Wednesday, July 6, 2016

PART 3: New Book! The Contract: I LOVE YOU TOO, I LOVE YOU THREE, Coming Fall 2016

THE CONTRACT

Ah yes, the contract.

Love You Forever, Illustrated
by Sheila McGraw 
The contract for I Love You Too, I Love You Three landed as publication contracts usually do, like a husk of dried-up crispy boringness, a multilayered papery wasps' nest of legalese in my inbox. Echhh.

For all of us hyper-typers and paint-slingers, whether it's the GAN (Great American Novel) we've composed, or the Kids' Book of the Century we're illustrating... getting your book published is like meeting your significant-other and everything in between that leads to marriage... sort of (except for the sexy bits.) But the publishing contract is to an author what a prenup often is to romance... a million stings, anxiety, disappointment. You wouldn't make me sign this nastiness if you loved me (my book.)


The illustrations get a contract too!
 (this one is from Where the Lost
Things Go by Barbara Farnsworth.) 
Just what we right-brain paint-slingers
are ill-equipped to deal with... so hire a
left-brained attorney if necessary.
The contract is your agent/publisher/author agreement, kind of a menage-a-trois prenup. It specifies all and sundry technicalities from the dollar-figure of your advance to the percentage of your royalty. So am I going to walk you step by step through the contract I signed with Firefly Books to illustrate I Love You Too, I Love You Three?

No, I'm not. That prenup/contract is confidential. But I feel you. It would be so easy just to sign your publisher's contract without reading it and get it over with. You flip through muttering wha...? You scarf down a donut, then flip some more and say... What is this stuff and what does it mean? Sorry but this is part of the dance. All that blood sweat and tears on the galleys? That's just the beginning. Your book lives forever.

But lissen up; you may be thinking you'll let your agent (or spouse, brother, neighbor) handle it. Not good enough... by all means your agent is involved but you must read the whole dang thang, because you are affected. And when you do read it you may be terrified to disagree with anything in that contract, just as no doubt pretty-woman was loathe to tell rich-guy-in-charge Richard Gere where to stuff his prenup... but hey, do some due diligence! Sure you're fearful of rocking the boat, of getting a rep as "difficult author" but it's your baby you're handing over to the big machine that can chew it up and spit it out, so at least question the stuff that chafes your butt. And as much as I'm despondent to suggest it, hire an attorney if need be.

But before you dispute anything... go to this site for The Authors Guild page about publication contracts and protecting yourself. The Authors Guild will even give members a contract review FOR FREE!! You'll want to become a member. I did. I joined after reading this list of 10 Contract Traps... Check it out. At least you'll know what should be expected.

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