STATUS: Warm snuggly because Chutney is sitting on my lap. I’m blogging from home tonight.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? AIN’T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD? by Dean Martin
Nothing gets my blood boiling faster then when publishers embed a no-compete type clause in the warranty section of the contract. This is actually becoming standard as of late.
It’s usually one sentence that’s easy to miss unless you’re reading carefully. Especially if you just finished reading and dealing with the no-compete clause in the paragraph before the warranty section.
The sneaky line will read something like this, “”that the book will be the author’s next book length work (whether under the author’s own name or otherwise)…”
First off, I believe it’s none of the publisher’s business whether the soon-to-be contracted work is the author’s next published work or not. Authors should be able to write and publish as many books as their ability and careers can sustain.
Now publishers will argue that they are making an investment in this writer and that they are simply trying to protect that investment, blah, blah, blah, blah. Fine. That’s what the no-compete clause is for and that’s why we, as agents and editors, like to argue the terms of that clause. This is such an important issue that it’s usually brought up when negotiating the deal points so both parties are clear as to what the author is willing to commit to or not.
So, then you think it’s finished and boom, you hit the warranty clause and there’s another pesky little reference to what is really a no-compete issue.
And as an agent, you have to start the battle all over again with limiting it, massaging the phrasing, making sure it doesn’t interfere with the author’s ability to expand his or her career, etc.
But what really annoys me is that this line really has nothing to do with an author’s warranty otherwise outlined in the rest of the paragraph. So why is it there? Good question.