Guide to Publication Contracts

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Guide to help authors understand and negotiate book publication contracts.

Copyright law and contract language are complex, even for attorneys and experts. Authors may be tempted to sign the first version of a publication contract that they receive, especially if negotiating seems complicated, intimidating, or risky. But there is a lot at stake for authors in a book deal, and it is well worth the effort to read the contract, understand its contents, and negotiate for favorable terms.

To that end, the Clinic drafted Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts on behalf of the Authors Alliance. The guide identifies clauses that frequently appear in publishing contracts, explains in plain language what these terms (and typical variations) mean, and presents strategies for negotiating “author-friendly” versions of these clauses. When authors have more information about copyright and publication options for their works, they are better able to make and keep their works available in the ways they want.

Reports and White Papers

Oct 15, 2018

Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts

By Brianna L. Schofield, Robert Kirk Walker, Katherine Bridge, Alfredo Diaz, Karen Graefin vom Hagen, Anna Kuksenkova, and Henry Nikogosyan