I am working with an Author and their lawyer on a Contract--help!

  • So I was recently contacted to work on a few spreads for an author doing a dark fairy tale graphic novel-style series. She has a lawyer who is writing up a contract, but I've never really dealt with contracts in this capacity before. Any tips on wording I should lookout for and things to require? So far I am only doing a few images for her kickstarter and a few spreads inside the book one the project is greenlighted, but there could be more, I'm not sure. I don't know how things work with book production.

    I haven't seen the contract yet, but it might be something excluding me from royalties or something. I dunno. Need advice if anyone has ever worked with an author like this before.

  • Don't do work on spec or for hire. If you see those terms, run.

    Do not give up all rights to your work. Sell first publication rights.

    Require cover credit for the artwork.

    Retain the copyright.

    Good work demands good pay.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    congrats on the job Kasey!

    If you haven't already watched my business class here at SVS, that is what I would recommend first. Then, download a copy of the Graphic Arts Guild book "Pricing and Ethical Guidelines". This book contains a massive amount of info and also sample contracts, etc.

    Here's a link if you need it:

    (I would order all of them if I were you).

    Good luck with your job! : )

  • I just ran into this same issue a few days ago and I'm still working through it. Thankfully, everyone here helped me a lot. Watch Lee's business class here at SVS - ESPECIALLY video #3!! It saved me from signing away my copyrights and potentially getting myself into some hot water.

    Make sure that you only give them first publication rights; make sure that there's nothing in the contract that says that you'll be sued if any future work looks similar to that work, because if your style is unique, you could be sued for just about anything; make sure that you aren't doing a 'work for hire' and absolutely make sure that you get a credit line everywhere the image is used so that you can get future work from it!

  • Thank you all so much for the advice! I just got the contract in my e-mail and am looking over it now.
    Here is a snippet of the letter that came with it:

    " Basically, the main contract details the business relationship, so we should both get a signed, notarized copy of that. That will remain the contract between us until one of us chooses to change it (for instance, if we collaborated on a project and needed to split the royalties or something). Then, for each project we would do together, we just use the addendum. So, for instance, for this initial promo image you're doing, that's what we'll put on the addendum. If, in the future, I'm able to commission more work for the project, the contract remains in place and we just do another addendum with the new scope of work. We can keep doing that indefinitely for any future projects. "

    Is that normal?

    It is a work for hire contract and I did respond requesting a First Publication Rights agreement instead.

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