Author Beware in the New Publishing World

First, the day has gone well. I’ve worked on several small things through the day, and the result is that my to-do list has drastically dwindled. Which means I can dive into revision tomorrow without anything weighing on me. Yay!

Now on to not so nice news.

New clauses are showing up in big publishing contracts, and it’s Author Beware time. It’s being called a rights-grab and it’s starting to get ugly. And they are getting sneaky with it, by inserting items that once had their own clauses into places in the contracts one would never think to look.


If you have an offer from either a publisher or an agent, run, don’t walk, to best IP attorney you can find. You’ll need all the help you can get. Read every line and every word. One wrong word in one place could spell disaster.

The Passive Guy makes a very good point that I think needs to be repeated and passed on as much as possible: Yes, this is business, but if there is no respect in the relationship, how can it possibly survive?

Then add in the new Agent clauses showing up, which in effect give the agent a portion of your writing income FOREVER.


As with any career, the writing career requires constant education. Below are a few links to give more information to help you get started:

The Business Rusch – Publishers: Surviving the Transition Part 2/

Strip-Mining the Authors/

Principles of Contracts: Everybody Knows Peggy Lee (or should)

Bottom line: Protect yourself. You are one small writer going up against Big Business. They could care less about you. They want the money, which means all the rights they can get. Protect yourself!

Liked it? Take a second to support J.A. Marlow on Patreon!
Author Beware in the New Publishing World

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.