One of the most exciting times in a writer’s life is when a contract arrives. Long form, short form, reprint, big money or small… it’s still Exciting! And a lot of time, especially when we’re still new but even when we’re Old Pros™, the impulse is to skim and sign. Sooner it’s done, sooner we can crow on social media about it/collect the check, right?
Stop. Take a deep breath. Put down the (virtual or otherwise) pen. Now go back and look at the contract. I’m going to assume you’ve already checked to make sure the essential pertinent details (name, title, payment) are all correct, that’s Contract 101. And you’ve already made sure that they’re not claiming any rights you didn’t previous agree to/know they were going to ask for, right? (Right?)
Now take another breath, and look at the contract again. Read all the clauses. And if you see something you don’t particularly like or seems even slightly hinky, do NOT just shrug and sign. Seriously. Fucking don’t.
Herein begins the lesson.
Recently I received a contract from a small press for a short story to be included in a Kickstarter-funded project. I’d agreed to the length, due date and payment, but hadn’t seen the rest of the contract. So when I got it, I read through the thing carefully. Which is when I noticed: Continue reading “Final Friday: Contract Negotiation 102, or You Only Get What You Ask For.”…