1. Ollpheist
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    Ollpheist Member

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    Lawyers?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Ollpheist, Aug 6, 2011.

    I don't believe it is necessary, but is it even advisable to have a lawyer involved in the publishing process at all? I'd appreciate your opinions.
     
  2. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    For new writer, the answer is generally no. One the other hand, if you think you may have a potential run-away bestseller and plan to work through an agent and conventional publisher, then you certainly do need a laywer and need to be very careful about the contract with the publisher. A good agent can help you and can assist you in finding a laywer to advise you as to the contract, royalty payments, reprint rights, international publication rights, etc.
     
  3. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think if you're getting into the publishing industry for the first time, all you need is a reputable agent. They know the ins and outs of publishing contracts well enough for you not to require a lawyer.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You should consult a literary lawyer before signing any contracts. Certainly I would hope the agent or publisher you sign with is reputable, but you don't want to get stuck in a contract with a seemingly innoccuous clause that cheats you out of profits or customary rights.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you don't have an agent, it's a good idea to have a literary attorney look over the contract before you sign it, since you won't be familiar with a lot of the terminology and there may be clauses/terms in it that aren't to your advantage at best, could be disastrous at worst...
     
  6. JSLCampbell
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    JSLCampbell Member

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    And that includes when signing with an agent too?






    People seem to be suggesting that your agent will act as a lawyer in this situation when you agree with a publisher, but don't you sign with your agent? (and consequently could get scammed at this stage?)



    I know very little about this process at the moment as I'm not near enough to completing any of my novels right now. I planned to do research once I began to think about going to agents with a finished novel.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If your agent wants you to sign a contract, by all means have a literary lawyer look it over.

    There are many scammers posing as agents, and they very well may try to trap you into a bad contract.
     
  8. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm assuming a literary Lawyer would cost you a fair amount of money? On the internet there are various ways to check the authenticity of an agent. I can only assume that for some agents it's not really worth the money as a reputable agent would give you a standardized contract ie. they're entitled to 15% of the author's income, and 20% for international sources. The markers include: strong internet presence, predators and editors approved, long client list, long business history, positive client testimonials on neutral forums, mentioned by other reputable agents on their blogs/websites, have regularly updated blogs of their own)

    Of course if you have doubts then it would be very wise to go over the contract with a lawyer, and if any irregularities are detected, I wouldn't change the contract, I'd change my agent.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that until I had experience with and a relationship with an agent, and trusted them, I'd use a lawyer. Yes, it's possible, or perhaps even likely, that the lawyer might cost as much as I'd earn on the published work. But unless I'm writing to earn desperately needed money - essentially, unless I don't also have a day job - that really wouldn't be the point.

    For me, the purpose of early published works would be to gain experience and build a reputation to move on to later published works. Those later works might make a profit. I'd be paying money now to ensure that I don't sign a contract that might harm my reputation and rights in the future, and if that costs me money now, that's OK.

    ChickenFreak
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's a matter of being safe over being sorry... and it always costs money to make money, so an attorney's consult fee is just an investment in your writing career's future...
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Having a lawyer spend a half hour or hour reviewing a contract won't cost that much.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    exactly!

    it's just 'the cost of doing business'... and writing for money/publication is a business!
     

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