Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obligatory Morals...

Apparently HARPER COLLINS has added some new language to their contracts:
New language in the termination provision of the Harper’s boilerplate gives them the right to cancel a contract if “Author’s conduct evidences a lack of due regard for public conventions and morals, or if Author commits a crime or any other act that will tend to bring Author into serious contempt, and such behavior would materially damage the Work’s reputation or sales.” The consequences? Harper can terminate your book deal. Not only that, you’ll have to repay your advance. Harper may also avail itself of “other legal remedies” against you.

There is quite a wave of response to this in the blogsphere, including the an initial posting from Richard Curtis (quoted above), a spicy offering from Ursula Leguin, and a fun romp from Jock Stewart.  Steve Laube offers a somewhat different take, citing the standard MO of Christian Book publishers.

While I ruminate...what do you all think?


  1. Wow. That's unbelievable. My husband keeps remarking that the publishers are killing publishing. Times like this, I think he's right.

  2. HA! I Love that! It's printed in orange Snooki's fake tan.

  3. I don't think it's that big of a deal. Harper is a business and they have a brand and name to protect.

    My guess is that they expect writers to lean a *little* eccentric, but they don't want to be handcuffed to a loose cannon or psycho.

    Twitter: @aljmac

    P.S. Great blog. It's fun to find another writer with a passion for ghost stories.

  4. I agree...I always assumed such a clause already existed. However, the language of their clause is a little too broad. While I would like to think we can assume the best, I've learned all too well that you have to get it specifically in writing.

    Thanks for stopping by! Great to have another ghost fan, too!

  5. I find it unusual, but they're running a business and are concerned about sales. But "public conventions and morals" can be subjective.


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