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 […]

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 […]

April 8th, 2016

Merchandising Rights in Publishing Deals

Susan Spann

This is the third in a subsidiary rights series. If you missed one of the posts, click to read the first or the second article.

In publishing, “merchandising rights” refers to the right(s) to create, market, and sell merchandise (products) based on a book or its characters and settings. “Jurassic Park” T-shirts […]

December 11th, 2015

Show Me the Money: Royalties in Anthology Contracts

Susan Spann

The year is drawing to a close, but our series on anthology contracts is going strong. Today, it’s time to say “show me the money” – and look at some of the different royalty structures in the anthology world.

Some anthologies pay the contributors royalties, while others offer a flat fee, and still […]

April 10th, 2015

Spotting—and Avoiding– “Pay to Play” Publishing Contracts

Susan Spann

In recent months, I’ve seen the resurgence of several terrible publishing “offers” that business-savvy authors should learn to recognize and avoid. Some people might call them “scams” – though these particular “deals” are legal if an author signs them. They remind me of my law school contracts professor’s warning that “you can […]