Author Rights and Responsibilities

“Author Rights and Responsibilities” by Rachelle Gardner was originally published on RachelleGardner.com

This article was reblogged from Rachelle Gardner’s blog. I am a big fan of this blog, which is dedicated to providing information for writers and thought that you all would enjoy this particular article. Rachelle is a literary agent with Books and Such Literary Agency based in California. She works at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and describes herself as a voracious reader, a mom, a firefighter’s wife, and a huge fan of Starbucks. I wrote Rachelle and asked her if I could reblog the article; she kindly obliged.

bill-of-rightsI believe that as an author, you can expect certain rights when it comes to dealing with agents and publishers. I also believe that rights come with responsibilities. Here are a few that come to mind:

1. You have the right to decide whether or not to seek agency representation, and which type of publishing to pursue.
→You have the responsibility to educate yourself about your options.

2. You have the right to fair and ethical representation from your agent.
→You have the responsibility to make sure you understand the terms of your Agency Agreement.

3. You have the right to good communication from your agent.
→ You have the responsibility to be a good communicator also, not expecting your agent to read your mind or know how you feel unless you tell them.

4. You have the right to know which publishers your work is sent to, and what their responses are.
→ You have the responsibility to trust your agent’s choices in this regard, and to ask questions when you don’t understand or disagree.

5. You have the right to make decisions about your work, with or without the input of your agent.
→ You have the responsibility to discuss those choices with your agent, keeping him/her informed so they can properly represent you.

6. You have the right to be paid in a timely manner.
→ You have the responsibility to understand when your payments are due according to your contract.

7. You have the right to have your questions answered respectfully by your agent and publisher.
→ You have the responsibility to be respectful of your agent’s and publisher’s time, scheduling phone calls when necessary and otherwise allowing them time to respond.

8. You have the right to end your relationship with your agent.
→ You have the responsibility to understand your Agency Agreement and the terms for termination.

9. You have the right to a fair publishing contract that doesn’t unreasonably tie up your rights or keep you from profiting from your ideas or speaking engagements.
→ You have the responsibility to understand all terms of anything you sign.

10. You have the right to see a marketing plan from the publisher, and to follow up making sure the publisher is delivering on their plan.
→ You have the responsibility to augment the publisher’s marketing plan with one of your own.

11. You have a right to a reversion of rights when the book has been declared out of print according to the terms of the contract.
→ You have the responsibility to request reversion of rights from your publisher at the appropriate time (in consultation with your agent).

12. You have the right to communication from your publisher regarding schedules, editorial, cover design, and marketing.
→ You have the responsibility to ask questions when you don’t know what’s going on.

Do you agree with these? What other rights and responsibilities can you think of?

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