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05 December 2021

Publishing contracts

22 February 2022

When: Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 February, Tuesday 1 and Thursday 3 March 2022

Time: 10am to 11.30am

Format: Online (Zoom)


The aim of this course is:

  • to explain how the wording in a contract has a direct relevance to how the business you work in actually operates: the business methods and needs should dictate the terms, not the other way around
  • to enable you to be more confident in your understanding of the key elements of your contracts with your authors and illustrators (and others)
  • to demystify the concepts and jargon that can make these documents feel intimidating
  • to be an enjoyable sharing of knowledge and experience gathered from the front line, and definitely not a dry lecture.


The course is suitable for anyone:

  • just starting out in publishing generally or taking on contracts specifically
  • having a 1-5 years of publishing experience and looking to acquire more all-round knowledge
  • anybody who is responsible for the handling of author and illustrator contracts and wants to learn more of the 'dos' and 'don'ts' and the reasons for them
  • any manager or owner who wants to learn more about the benefits of a good contract and the pitfalls for one that is not so good

Session one

  • Making an offer
  • An introduction to basic copyright, moral rights and general legal issues (incl Third Party legislation)
  • Defining Volume/publishing/subsidiary rights/reserved rights

Session Two

  • Working through the main business terms of the Contract: Parties | Rights acquired | Territory | Identifying content of book to be delivered | Advances | Royalty High discount | Export | Reserves | Rights splits | Option
  • Agreeing eBook and eAudio terms: Royalty issues | Review provisions | Commitment to exploit/failure to exploit | Sub-licensing

Session Three

  • Working through the important background Clauses: Delivery and acceptance | Publication | Warranty and indemnity | Late payment and audits | Remainders | Termination by author | Assignment | Law Clause

Session Four

  • Publishing Scotland Publishing Members Code of Practice
  • Q+A
  • Recap of the key lessons
  • Further resources
  • My Top 10 Tips

Booking will close at midnight on Wednesday 15 February 2022.


Fee and booking

£150+VAT (PS and CIEP members); £200+VAT (non-members). Discount for BookMachine members (25%) with discount code. 

Book and pay on TicketTailor.


About the tutor

Kevin Stewart is a full-time publishing contracts consultant at Contracts For Publishing Ltd, working with an extremely diverse client list.

He has been delivering contracts training courses for more than ten years including many for Publishing Scotland.

Kevin has contributed to the two standard reference texts on the issue of publishing copyright: Clark's Publishing Agreements: a Book of Precedents and Publishing Law.


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You may also be interested in this free webinar on contracts from leasing Scottish law firm Harper Macleod on 25 January 2022.