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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: Magic_Seeker on January 27, 2012, 04:26:27 PM

Title: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: Magic_Seeker on January 27, 2012, 04:26:27 PM
Theresa at Edittorrent has noticed a new and scary clause in agent contracts.

"I heard a disturbing rumor -- and I have to repeat, this is a rumor, not something I saw personally -- about an agency contract that takes a standard commission on an author's self-published books. Self-published. So the author would be contractually obligated to pay 15% of their self-published royalties to the agent even if the agent has never laid eyes on the book."

Eek!  :eek:

Read the whole post at http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/2012/01/sign-of-times.html (http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/2012/01/sign-of-times.html)
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: AM_Lyvers on January 27, 2012, 04:34:27 PM
Yikes!!! Is this something writers should ask before signing with an agent now? Can you imagine what this industry is going to be like in 10 years?  :( it's scary
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: QuietWriter on January 27, 2012, 05:18:53 PM
There are a handful of agencies helping their authors to self pub books that either don't sell traditionally or they don't want to sell traditionally. This could be from one of those agencies who are also acting as self-publishers.
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: AnyaHarker on January 27, 2012, 06:00:32 PM
It's good to know that's out there -- but why you should always read EVERYTHING.

And I don't think it's that uncommon either. I'm a member of a musician's union and ours is a bit different because they don't take a cut of any gigs I get if I find them on my own. A lot of other ones will take a cut whether or not you find a gig yourself or they do.

So yeah -- free-free advice from the soon-to-be lawyerly type? Read everything. And if you dont understand it? Ask someone who does.  :up:
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: Tabris on January 27, 2012, 06:19:02 PM
I was actually asking my agent this last month. She said, "I wouldn't take your pocket change," and I replied, "I'd rather pay it to you, though." LOL. 
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: iBel29 on January 31, 2012, 12:46:05 PM
Wow that's really scary to find out later when you didn't read everything, damn
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on January 31, 2012, 02:31:58 PM
Yeah i just read about this on Maria Zannini's blog. It seems crazy to me, that they could take a % of your money for doing absolutely nothing.
No thanks on that.
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: Novelista85 on January 31, 2012, 04:24:25 PM
Like Magpie said, this has to be related to agents helping clients self-pub. Agent Kristin Nelson blogged about it here: http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2012/01/rapidly-evolving-role-of-agent.html
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: AnyaHarker on January 31, 2012, 05:16:08 PM
Yeah i just read about this on Maria Zannini's blog. It seems crazy to me, that they could take a % of your money for doing absolutely nothing.
No thanks on that.

I'm not sure if I'd say doing absolutely nothing -- particularly if they're an editorial agent and you're trad-pub'd through them. In that case, you've honed your skills thanks to them and all their insights. I think it's fair to give them back a percentage. If they were asking for the full 15%, I'd be a little wary. but 5-8%? Seems reasonable to me.
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on February 01, 2012, 08:36:17 AM
Right, yes, that makes sense. But if it's in the contract that they get a % of self-pub sales, if you're not careful with your contract negotiation, you could wind up self-pubbing something on the side and owing them that percentage regardless of whether or not they edited your MS
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: Nostrabuttus on February 01, 2012, 10:48:11 AM
That would be similar to a scheme some sales reps pulled off in the eighties. Promise the moon to new clients in exchange for getting 10% of all sales, instead of 10% on what the rep could actually sell himself. I Knew of one sales rep who lived in Atlanta, who made a fortune signing up gullible manufacturers, who fell for the sales representative's pitch. The rep did far more to promote himself than he did to promote any actual product. Once the manufacturers signed, it was expensive to get out of the contract. Basically, what the rep did was run small ads in trade journals for his client's product. Basically the same thing the manufacturers were already doing. That was the extent of the rep's actual product sales promotion. I was employed by a small manufacturer and sent to Atlanta to check the sales rep out. When I learned how his operation actual worked, I reported my findings. The manufacturer told the rep to take a hike.

We may soon see a new crop of agents who will sign up everyone they can in hopes a few of their clients will self publish a financial winner.

As the industry changes so will the language in the contracts. I would recommend having an attorney ( one experienced in intellectual property and publishing rights ) review all contracts before signing.

 

 
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: AnyaHarker on February 01, 2012, 11:55:53 AM
As the industry changes so will the language in the contracts. I would recommend having an attorney ( one experienced in intellectual property and publishing rights ) review all contracts before signing.

Yep. As a law student who specialises in IP? I highly suggest having someone read over any contract before you sign it. You don't want to be giving away something without realising it.
Title: Re: A new contract clause to watch out for!
Post by: jdkinman on February 12, 2012, 09:17:39 PM

As the industry changes so will the language in the contracts. I would recommend having an attorney ( one experienced in intellectual property and publishing rights ) review all contracts before signing.

This is good advice regardless; even moreso for brand new writers in their first ever relationship with an agent and publisher.

Trust, but verify. You may step on a few toes, but remember--it's YOUR work and you have the right, at all times, to protect it and YOUR best interests.