Friday, February 27, 2009

Contract Signed

I'm not sure I ought to read anything special in it, but today, the first Friday of Lent, I signed the contract for Bleeder (wherein the events of Lent and Passion Week play a large part).

I suggested a few minor amendments in two of the usual 'trouble spots' in book contracts: the definition of "out of print" and the "indemnity clause."

I pressed for a clear definition of "out of print" since a previous publisher (let's leave them unnamed for now) used a small-print legalese loophole in the contract to declare my novel "out of stock" rather than "out of print" even though the title was no longer available anywhere for years (except used bookstores). This precluded the reversion of rights to me, and so I'm unable to make the book available in any other form (such as Print-On-Demand). This is, in my view, a subtle form of thievery. I'm glad my current publisher, Sophia Press, recognizes the need for clarity and charity regarding this issue.

The 'indemnity clause' is the 'liability' clause where an author assures the publisher that the work is original, without anything libelous, and doesn't infringe on anyone's right of privacy. If a suit is brought against the publisher (according to most standard workings of this clause) then the author is completely responsible for all costs and damages. Clearly, publishers ought to protect themselves from such potential harm. I added - upon the advice of the Mystery Writers of america - a modest change that referred to the publisher's own insurance policies against such claims.

I believe the contract is fair to all parties -- and it feels great to be in print again. Production work is proceeding on the book -- cover art, typesetting, jacket copy and so on -- and they're still looking at a Summer release, probably in time for the Catholic Marketing Network Convention in early August.

So stay tuned for ordering information. It won't be long now.

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