Friday, August 03, 2007

Anatomy Of An Agency Agreement—Part Three

STATUS: TGIF and all I can say is that I need it.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BITTERSWEET by Big Head Todd & The Monsters

Commissions/Agency Clause
Just as the heading suggests, this is where I outline my commission structure. It’s pretty standard in the industry to use 15% (rather than 10) but subrights commissions can vary from agency to agency. Some do 20% for film and translation. Some do 15% for film. and some do 25% for translation rights.

All of these structures are within the norm.

This clause also highlights that the agency will remit payments within one business week of receipt of publisher payment. (Peace of mind for the author so they’ll know that payment is prompt.)

There are some protection features for the agency as well. For example, if an author reneges on a publishing contract stipulation and they are completely at fault (by let’s say not delivering the manuscript—ever—because they’ve gone bonkers and are now living in a non-tech commune or something), then the author is responsible for refunding the full advance to the publisher. Since I did my job and the agency is not at fault, I get to keep the 15% paid to me and the author will have to make up the difference from his/her own pocket.

This has never happened by the way but it’s important for writers to know that they need to be fully responsible for their agreement if they sign a publisher contract.

I also have this clause in the paragraph:
“There will be an Agency clause in the Author-publisher contract stating the terms of this agency agreement and it is understood that the agency clause will be for the full term of that contract only and not in perpetuity.”

And that’s there for obvious reasons. No surprises when the publisher contract arrives.