Author contracts

A single author contract can be critical to the business of a publisher – not to mention the livelihood of an author. Publishers should take great care to ensure that every contract they enter into properly protects their interests; and authors likewise. 

We regulary draft author agreements and other publishing-related legal documents, generally acting on behalf of small publishers, and you can get a quote for an agreement by completing and submitting this form

Alternatively, we supply a selection of different author agreements, available at:

There are at least 15 key questions that most author contracts should unambiguously answer:

  1. What does the author have to supply to the publisher?
  2. When must the work be supplied to the publisher?
  3. Which party will own which rights in the work?
  4. What licences will each party be granted to exploit the other’s rights?
  5. To what extent can those rights be passed on to others (sub-licensed)?
  6. Who is responsible for obtaining ancillary works, notably artwork?
  7. Which party is responsible for clearing rights in third party works?
  8. To what extent is the publisher obligated to publish the work?
  9. If the work must be published, then when?
  10. How will the author be remunerated in respect of the supply and exploitation of the work by the publisher?
  11. What procedures will be followed in relation to payments and, where necessary, their verification?
  12. What will happen if the publisher fails to exploit the work – or fails to exploit it adequately?
  13. Will the publisher have any obligations to publish future works, and will the author have any obligations to give the publisher a right of first refusal in relation to future works?
  14. In what circumstances may the parties terminate the agreement?
  15. Post-termination, what continuing rights do the parties have in relation to the work?

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