January 13th, 2017

Negotiating Options in Publishing Deals

Susan Spann

“Option clauses” or “options,” are a provision in a publishing deal that gives the publishing house a “right of first refusal” on the author’s next work. While this initially sounds like a great idea – most authors want to continue being published – traditional option clauses often contain some traps that authors should […]

October 14th, 2016

Understanding “Advances” in Publishing Deals

Susan Spann

“Advances” – technically, advances against royalties, are lump-sum payments some publishers pay to authors “in advance” of publishing the author’s work.

More simply, an “advance” is the money an author receives up front on a publishing deal.

Not all authors receive advances, and not all publishers offer them. Small and micro-publishers often pay […]

August 12th, 2016

Understanding Ebook Rights

Susan Spann

Whether you publish traditionally or as an author-publisher, it’s critical to understand the rights you own—and the ones you give away (even temporarily) by contract. Otherwise, it’s impossible to tell if you’re getting an excellent deal, an industry-standard arrangement, or an offer you should walk (or run) away from.

Today, let’s look at […]

July 8th, 2016

“Busting” Some Popular Copyright Myths

Susan Spann

Copyright law can be confusing for authors, especially when it comes to issues like when (and whether) to register copyright in a manuscript, and what to do if you use a pseudonym. While authors need to understand the basics of copyright, myths and disinformation abound (especially on the Internet).

Today, let’s take a […]

June 10th, 2016

Publishing Deals: A Warning About Nondisclosure Clauses

by Susan Spann

A “nondisclosure” agreement (or “NDA”) is a contract or contract clause in which one or both of the parties promise not to discuss certain subjects, facts, or contract terms.

In business, NDAs are common, but they generally only apply to legally protectable “confidential information” belonging to the parties who sign the contract. […]