Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How Much Negotiation Is There With Contracts

I saw yesterday a couple of agents Tweeting that they were "negotiating contracts." Wooo, that sounds so cool. Writers just get tingles hearing those words because of what they are now thinking. The image is clear to the writer. The agent is probably on the phone, telling the editor they want the world or they will never let the editor see the manuscript ever again. They're probably arguing for a 6 figure deal for that book. They're pushing to maintain all of the rights.

Um, not.

When it comes to contracts, there is a lot of material in there that simply isn't going to get changes. I am sorry to break that one to you. Yes, we do negotiate some things. Yes, we do push to get the writers the best situation, but really, for the most part, the use of the word "negotiate" is a bit extreme. It is implying something much bigger.

For the most part, this "negotiation" is involving simply a re-working of a lot of the details. Depending on the author, the book, the agent and what not, there might be some maintaining of rights. Maybe this agent has some great connections and wants to keep the foreign rights. Maybe this person has just talked to some people about TV and movie rights and they want to keep those. It doesn't happen with every book, but that is a maybe.

Sometimes we spend the time talking about the advances and the royalties. There might be some trade-offs to take a smaller advance and higher royalties. Maybe it is the payouts.

Most of the time, it is simply a wording to make something a bit more comfortable for the agent and the writer. Not really changing the context of the contract, but the wording.

The thing to remember is that really, in the end, all parties are really wanting to work things out so that everyone is happy. But we do have to remember that, while writing is fun and writing does involved the creative side of things, this is still a business.


No comments:

Post a Comment