in Book Publishing
the most important part of any contract is
setting out when things will happen.
means authors' deadlines, of course, but
it also has to do with payments, approvals,
It's not enough that the contract set out what
you will be paid, it must say very exactly when you
will be paid.
If your work is subject to approval by
the publisher, and, more importantly, if payment
is contingent upon approval, the "when"
An example: You submit your manuscript
right on deadline (party time!) You're supposed
to receive the second half of your advance or
fee upon approval. You're sure your work will
be approved because you're a good writer and
the editors have worked closely with you the
whole way. So. They don't reject it; but neither
do they approve it. Where's your money?
Read a contract carefully, and whenever you
read "if" and "then,"
make sure that the "then" is not open-ended.
example, payment upon approval should read, "Payment
will be made upon acceptance and approval of
the manuscript, or X days/weeks after receipt
of the manuscript by the publisher, whichever
You can prove date of receipt by registered
mail, so you'll know when you should be getting
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