3/7/07

It's a Small World

One of the comments on my post suggesting you seek legal advice on publishing contracts lamented the lack of experienced attorneys in Utah. That may be the case, but we live in a world connected via the Internet and your options are not limited to the state where you reside.

I did a quick Google on "publishing contract attorneys" and found a long list of sites to peruse, including this site. I'm not promoting or endorsing the site or the firm, but if you'll note, the site was listed in Writer's Digest as a good resource for authors. They have a long list of legal articles that contain some good information. Again, I'm not endorsing this, nor giving it a blanket stamp of approval, but from a brief skim of a few of the articles, it seems to be legit and on target.

I also found this site. I entered "publishing contracts" and selected Utah and came up with a list of 42 attorneys/firms; 26 sublisted under Entertainment Law, and 28 under Intellectual Property. If I personally felt I needed legal help, I would start by calling each of these firms and asking if they have someone experienced in publishing contracts. Ask how many they've negotiated, how many they've broken, and for a list of happy clients that you can call to talk to. All it costs is your time.

Then I went to Publishers Marketplace and did a search for contract attorneys. This produced a list of attorneys who say they specialize in publishing contracts. While they may not be familiar with Utah law, they will understand publishing contracts in general. You could fax them your contract and they can advise you on potential problems. They may also be able to work as counsel in an advisory relationship to a Utah attorney.

I found all this--and much more--in a quick 15 minute perusal of the Internet.

Note: I have a concern that all this talk about contracts and suing is going to have authors rushing to review their contracts and looking for problems, causing fear and anxiety without cause. Let me say that in my experience, most LDS authors are pleased with their publishers and even if they wish they earned higher royalties (who doesn't?) they are satisfied with their contracts. Most authors that I know who have had concerns have been able to re-negotiate with their publishers or have been released from their contracts.

2 comments:

Different Anon said...

Also, if you pick apart the contract, keep in mind there are several hundred other authors with manuscripts submitted that are willing to take your place. There is room for negotiation, but not to take away all the rights of the publisher.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Those who complain about the terms of their contracts should keep in mind that there's plenty of authors who'd jump at the chance to have a contract.

Isn't the point of being published to have your work out there and to be able to share your story with others and maybe make a dfference in someone's life? Seems to me that those who are so unhappy with their contracts might have lost sight of why they wanted to be published in the first place: to share something they created with the world. Maybe that's too simplistic or idealistic, but just being able to share something I've created far outweighs the monetary part of it. That's just me.