Most contracts don’t have NDA’s I’ve discussed various clauses in my contracts at great length. They are very long - 36 - 40 pages and most of it is boring, but when discussing royalties, or the rights, the high-discount sales, or the non-competes I’ve talked about them extensively.
Says who? Or are you just ASSUMING you can’t. If there isn’t an NDA nothing stops you from posting them.
I’ve done so over hundreds of posts. Finding all the links would be difficult gut here are the basics of my deals (which are common across publishers - and this represents two of the big-five.
Term: Life of copyright
Language: English only (I do foreign translations separately.
Royalties 25% of net for ebook, hardcovers 10%, 12.5% and 15% of list with escalators at 5,000 unit increments. Trade paperbacks 7.5% of list (no escalators) mass market paperbacks 8% first 100,000 copies, 10% after that
Rights: print, ebook, audio - for two of my contracts and print/ebook for the third. I should note though that audio is now REQUIRED from all the big five now.
There is no reason for someone to not post the details of their contract…unless…there is a NDA associated with it. Authors share the details of their contracts quite frequently. What terrible fate did you think would come from her posting?
While it is true that a lawyer with knowledge is a good resource, it has to be weighed against (a) what is possible to change – some things are not negotiable and (b) what the cost will be. If you get a $500 advance and you have to spend $2,000 to have it reviewed by an IP that’s a big cost to incur. And if the clause that’s a concerned is “industry standard” the lawyer won’t be able to get it changed. So while you’ll be well-informed about he pros and cons of the contract, all you can really do is determine if it’s still worth signing, or walking away…in which case you are still out the $2,000.
As I said elsewhere, SOME contracts have NDA’s but I have three big-five contracts and none of them have that, so yeah we can and do share information on these matters. Now, some people CHOOSE to not share their contracts…and there could be all kinds of reasons for that, including THINKING their publisher may be mad (and some may) but if the information isn’t being shared, it’s on the authors not the publishers, for the most part.
Wow, this made me laugh. It’s NOT highly competitive. The contracts are nearly identical from house to house. The rates are the same, the terms, the only thing that changes is the advance. Stephen King has THE SAME royalty rates as me. The difference, he get’s a bigger advance that he’ll never earn out.
I have never seen someone post their entire contract online. Nowhere. Sorry. Maybe some clauses here and there. They certainly don’t say here is my Random House contract. Here are the terms. Here is my advance.
Lack of information definitely isn’t something that helps authors. But the bigger problem is there is an “industry standard” that all the publishers hold fast to, and in such an environment there is no wiggle room and therefore the “cartel” holds the power.
You are correct in that authors rarely share the amount of their advances. Although they are often talked about in “general terms” through Publihsher’s marketplace in these ranges:
It should be noted that when a publisher says "we will be working with Macmillan (or Hachette, or Penguin Random House for that matter) for distribution. All that means is they are using that companies warehouse and shipping systems. The publishers all have these services “for sale” to smaller publishers to monetize their infrastructure. It DOES not mean your books will be shelved everywhere Macmillan tiles are.
Audio is the same as ebooks - both are digital assets and they are 25% of net because there is no printing and warehousing costs. I should note that MANY publishers “sell off” the audio right to an audio producer and in those cases (a subsidiary sale) the money is split 50/50 with the author.
trade paperbacks are “bigger” - they are the size of hardcovers but with a soft binding. mass markets are really small so they can fit in a pocket or a purse.
There are plenty of books written about contracts, whether there are some on Wattpad, I don’t know.
Most contracts are 35 pages long. And no they are not posted in their entirety but clauses are copy/pasted when relevant. And yes, as i mentioned - most authors don’t post their advances. For me…I don’t mainly because it would sound lie bravado. I will say I have six contracts that are over $100,000, one contract that is over $500,000 and one contract that is over 1,000,000.
Definitely not going to make it GOOD. But an IP attorney can help a writer catch the BAD clauses – the ones that will keep them producing for the publisher in perpetuity, that give them no clear way to revert rights, that fail to define “net”, and so forth. Oh, and they can catch the places where the contract contradicts itself, which would lead to nightmare scenarios if it came to a mediator or judge.
They SHOULD be able to but I hired 2 IP attorneys to look at my contract - and in particular the non-compete clause and their response was, “Well, it’s the industry standard, and they won’t change it. So your choices are sign or walk away. The good news is they rarely enforce it, and if they try to you could take them to court.”
Needless to say, I couldn’t sign the non-compete I was first given and after 6 months I got it defanged on my own – not through my IP attorneys - who said I wouldn’t succeed. And I’m not talking about little IP attorneys I’m talking about the top firms in New York.