As an independent publisher, you’re focused on two things – publishing great books and selling the heck out of them. Everything else gets put on the back burner. Unfortunately, the demands of executing effective contracts cannot be ignored. A poorly constructed contract can adversely affect your business, cost you money, money that could be used to keep your business running and growing. A contract that is perceived to be unfair to your authors will cause your authors to go somewhere else. A well-executed contract can go far in protecting both you and your author.
When executing your contracts, there are clauses that clearly spell out –
Delivery and publication issues
What rights you will seek from the author
What permissions you or your author will need to clear
How much of an advance you will pay and under what terms
What kind of royalty you will pay the author for the various types of book sales
Option(s) on the authors’ next work
How the contract would be terminated
How and when rights will revert back to the author
Finally, the housekeeping clauses which cover all the truly mundane things – from agency representation to taxes.
Not to be forgotten when discussing contracts is the royalty statement. The royalty statement is the explanation behind the royalty check you have sent the author. A well-organized royalty statement will keep track of sales and license revenue by type of sale, units sold, dollar amount received, royalty rate and earnings due the author.
Your royalty statement will help you meet your contractual obligations and will help maintain good relations with your authors and their agents.