Thursday, November 27, 2008


I spent a goodly portion of the evening yesterday negotiating my third trade contract this year and the first since the economic meltdown.

Ignoring the differing styles of the three editors, I found this contract was more difficult to negotiate than the other two with lots of whining about
how tough the times are for publishers. Here are some of my observations:
  • I could not get the splits between author and publisher for secondary rights that I had achieved in all my previous contracts.
  • They would not allow a two year time limit for exploitation of these rights and insisted on four, saying it might take that long for the economic climate to settle and potential buyers of rights to crawl out of their caves.
  • I have always added a clause about payment for any rights sold that has the publisher paying the author's share in 60 days--this was met with horror and denied.
  • The number of free books for the author was untouchable this time round - I have always been able to negotiate up from 6 to 20.
All in all, the negotiation was not the amicable give and take I was used to. The editor was astounded that I wanted to actually negotiate their contract... I felt slightly brow-beaten after the long phone conversation, but did manage to change some of the lesser clauses that also mattered to me.

The good news was that the publisher will pay for all the images and permissions for the book--a considerable expense that I have previously had to carry.