Recently, I presented a research paper at a publishing conference which was themed around the experience of negotiating, and signing, book contracts. The paper, based on a series of interviews with Australian-based authors, publishers and agents, looked at all kinds of questions around book contracts. One of the questions which aroused a lot of interest was the idea of the contract ‘red line’—when do you know, whatever side of the publishing table you’re on, that you need to walk away? I thought WU readers might be interested to read some of the things people said.
All publishers and all creators are different, but they all need to be able to communicate clearly with each other. If a creator is uncomfortable with discussion at the contract stage, this is a good time to consider whether there is a good fit with the publisher (publisher).
The time to walk away is when an author or publisher comes to believe they won’t be able to sustain a positive relationship any longer, because if you can work together and communicate effectively then there may still be a way forward, regardless of the written contract (author).
I think you should walk away if you feel unduly pressured into making decisions that you are not comfortable with. Perhaps another publishing house may suit you (publisher).
If the publisher won’t negotiate on something important to you, don’t sign. Once you sign the contract you’re bound by it, no matter how unfair it is. Authors have more options than ever before to get published, so just walk away (author).
What about specific ‘red lines’? These ranged from: [Read more…]