*****DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY! AS ALWAYS, IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT ANYTHING YOU'RE SIGNING, CONSULT A LICENSED LAWYER*****
This is a layman interpretation of the contract.
First off, you can find the agreement here.
Go read it before you begin.
Now, this contract (because that's what it is and why you have to be 18+) has two parts: Submission and Publishing Terms. I'll break it down by section. Items in bold are ones to pay close attention to (I'll explain at the end). Remember, everything in the Publishing Terms section goes into effect the day your work is selected. Any time referenced is measured by that date.
Let's start with Submission.
1 - ELIGIBILITY - ACCOUNT
- 1.1 - This is all about saying you're 18 or up, have all copyrights, and are able to enter into a legally binding contract.
- 1.2 - You have an Amazon account and are yourself (not using someone else's ID).
3 - EXCLUSIVITY PERIOD - They own all of the above for no less than 45 days. If you're selected, the second part of the contract becomes effective immediately (no signing required) upon notification.
4 - YOUR SUBMISSION - Your work is theirs to do with as they please concerning sharing (not changes). You may offer excerpts for free on blogs and such, but can't sell any part of your work. If you want your work removed after (and weren't chosen), you must submit the request in writing.
Now, on to Publishing Terms.
5 - RIGHTS - All of the company and their affiliates have rights to your work that you can't break out of (that's what irrevocable means). They may shorten the work, edit the work, or add your work to a collection of other works at their choosing. This does not (according to section 7, allow them to perform edits without your permission).
6 - REVERSION - (broken down into 6 sections)
- 6.1 - These terms auto-renew every five years (from selection date) that you don't make at least 25k (that's at least 5k per year). You can request your rights back in writing if you don't make that amount.
- 6.2 - You may request, in writing, to get your rights back under the following circumstances:
- 6.2.1 - Your work was not made available for sale within six months.
- 6.2.2 - If you don't make at least $500 in the second 12 months of the first two years.
- 6.2.3 - If the audio version hasn't been made available within 2 years.
- 6.2.4 - If the work isn't available in a specific language (outlined in the contract), you can have the rights to the work in that language back (remember, this must be done in writing).
- 6.3 - Any reversion (getting your book back) will depend on who else has rights (they get to keep those rights if the agreement was made before you get your book back). All shares those entities were entitled to stay in place. If you get your book back via one of the stipulations above, you get to keep your advance ($1500 is paid to you when you're selected).
8 - ADVANCE, PRICING, ROYALTIES, PAYMENT
- 8.1 - Your $1500 advance is paid within 30 days of the date they get your final work and payee info, and is considered a royalty payout. This means the first $1500 your book makes goes back to the publisher.
- 8.2 - They set the price of the work, and own all customer data.
- 8.3 - They'll pay you royalties as follows (Net Revenue means how much they actually make from each sale and does not include promotional copies, samples, or excerpts, and subtracts delivery costs, returns, and taxes):
EBook = 50% of net revenue
Audio = 25% of net revenue
Translated EBook = 20% of net revenue
- 8.4 - 75% of net revenue on sub-licensed translated versions (less above subtractions and fees), 50% of all other sub-licensed sales.
- 8.5 - You'll get a monthly sales report. Payouts are 60 days past the end of the month. If it's a third-party sale, you get the payout 60 days after they receive payment.
- 8.6 - They can withhold payment of royalties, offset against future royalties, or require you to pay them back money (as described below). This does not limit the ways in which they're allowed to withhold payment.
- 8.6.1 - If there are returns after a payment is made, they can withhold payment in the future or require you to pay them back.
- 8.6.2 - If a third party claims you violated rights by claiming part of your work, they have the right to not pay you anything further and can make you repay them.
- 8.7 - You're responsible for your taxes. They'll pay theirs and will provide you with any documentation you may need to pay yours.
10 - PROMOTION - They get to determine how to promote your work. You may use 10% of the work to promote yourself on blogs or websites, but can't use their name unless it's on the cover.
11 - REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES - You agree that the work is original and you have the right to sign it all over. You agree there is no libel (harmful statements about anyone), and your work doesn't break any kind of laws. You've never sold the work before, and anything you say is true, is. Your work won't bring harm to the user.
12 - YOUR INDEMNITIES - You agree not to sue them for any perceived loss. They can sue you for not upholding the agreement.
13 - NO OBLIGATION TO MAKE OR SELL - TERMINATION BY THEM - They don't have to sell your work and have the right to stop doing so at any time without telling you. They can cancel the contract with written (e-mail is fine) notification if you breach your contract per item 11 or if you fail to uphold your end of the agreement.
14 - LIMITATION OF LIABILITY - They aren't responsible for losses, damages, or theft, in any way (verbatim: WE SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM). All they're responsible for are your payments.
15 - EXECUTION OF FURTHER AGREEMENTS AND DOCUMENTS - They may need physically signed documents from you. If you don't provide them within 30 days per their instructions, you give them the right to sign for you and it's all legally binding.
16 - DISPUTES - You agree not to go to court if you have any kind of dispute. You'll use binding arbitration instead (definition: a neutral third party makes the final decision - reference here). You must follow directions listed in this section to make a claim. You agree not to join a class-action (more than one person) suit. You may take them to court over infringement claims, and they may do the same to you.
17 - APPLICABLE LAW - This is all legal according to this law: Federal Arbitration Act (Wiki link).
18 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
- 18.1 - All notices must be given in writing. Effective date is sent date or postmarked date (this includes a provision for e-mails).
- 18.2 - This agreement comes before any other agreements made.
- 18.3 - No modifications may be made unless done in writing and agreed to by everyone.
- 18.4 - This agreement doesn't mean you're partners or are in a joint venture. You can't transfer it, and neither can they. It's enforceable by your successors or assignees.
- 18.5 - If either party doesn't enforce part of the agreement, it doesn't mean they can't at a later date. If any ruling in court says any part of the agreement can't be enforced, it doesn't have any effect on the rest of the agreement. You won't assume things because they're the ones that wrote the agreement.
- 18.6 - The following sections will survive the termination of the agreement (those are the ones in bold): Sections 4, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.
So, now you can make a decision.
Again, if you have any questions, I urge you to print out the agreement and take it to an attorney for further clarification. It's pretty straightforward, in my opinion.
I love contracts. I think they exist to protect both parties. If you're working with someone who doesn't require one, you need to be asking why.
What do you think? Remember, PLAY NICE!
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!