How to Understand & Negotiate a Book Contract or Magazine Agreement by Richard Balkin
Writer’s Basic Bookshelf Writer’s Digest Books 1985
I happened across this find at a library book sale (yes, MANY good books turn up there. Lol.). Although I had to contend with notes handwritten by the previous book’s owner, I still found this craft book valuable particularly in the query waters I’ll soon be entering. Richard Balkin discusses all the fine points of a book and magazine contract and what to watch for and when to compromise. There’s even a section on agents versus lawyers as representation.
I’m sure today’s contracts may vary from this but I think it’s a good basis as to what to expect when it comes to legalities. He also covers both trade book and specialty publishers. For someone who doesn’t know the first thing about contracts, I feel better informed now that I’ve read this book. I will feel more comfortable as well when I take his advice and tell the publisher, “I want to think that point over and get back to you on that.” Better to wait until you’re sure on a point than making a deal that’s not in your best interest.