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This is the worst publishing contract I have ever heard of

Not only do they lock up her rights forever, but they want the right to sit on every other book she might write for the next 21 years.

Why I rejected my publisher | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing

If you’ve poked around my site or been a subscriber for a while, you might remember that in November 2011, I received an offer of publication from a regional publisher, with a 2013 anticipated release. . . . Like any publishing offer, it was a long time coming.

Three years and two weeks after I started the novel. Two years after I submitted it to the same publishing house the first time (obviously they rejected it, and with good reason). Eighteen months after an editor at the publishing company told me not to bother resubmitting the revised, newly-award-winning manuscript. Almost nine months after I went ahead and did it anyway.
. . .
But my lawyer was more concerned with another issue, one that I was anticipating, but didn’t think it would be as bad as the reality. The contract demanded the right of first refusal on basically everything I might write for the next 21 years. If I submitted any work anywhere else, it would be deemed accepted by this publisher, and contractually obligated to them first. There was no timeline in the original contract, meaning they could spend three years sitting on my manuscript, before granting me one year to try to find someone else to take it (after which the time frame and rejection process would start over).

. . . .

I offered options, options I knew other authors had gotten added to their contracts with this company, and options I knew other publishers used. I gave some, and they gave a little.

Ultimately, however, they wouldn’t budge on the most important issue.

. . . .

I sent a final message to the publisher. I told them I didn’t want to burn any bridges, but I would need to see changes to these clauses of the contract.

They said no.

So I said no.

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