STATUS: Relaxing. Just about to do some sample page reading for an hour before hitting the sack.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? F.M. by Steely Dan
With all our recent deals, I’m definitely in contract mode this week. And there is a lot to think about.
With the Google lawsuit settlement happening, all current and future negotiations are going to have to address revenue split from Google advertising from the book registry. If the publishing house is participating that is. And don’t get me started on the whole topic of if the book is already on Google book search and is, indeed, searchable. We’ve been spending the last two weeks putting together letters for each individual client regarding their books and Google.
But that’s not all. The digital revolution is making us rethink contract clauses—even within the current standard language.
Take this for an example. My contracts manager and I got to talking on Friday about what is a rather an innocuous clause in the contract. In the royalties section, Publishing contracts always specifically state that no royalties will be paid for copies given away to promote sales or to charitable institutions etc.
Or similar language. It varies depending on house and contract.
Well, we were talking about electronic book giveaways done recently by Stanza, by Kindle on iPhone and even by Orbit—which I highlighted a couple of weeks ago (the Brent Weeks’s debut for $1).
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not remotely opposed to these kinds of promotions but I am thinking that perhaps an author needs to have a say in it and if they are to have say, then that needs to be in the contract—and dealt with in the copies given away clause. I think free ebook promotions can have strong impact but I also think the author should have input regarding how that ebook promotion might work. Little things like for how long will the promo last? How many copies will be given away? How will the publisher measure sales from said promotion? Interesting, no?
So now I’m thinking perhaps we need to ask for author approval on free copies done for special electronic promotions.
Suddenly, it makes that little clause a whole new ball game.