What shlould an author know beforehand, when a publisher wants to purchase her manuscript? 2 Answers as of July 22, 2011

What shlould an author know beforehand, when a publisher desires to purchase her manuscript?

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Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, PLLC
Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, PLLC | Thomas Mansfield Dunlap
You should consider hiring a lawyer to assist you. The issues involved in selling a script include your royalty, artistic approval, content approval, IP rights to the work and derivative works and a host of other very important considerations that many authors do not consider, but can get roped into, without representation. Note that we recommend filing an application for copyright registration before pitching your script in most cases (Writers Guild registration does not give you any registration of the copyright).
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
Replied: 7/22/2011
ARC Law Group
ARC Law Group | Mark Pearson
There are several things to consider when approached by a publisher about your manuscript. First, what is the manuscript worth? This can be a complicated issue, and might involve the input of a literary agent or manager. You will also want to understand how compensation for authors works, including whether you will receive an advance and/or royalties on sales. From a legal standpoint the main issue is your "rights", namely copyright. What copyright rights does the publisher want, and for how long. By example, the publisher might want to right to publish the book in hardcover, with an option, or right of first refusal, for paperback. The publisher could ask for the exclusive rights to create derivatives (sequels), which might may or may not include your input. Some publishers want the right to shop your work for film and TV projects. These are but a few of the rights a publisher might be seeking. You would be well served to brush up on copyright law and I strongly suggest that you seek advice from counsel before signing any deal.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/13/2011
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