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Legal & Contracts Advice: Overview

As an independent author, you’ll find yourself looking at a lot of contracts: contracts for services you hire, from individuals like editors and designers to large self-publishing services and online retailers; and contracts from trade publishers and other rights buyers interested in your work.

It is crucial to master the reading and negotiation of contracts so you know your books and your business are fully protected. Always take the time to read, explore, understand and question contracts. This puts you in a stronger position to negotiate rights with rights buyers and suppliers, helping you reach an agreement which is best for everyone.

We are currently sourcing and annotating some of the most common publishing contracts an indie author encounters, so you can be aware of the key contract terms and provisions, and can confidently understand your obligations and negotiate your rights. We are also working with Ethan Ellenberg Agency to provide user-friendly sample agreements you can use in your author business.

Important: The general guidance provided on these pages, and in our Copyright Bill of Rights, does not replace legal advice.

ALLi recommends that you seek legal advice from a lawyer who understands publishing law if you are unsure of how to proceed with a contract negotiation or service hire, particularly if significant money is involved.

We hope you find these annotated and sample contracts useful, and welcome any feedback.

1. Contracts advice

General legal and contract advice for indie authors. 

2. Sample agreements

Whether you’re working with close friends, colleagues, or somebody you found through the ALLi directory of Partner Members or another professional network, it is always best to put all agreements in writing.

3. Annotated contracts

A library of the most widely used contracts in the self-publishing industry.

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