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Legal & Contracts

As an author, you will enter into a lot of contracts for services—contracts for cover design, book formatting, and other services related to the publication of your work.

By definition, contracts are legally enforceable agreements between two or more parties, and in the publishing area usually involve the supply of goods or services at a fixed price.

For many of us, trying to deal with contracts is a confusing and ultimately uncomfortable experience as the language can be unfamiliar and complex. As a result, contracts are often poorly handled by authors.

Mastering contracts is an important skill for authors because they protect your work, rights, and royalties.

Take the time to read, explore, and question contracts. Understanding a contract puts you in a stronger position to negotiate rights with publishers and suppliers so that you can reach an agreement that is pleasing to both parties.

The Alliance of Independent Authors has sourced and annotated—with the assistance of authors John Doppler and Helen Sedwick—some of the most common types of publishing contracts to assist you in understanding the key provisions so you can more confidently negotiate your rights and understand your obligations.

The information discussed in these guides should not be considered legal advice, and is provided as guidance only. ALLi recommends authors seek legal advice if you’re unsure about how to proceed with a contract negotiation.

We hope you find these examples useful, and welcome your feedback.