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Book Publishing Contract Template

Here's what you'll find in the Book Publishing Contract :

  • A contract template between an author and a publisher.
  • Tips for things to avoid, key items to pay attention to, and general resources which may be helpful
  • Advice on getting contracts signed quickly, digitally, and legally
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Book Publishing Agreement Template

A book publishing agreement is a formal legal document between an author and a publisher. The contract spells out the terms and conditions of the publication of the literary work.

What is in the Book Publishing Agreement Template?

  • An easy to follow template unique to the publication of literary works.
  • Practical tips on drafting your very own publication agreement.
  • Details about ApproveMe’s easy E-Signature tool.

Components of a Book Publishing Agreement

A book publishing agreement has unique elements. For example, an author may ask for a royalty or other forms of payments. A book publishing agreement also specifies the format of the book to be published. The agreement also details other rights of the author and the publisher.

All terms must be clearly identified in the agreement. Verbal agreements outside of the contract are generally not enforceable. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry. Leaving out essential terms can lead to disagreements and potential legal action.

7 Essential Elements of a Book Publishing Contract

  1. Description of Literary Work – This part of the contract provides a brief description of the work and its tentative or official title. It is also a good idea to add other specifications about the literary work as an exhibit to the agreement. This illustrates the parties’ understanding of the literary work at the time the contract was signed.
  2. Author’s Grant of Rights and Subsidiary Rights – Subsidiary rights, or sub-rights are a crucial part of a book publishing agreement. This part of the contract spells out the rights the author is granting to the publisher to publish and sell the literary work. The rights provided to the publisher include what format the book will be published in.

The most common format includes trade hardcover, trade paperback, mass-market paperback, audiobook, and electronic book format (e-book). Other details may consist of the languages the book may be printed in, such as English or Spanish. Further details include the use of the author’s names and the author’s reservation of rights.

  1. Manuscript Delivery, Deadlines, and Revisions – This is a vital part of a publishing contract. The contract should spell out the exact delivery dates, deadlines, formats, and revision process in the agreement. This provision usually includes how many copies the author is obligated to deliver to the publisher and the format (paper or electronic).

This portion of the agreement should also include the time the publisher has to make edits and how long the author has to revise the agreement once the revisions have been provided. Additionally, the agreement may include how many days the publisher has to deliver the original manuscript back to the author after the literary work’s publication.

  1. Compensation and Royalties – The payment structure will vary from contract to contract. Publishers generally pay an advance or partial advance to the author. Details of any royalty payments afforded to the author should be explicitly detailed in the agreement along with the payment schedule and royalty statements. Not all publishing agreements may offer royalties. However, all forms of payment and agreements need to be clearly placed in the agreement.
  2. Copyright – It is critical the book publishing agreement identify who is responsible for registering the literary work.
  3. Termination of the Agreement – The agreement term may be perpetual or for a limited amount of time. A book publishing agreement should incorporate when and how a party can terminate the agreement. This usually surrounds non-payment or other breaches of the contract.
  4. Boilerplate Provisions – The majority of contracts include “boilerplate” language. Boilerplate language refers to standard contract provisions. This includes clauses such as confidentiality, representations and warranties, indemnification provisions, assignment rights, amendments, governing law, dispute resolution, severability, and other general provisions.

Since book publishing agreements are different from other contracts, it is worth your while to consult with an attorney. An attorney can review state-specific laws and other details that may need to be included in the agreement based upon the details of the deal.

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Sometimes authors hit what is known as the dreaded “writer’s block.” Some resources can help you rediscover the elements of your work and get you back on track.

If you’re looking for some financial assistance while getting a writing project, book contract, or career off the ground, or want to share resources with writers you know or work with, here are a few resources to get started.

Author Grants:

Another beneficial tool in an author’s toolbox is the art of proofreading. Here are a few resources aimed at thoroughly reviewing your work to reduce or eliminate writing errors.

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Book Publishing Contract

This Book Publishing Agreement (the “Agreement”), is entered into on this ____ day of(the “Effective Date”), by and between ___________________________________ (“Author”), with an address of _____________________________________________________________________________________ and ___________________________________________________(“Publisher”), a _______________ organized in the state of _____________________________________ , whose principal office is located at __________________________________________________________________________________.

WHEREAS, the Author is or shall be the author of a literary work either tentatively or officially entitled _____________________________________________________________________________________as defined in Exhibit A attached to this Agreement.

WHEREAS, the Author desires to have the Publisher publish the literary work and the Publisher desires to publish the literary upon the terms and conditions set forth herein.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants, terms, and conditions set forth herein, and for other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and adequacy of which are hereby acknowledged, the parties hereto agree as follows:

Author’s Grant of Rights. Under the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Author hereby grants the below-referenced permissions to the Publisher for the full term of the United States copyright in the literary work, including any renewals and extensions thereof, the exclusive right throughout the world to:

a. print, publish, and sell the literary work in print book form in the English language, unless otherwise stipulated, and in languages other than English in the following editions:

❏ Trade hardcover
❏ Trade paperback
❏ Mass market paperback
❏ Other: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

b. authorize on the Author’s behalf the right to print, publish, and sell the literary work in the English language, unless otherwise stipulated, and in languages other than English:

❏ in trade or other hardcover, paperback, and large-type reprint editions
❏ as an audiobook
❏ As an electronic book (e-book)
❏ Other ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The aforementioned rights are referred to collectively herein as (“Subsidiary Rights”). The Publisher will provide the Author with copies of any Subsidiary Rights licenses granted to third parties under this Book Publishing Agreement. The Author may terminate the Publisher’s authorization to license any Subsidiary Right at any time after __________ [months/years] after the first publication of the United States trade hardcover edition of the literary work in the English language, for any country and/or language for which a license has not been granted, has terminated, or is potentially terminable.

Use of Author’s Name. The Publisher, and any licensees or assigns of the Publisher’s rights under this Agreement, have the right to use the Author’s name and any approved image,or the like, and biography for advertising, marketing, and promotion of the literary work and other rights permitted under this Agreement.

Author’s Reservation of Rights. All rights not expressly granted by the Author to the Publisher under this Agreement are reserved by the Author. The Author shall promptly notify the Publisher of the intention, exercise, or disposition (whichever is earlier) of any right that is reserved by the Author.

Manuscript Delivery. The Author shall deliver _______ copies of the final and complete manuscript of the literary work, as well as an electronic file in ______________________________________ format containing the manuscript of the literary work no later than ___________________________________ (“Manuscript Due Date”).

❏ The Author shall also supply by the Manuscript Due Date, at the Author’s expense, all photographs, drawings, charts, indexes, or other materials mutually agreed upon as necessary to the completion of the manuscript. The Publisher will consult with the Author within ________ days of receipt of the manuscript whether or not the literary work is in the proper form or if any revisions are required.

❏ The Author will have ________ days/weeks to make such changes or revisions required by the Publisher. Should the Author fail to deliver the revised Manuscript within the prescribed time, the Publisher may terminate this Agreement upon written notice to the Author.
In the event the author does not deliver the complete manuscript of the literary work by the Manuscript Due Date, the Publisher may terminate this Book Publishing Agreement upon written notice to the Author. The Publisher also reserves the right to charge the cost against any sums procured to the Author.

a. If the Publisher terminates this Agreement all of the parties’ obligations under this Agreement cease except for those that expressly survive this Agreement. Should this occur, the Author agrees to return any advances already received within _______ days to the Publisher. If, after termination for non-delivery the Author does complete the Work, the Author sha;; first offer the literary work directly to the Publisher for consideration for publication on the terms and conditions set out in this Book Publishing Agreement before publishing the literary work or offering the literary work to another publisher. The obligations in this Section to return payments and to offer the literary work to the Publisher wholly survive the termination of this Book Publishing Agreement.

b. The Publisher shall return the original manuscript of the literary work to the Author within __________ days after its first publication.
Permissions. The Author shall obtain, at their own expense, all permissions and other allowances that the Publisher deems necessary for the inclusion of any subsumption, illustrative, or other material in the literary work chosen by the Author, and to deliver with the complete manuscript copies of all agreements, all appropriate copyright assignments including acknowledgements and copyright notices.

Editorial Revisions and Proofs. After the Publisher has accepted the literary work, no substantial changes shall be made to it without the Author’s prior express written approval. The Publisher, however, is permitted to copy edit the literary work in accordance with its preferred standards of grammar, spelling, usage, and style. The Publisher will send the copyedited literary work to the Author, who will make any corrections or revisions and return it to the Publisher no later than _______ days after its receipt.

The Publisher shall provide the Author with page proofs of the literary work, including any artwork, including cover art contained in the literary work. The Author will read, revise, and return all page proofs within ______ days of receipt. Should the Author fail to return the corrected page proofs in a reasonable amount of time,, the Publisher may publish the literary work without the Author’s approval.

Publication. The Publisher shall consult the Author concerning the contents, size, and placement of literary work’s cover art, dust jacket, Author’s photograph, placement of the Author’s credits, biography, placement, and any marketing and other such materials in relation to the promotion of the literary work.

The Publisher will publish the literary work in the United States of America in trade hardcover book form, or other agreed upon format listed in this Book Publishing Agreement, in the_____________ language, at the Publisher’s expense, in the style and format and at amount determined by the Publisher, within ______ weeks/ months after acceptance of the literary work.

In the event the Publisher is unable to publish the literary work within the above-referenced time frame due to external events beyond the Publisher’s control, such as labor disputes, pandemics, war, or natural disasters, the Publisher shall publish the Work no later than ________ weeks/months after the termination of such circumstances.

If the Publisher sells First Serial Rights in the Work, publication of the literary work will be delayed no later than _______ weeks/ months after such publication.

Further, If the Publisher does not publish the literary work within the time periods set forth herein, the Author may terminate this Book Publishing Agreement upon written notice to the Publisher. Thenceforward all rights in the literary work shall revert to the Author who may retain any advance payments under this Book Publication Agreement as liquidated damages. The Author will not claim or seek any other actions (legal or equitable), damages, including specific performance, against the Publisher.

The Publisher shall use its best efforts to promote, advertise, and market the sale of copies of the literary work and to exploit the Subsidiary Rights granted to the Publisher in this Book Publishing Agreement. The Author will work with the Publisher in promoting the sale of copies of the literary work.

Advance. The Publisher shall pay the Author an advance the sum of $ ____________as follows:
❏ A partial advance in the amount of $ ________ upon execution of this Book Publishing Agreement;

❏ A partial advance in the amount of $ ________ upon the agreed upon delivery and acceptance of the complete manuscript of the literary work;
❏ A partial advance in the amount of $ ________ upon the publication of the literary work pursuant to the terms and conditions of this Book Publishing Agreement.

The advance is not repayable to the Publisher, provided that the Author has delivered the complete manuscript of the literary work in compliance with this Book Publishing Agreement and is not in default under this Book Publishing Agreement.

Payments. The Publisher shall provide the Author with semiannual statements of account in accordance with its routine accounting practices, together with payment for all amounts due for each such semi-annual royalty accounting period, during the _______ number of week(s) / month(s) following the close of each royalty accounting term, so long as any payments are due.

Payments must be made to the Author by credit card, money order, check, or any other approved method of payment accepted by the Service Provider. Payments must be mailed to: _____________________________________________________________________________________

Other terms of Payment include: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Royalties. The Publisher shall pay to the Author as royalties on sales, secondary to reasonable returns, the following percentages of the literary work’s suggested retail price: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Subsidiary Rights Royalties. The Publisher shall pay to the Author as royalties the following percentages of the Publisher’s net receipts received from the exploitation of Subsidiary Rights:

Reduced Royalties. The Publisher shall pay the Author reduced royalties as follows: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

No Royalties. The Publisher shall pay the Author no royalties on copies of the literary work as follows: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

United States Copyright. The Publisher is responsible for and shall register the copyright in the literary work with the United States Copyright Office in the Author’s name at the Publisher’s cost and publish the literary with copyright notice in the Author’s name in compliance with the United States Copyright Act, as amended, and additionally in conformity with Universal Copyright Convention, and shall requireany licensees to do the same. Both parties will execute all documents required to assign, preserve, protect record, renew, or effectuate the rights contained herein.
Any other material (textual or illustrative) or other material prepared for the literary work by the Publisher at its sole expense may be copyrighted independently as the Publisher deems appropriate.

Copyright Infringement. In the event of any infringement of the literary work by others, the Publisher may at its discretion take action or engage in such remedies as it finds appropriate, and all proceedings shall be at the joint expense of the Author and the Publisher. Further, the net proceeds of any recovery shall be divided equally between them, but the Author shall not be liable for any expenditure in excess of $ _________ initiated by the Publisher without the Author’s previous written consent. Should the Author not consent to all expenditures, any recovery shall be divided between the Publisher and the Author in the ratio of their respective expenditures.

Author’s Free Copies of Literary Work. The Publisher shall give the Author ____ free copies of each physical edition of the published literary work. The Author can purchase more copies of the literary work at a discounted rate of _____ % from the Publisher’s suggested retail price, or the best discount price offered by the Publisher, whichever price is lower, given that the copies of the literary work are for personal use and not for resale.

Confidentiality. Throughout the duration of this Agreement, it may be necessary for the parties to have access to each other’s confidential and protected information for the sole purpose of performing the Services subject to this Agreement.
The parties are not permitted to share or disclose such confidential information whatsoever, unless mandated by law, without written permission from the disclosing party. The parties’ obligation of confidentiality will survive the termination of this Book Publishing Agreement and stay in place indefinitely.

Representations and Warranties. The Publisher represents and warrants to the Author that it holds the right to enter into this Book Publishing Agreement and to perform all terms in this Book Publishing Agreement

The Author represents and warrants to the Publisher that:

a. The Author is the sole author of the literary work and the only owner of the rights granted in this Book Publishing Agreement, has not pledged, assigned, or otherwise impede upon them, and holds the full authority and right right to enter into this Book Publishing Agreement and convey the rights given to the Publisher;

b. The literary work is completely original and previously unpublished, except for any of the following if applicable: ___________________________________________________________

c. The Author represents to the best of their knowledge that the Work does not violate or infringe upon any copyright, trademark, or trade secret of others and contains no material that is salacious or, libelous, or harmful so as to subject the Publisher to any liability to any third party, or otherwise adversely in violation with the law.

Indemnification and Release. The Author agrees to take all necessary precautions to prevent injury to any persons or damage to property during the term of this Agreement, and shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Publisher, its officers, directors, shareholders, employees, representatives and/or agents from any claim, liability, loss, cost, damage, judgment, settlement or expense (including attorney’s fees) resulting from or arising in any way out of injury (including death) to any person or damage to property arising in any way out of any act, error, omission or negligence on the part of the Author or any of the Author’s employees in the performance or failure to fulfill any obligations under this Agreement.

Term and Termination. This Book Publishing Agreement shall be effective on the date hereof and shall continue for a period of _______ ([month[s]/year[s]) or until the expressly agree upon date of the completion of the Services, unless it is earlier terminated in accordance with the terms of this Agreement (the “Term”).

If either Party subject to this Agreement fails to follow through with their obligations under this Book Publishing Agreement, the non-breaching Party can terminate this Agreement by providing ____ day written notice to the breaching Party.

The Publisher understands that the Author may terminate this Agreement at any time if the Publisher fails to pay for the Services provided under this Agreement or if the Publisher breaches any other material provision listed in this Agreement in the manner as defined above. Publisher agrees to pay any outstanding balances within _____ days of termination.

Time is of the Essence. The Author hereby understands and acknowledges that time is of the essence with respect to their obligations defined in this Agreement and that prompt and timely performance of all such obligations is strictly required.

Upon the termination or expiration of this Agreement, any rights reverting to the Author will remain subject to all licenses and other grants of rights made by the Publisher to third parties under this Agreement. Other terms include: _________________________________________________________.

No Assignment. This Agreement shall inure to and be binding upon the undersigned and their respective heirs, representatives, successors and permitted assigns. This Agreement may not be assigned by either party without the prior written consent of the other party.
Amendment. This Agreement may be amended only by a writing signed by all of the Parties hereto.

Severability. If any term or provision of this Agreement is invalid, illegal, or unenforceable in any jurisdiction, such invalidity, illegality, or unenforceability shall not affect any other term or provision of this Agreement or invalidate or render unenforceable such term or provision in any other jurisdiction.

Notices. All notices or requests required or contemplated by this Agreement shall be in writing and (a) if from the Author to the Publisher, shall be hand-delivered or mailed to _____________________________________________________________________________________, or such other address as the Author Shall specify in written notice to the Publisheror (b) if from the Publisher to the Author, shall be hand-delivered or mailed to ____________________________________________________________________________________, or such other address as the Publisher shall specify in written notice to the Author.

Dispute Resolution. Parties to this Agreement shall first attempt to settle any dispute through good-faith negotiation. If the dispute cannot be settled between the parties via negotiation, either party may initiate mediation or binding arbitration in the State of ________________.
If the parties do not wish to mediate or arbitrate the dispute and litigation is necessary, this Agreement will be interpreted based on the laws of the State of _________________, without regard to the conflict of law provisions of such state. The Parties agree the dispute will be resolved in a court of competent jurisdiction in the State of ______________________.

Governing Law. This Service Agreement shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the State of ___________________ without regard to the conflict of law provisions of such state. This Agreement shall be binding upon the successors and assigns of the respective parties.
Captions for Convenience. All captions herein are for convenience or reference only and do not constitute part of this Agreement and shall not be deemed to limit or otherwise affect any of the provisions hereof.

No Waiver. No waiver of or failure to act upon any of the provisions of this Agreement or any right or remedy arising under this Agreement shall be deemed or shall constitute a waiver of any other provisions, rights or remedies (whether similar or dissimilar).
Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which together shall be deemed to be one and the same agreement. A signed copy of this Agreement delivered by facsimile. email, or other means of electronic transmission shall be deemed to have the same legal effect as delivery of an original signed copy of this Agreement.

Electronic Signatures. This Agreement and related documents entered into in connection with this Agreement are signed when a party’s signature is delivered electronically, and these signatures must be treated in all respects as having the same force and effect as original signatures.
Entire Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the sole and entire agreement of the Parties regarding the subject matter contained herein, and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous understandings, agreements, representations, and warranties, both written and oral, regarding such subject matter. This Agreement may only be amended, modified, or supplemented by an agreement in writing signed by each Party hereto.

[Signatures on Following Page]

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned have executed this Book Publishing Agreement effective as of the ____________ day of ________________, 20__ (the “Effective Date”).

Dated: _____________________________

Publisher’s Signature
Publisher’s Printed Name or Entity

Author’s Signature
Author’s Printed Name or Entity

Publisher’s Contact Information:
Address: ______________________________
Phone Number: _________________________
Email Address: _________________________

Author’s Contact Information:
Address: ______________________________
Phone Number: _________________________
Email Address: _________________________



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