Once you begin to think of sending your work out for publication, you might consider joining an authors group. Benefits of membership often include vital information that can save you time, energy and money.
The Authors Guild, founded in 1912, is the oldest and largest association of published authors in the U.S., but it has specific requirements for membership. Check on those at www.authorsguild.org.
I've been a member of the AG since 1991. One of my favorite parts of membership is the consultation on publication contracts. For example, a member can send a contract to the AG and get a lawyer's comments on its provision. This has saved me from several bad mistakes.
This fall I received the latest publication, MODEL TRADE BOOK CONTRACT AND COMMENTARY, updated to include recent changes in the treatment of digital rights.
The pamphlet-- 80 pages-- provides a clause-by-clause commentary on an entire sample book contract, from the grant of rights through warranties and indemnities, proofreading, advances, royalties, first serial rights, accounting, revision, bankruptcy, and agency clauses. Besides providing a much-needed update on subsidiary rights that are non-print-related, electronic rights and audio downloads, the booklet lists "unacceptable provisions." Wary and careful as I am, I found a clause that exists in one of my contracts listed under this heading.
This booklet complements one of the sessions I went to at the Women Writing the West conference in October, 2014. Susan Brushaber, an intellectual rights attorney, discussed how the Internet and other kinds of publication have altered what we need to look for, and be wary of, in contracts.
I highly recommend that, if you qualify, you join the Authors Guild.
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For more information:
See the Authors Guild website at www.authorsguild.org
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