contract Attorneys for Book Authors and Writers
You may be asking yourself, do you really need a literary rights or publishing lawyer to review a literary agency contract or a book publishing agreement? The answer is yes, if you want the contract to favor your literary agent or book publisher in every respect rather than yourself.
You see, when you’re offered a literary agency agreement, in most cases, a publishing lawyer retained by the literary agent drafted the contract to favor the literary agency in every possible way. The same holds true even to a greater extent when you’ve been offered a book publishing agreement as a writer.
Publishing contracts are negotiable. Literary agency agreements are negotiable. If a literary agent wants to represent you and if a book publisher wants to publish the manuscript you’ve written as an author, you have leverage that a literary rights attorney can use to negotiate better terms than what’s written in the book publishing contract or literary agency agreement you’ve just been offered.
Without a literary rights attorney, you may not understand the significance of the terms of the literary agency or book publishing contract you’ve been provided, until it’s too late and one or more of those terms you may have thought were insignificant turns out to be a problem.
Keep in mind, it’s going to be in the interests of a literary agent to have you sign a contract they’ve offered to you, whether it’s their own contract or a book publishing agreement. They have a conflict of interest in this respect. The sooner you sign that agreement, the sooner they may receive their commission from a book publisher. It’s not going to be in their interests to advise you not to sign the contract they provide to you.
And once you sign such a literary agency contract or a book publishing agreement, the relationship you form and the terms which bind that relationship with your literary agent or book publisher can last throughout your writing career.
A literary rights lawyer has expertise in intellectual property rights and can protect you if your work is one that is subjected to copyright or even trademark infringement. While a literary agency contract is usually two pages and more understandable, a book publishing agreement can be ten to thirty pages and are generally much more confusing to the average person.
A literary agent is not an attorney and unlike a publishing lawyer, won’t be able to anticipate how a provision in a contract may result in a legal dispute with a publisher. The average literary agent has little knowledge of contract law apart from having read these contracts before and when it comes to explaining the significance of certain publishing contract term, may in fact be clueless.
The manuscript you produce can form the basis for other writers and scoundrels who would otherwise seek to profit from your authorship to create a profitable enterprise with no payment to you for your work. Unless you have an attorney with intellectual property knowledge available to you, you may find yourself taken advantage of and without recourse if too much time has passed since your work was infringed.
Book Publishing and Literary Rights Attorney Sebastian Gibson
If you’ve been offered a been offered a literary agency contract or a book publishing agreement, it is important that you have it reviewed by a literary rights lawyer from our offices. There are terms contained in book publishing contracts that can make your hard efforts as a writer not only extremely frustrating but unprofitable as well. With the right attorney on your side, these terms can be negotiated to your advantage.
You also need to ensure you’re not about to become the victim of a book publishing scam. Book publishing scams continue to ensnare writers and prey on their dreams of becoming the next best selling author. Less than reputable book publishing companies unfortunately continue to convince writers into expending large sums of money to have their books published and then even require them to purchase large numbers of their own books. If you think you’re being scammed, you probably are.
One of the largest settlements we’ve obtained in our career as a literary rights and copyright infringement attorney was the result of a copyright and trademark infringement case involving a writer’s non-fiction book. If you think someone has stolen your work or copied parts of it word for word, fear you’re being scammed or simply need a valid literary agency or book publishing contract reviewed, contact the law firm of publishing attorney Sebastian Gibson at (760) 776-1810 for immediate advice and representation.
Terms Within Literary Agency and Book Publishing Contracts
Pay attention to whether you are under any obligation to submit further works to a literary agent or a book publisher under the contract you’ve been offered. Do you really want to be under time constraints to write your next book within a limited amount of time or to a book publisher who didn’t publicize and market your first book adequately?
What are the literary agency’s and book publisher’s rights as opposed to your rights to create derivative works under the publishing contract?
Does the book publishing contract or literary agency agreement use the term “best efforts?” If it does, does it spell out what these “efforts” will consist of, or are they so vague, you’ll never be able to pin the literary agent or book publisher as to exactly what efforts they made to get your book published and then publicized and marketed?
What are your rights to terminate the agreement you’ve been offered and what if anything, constitutes a breach of the agreement by you, the literary agency or the book publisher? If the book publishing agreement is written such that only you can commit a breach and terminating the agreement is as difficult as getting out of a cell phone contract, you need to have a lawyer rewrite the book publishing contract.
What rights of a literary agency survive termination of the literary agency agreement? (Because you never want to have to pay two agents for the same thing) What rights of the book publisher survive termination of the book publishing agreement?
What are your obligations under the book publishing contract to cure defects and revise the manuscript when the publisher advises that a manuscript is unacceptable. To what extent can the publisher continue to reject a manuscript, a manuscript which you have a duty to provide within a certain amount of time, if the publisher is not reasonably satisfied with the manuscript? If so, does the book publisher have the right to terminate the publishing agreement and seek a refund of any previous advance made to you?
Can you make changes to the manuscript at the final proof change and if so, what, if anything will you be charged to make such changes? What if the changes are due to errors made by the publisher?
How soon after accepting a manuscript as satisfactory, must the publisher in fact publish the book? Within 12 months, 18 months, two years? Will that time be extended further for any reason under the terms of the book publishing contract?
Under the terms of the publishing agreement, does the publisher have the right to determine the time, place, method and manner of advertising and promotion without any specification of how much will be spent on marketing and publicity?
Is the author prohibited from preparing any work that allegedly interferes or competes with the book to be published? If so, are the words “interfere” or “competing” defined in the book publishing contract?
How are the royalties calculated in the publishing agreement? This can be as or more important than what the royalty percentages are for the first 10,000 copies and increments beyond that. Are the royalties on the retail price, wholesale price, discounted price or on the net earnings made by the publisher?
Does the publishing contract provide for such things as joint accounts, basket accounts, or reserves to be held against returns?
What percentages will you receive if the publisher sells subsidiary rights such as translation licenses, or audio, film, tv, or merchandising licenses after the book publishing agreement is signed?
If the publisher puts out a revised edition or special edition of your book, how will the royalties be calculated? As a new book or at the higher escalating royalty rates on the first book?
How many copies of the book will be provided by the book publisher at no cost to the author and at what discounted cost will further books be sold to the writer? Is the author obligated to purchase a certain minimum number of their own books under the terms of the book publishing agreement? Can the author resell the books they purchase?
Is the author obligated to show or provide their next book to the book publisher and how long does the book publisher have to accept or decline the book? If the author has to wait 6 months to hear whether or not the publisher is interested in your next book, or your next 3 books, think of the frustration the author will endure if the book needs to be published as soon as possible because it’s timely.
Is the author being granted an advance (which has to be repaid out of any royalties) or a signing bonus? It’s likely an advance.
Under what conditions will the rights granted a publisher in a book publishing agreement revert to the writer? For instance, if the publisher deems the manuscript unsatisfactory, or the publisher fails to promote the book as they agreed to, do the rights revert to the author or do the rights remain in a legal limbo?
What constitutes a book being out of print, at which time the rights may revert to the writer. Terms such as “out of print” need to be defined in the book publishing contract.
What rights do you have to reject the book cover design? This is often one of the chief complaints by writers when their book fails to sell. (“I didn’t sign off on that” or “What idiot designed that cover?” and “No wonder the book didn’t sell,” are all common complaints)
Most writers are either extremely or largely unhappy with their publishers. That being the case, you should only sign contracts with literary agents who will explain (orally to you, if not in writing) what they will seek to negotiate in terms of marketing and publicity from a publisher and book publishing agreements that spell out what efforts and what amount of money the publisher will expend in order to publicize and market your work and to obtain reviews of your book.
There is little sense in signing with a literary agent and having them obtain a publishing agreement with a book publisher who then makes little or no effort to give your book the publicity and marketing to make it a best seller. And if the publisher has a say in what publicity or marketing efforts you make yourself on your book’s behalf, it’s time to consider self -publishing your book and paying for a publicist and some print and media advertising yourself.
Call Literary Rights and Book Publishing Attorney Sebastian Gibson
Sebastian Gibson has law degrees in both Great Britain and in California and has well over 35 years of experience as an attorney. With offices in Palm Desert and Newport Beach, Sebastian Gibson has been named a Top Lawyer for the past 6 years in a row by the prestigious Palm Springs Life Magazine and is rated a “Superb” lawyer by Avvo, their highest rating, which rates attorneys all across the nation.
Sebastian Gibson is a published writer as well having published a political humor novel in 2012 and has written articles for the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal newspapers. He has also written extensively for legal websites such as HG.org.
If you’ve been offered a literary agency contract or a book publishing agreement, call the Law Firm of Sebastian Gibson at (760) 776-1810 to have your contract reviewed and for advice. Before you sign any literary or publishing contract, have it reviewed by an experienced literary rights attorney.