2.6 Signing the Contract/ MoA

category: Book Chapter,Chapter Section
by Alexis Leon


Once the proposal is accepted, the publisher will offer the contract to the author. Once the contract is signed, the author starts working on the book. The author and the acquisitions editor would have agreed on time schedules, milestones, deliverables, etc.

The contract of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is an agreement between the author(s) and the publisisher. As we have seen, the MoA is signed once the book proposal has been accepted by the publisher. But in some cases, the MoA will be signed as soon as the author has agreed to write the book the publisher wants. In some other cases, the MoA will be signed only after the manuscript is submitted to the publisher. When the MoA is signed, will depend on the relationship between the author and the publisher and who has the upper hand and bargaining power. The MoA will have the following items, but the list is by no means complete or exhaustive:

  1. Date of agreement.
  2. The names and addresses of the parties who sign the MoA—author(s) and publisher.
  3. Title of the book.
  4. Table of contents of the book – This can be the chapter names or the detailed table of contents.
  5. Rights – The details of who will own the rights like publication rights, copyright, translation rights, spinoff rights, etc.
  6. List of deliverables – The list of items and services that the author is supposed to provide the publisher and the publisher to the author.
  7. Time schedule – The detailed schedule all activities to be done by author and publisher till the book is released—from the submission of the manuscript, technical review, incorporation of corrections, copyediting, checking of the copyedited proofs, indexing, cover design, printing, launch, etc.
  8. Royalty – How the royalty will be paid—Yearly, half-yearly, quarterly, etc., the royalty percentage, how the royalty will be distributed in case of multiple authors, etc.
  9. Author copies – How many copies the author is supposed to get free on publication and after every reprint. Also mentioned will be the discount the author is entitled when purchasing more copies.
  10. Competing works – In this clause, the author agrees not to write any other work that will be compete with or will adversely affect the sales of the current book.
  11. Revisions – Here the author gives his assurance that he will revise the edition when the publisher requires one. If the author is unable or is unwilling to revise the book, this clause gives the publisher the power to get the book revised by others and to deduct their compensation against the author’s royalty.
  12. Termination – Details of termination of the MoA.
  13. Arbitration – What to do in case of a dispute between the author and the publisher.

Once the author(s) and the publisher agree to the terms and conditions of the MoA they will sign the MoA in the presence of two witnesses. Each party will keep a copy of the MoA for the records and future reference. The production department will refer to the MoA before preparing the preliminary pages of the book where the details like title, author names, affiliations, copyright information etc. are mentioned. We will see more about MoAs in later chapters.

[Note: This is the first draft of the book. I would require your comments, suggestions and feedback to make the book more useful, interesting, and as error free as possible. Please send your comments, suggestions and feedback to me.]


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