Publishers and agents agree to speed up contracts

Publishers and agents agree to speed up contracts

Publishers and agents have agreed a set of guidelines for negotiating author contracts, following concerns author payments were being delayed. 

The Publishers Association (PA) and Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA)  said the guidelines were designed to “speed up the process for the benefit of all parties.”

Both publishers and agents had become concerned that delays in contract negotiations were leading to author payments being held up. A joint working group chaired by Maddie Mogford of Hachette UK and Anna Davis of Curtis Brown determined that publishers should commit to recognising the need for contracts to be resolved expediently, reviewing their acquisition, deal offer, contract and payment processes, providing agents with details of the members of their respective contracts teams on request and improving communications with agents, keeping them informed as to what stage the contract is at.

Meanwhile, agents should commit to giving clear instructions to publishers as to who the contracting party should be, notifying publishers’ contracts teams as soon as they become aware of any change in the status of the contracting party, informing publishers at the earliest opportunity in a deal negotiation of any possible territory restrictions, and carrying out due diligence to establish the copyright owner if the author is deceased.

Sam Edenborough, president of the AAA, said: "We're absolutely delighted that our joint contracts working group…has produced this excellent document. It's full of practical recommendations for our members and should help make the process of negotiating and signing contracts more efficient. This will have a real and positive impact on the authors represented by AAA members."

Richard Mollet, c.e.o of the PA, said: “We have been delighted to work with the AAA to create a better process for contract negotiations to ensure that authors continue to get the best possible support from publishers.  The simple measures identified will deliver tangible benefits for publishers and authors alike and demonstrate the value in such joint working.”