Today I got, and read over, the contracts from Pocket for the VINEART WAR books. No matter how good your agent, and how much you trust him/her you always read through your contract. Yes, every line. It's your name that gets signed, not your agent's. Make sure you agree with it all.
The contract, for those who've never seen such a beast, covers every damn thing you could imagine and a few things you might not. The rights being transferred, natch, and the compensation thereof (advance [sums and payout details], royalties, subsidiary rights percentages, etc), but also option clause (what the publisher gets right-of-first-refusal on, and how long they are allowed to take before it's open season), what happens if author and publisher can't agree on the manuscript's "satisfactory form," who gets how much time to do what during production, legal decision-making (what state all trials would be in -- by default it's almost always NYS because most major US publishers are based there, therefore it is assumed that the courts have a better understanding of the industry standards), and a dozen other details
The only thing I found to change was where they had two "book 2" instead of a "book 3." (Oops). I also got to go over a few clauses that were new to me, some because New Publisher has different boilerplate, and some because there were issues of "Suri haz Two Publishers" to deal with. Is it terrible to admit that those clauses were both thrilling, and terrifying? Because they were.
So now I sign all the copies and send them back to the agency, where they will be passed on to the publisher for countersigning, and then -- and only then -- is this officially a Done Deal.
Needless to say, you don't wait for that to start writing. First book's due in January!
Amusement: For those who read kradical's journal, you will have seen the "conversations we really have" post. Here's a second edition; same location, yesterday afternoon:
"I need a name."
"Our Lady of Significant Mercy?"
"Our Lady of Insignificant Mercy?"
*a better Look*
"Our Lady of Moderate Mercy?"
(he went with "Significant Mercy," I believe. I'm keeping "Moderate Mercy" for my own future use. If you want to use it, send me a quarter.)
- Industry Talk: some words on contracts