What does a contract between an author and publisher actually denote?


Once a research student has finished off with the creation of his/her research document, he/she would want to publish it in one of the most reputed research journals. By getting the manuscript published in a reputed research journal, the research scholar can in a way promote his/her manuscript and make it reach maximum number of readers residing in different corners of the world.


Before publishing the research document of a researcher into the journal, a written contract is being signed between the author (research scholar) and the chosen publisher. A book contract is a written agreement, signed by both parties, that provides for the author to deliver a manuscript on a given subject, at a given length, and by a given date, and for the publisher to undertake the costs and efforts of publication. Getting into signing a contract can prove to be a trust-worthy means of ensuring the entire process of publishing the research document would be a smooth journey.

Book contracts are wordy documents, sometimes dauntingly so. But despite their verbiage, book contracts are largely prefab structures. All the interesting details-money, copyright, timing, and so on-sit atop standard provisions, uniform throughout a given publishing house and reasonably similar among similar houses. Publishers call the standard language for the most basic provisions of an agreement.

A contact is an exchange of sorts. An author gives the publisher

  • A manuscript(or a promise of a manuscript )
  • The rights to publish that manuscript, and
  • A set of guarantees(without which the publisher wouldn’t be able to put the work into print)

The publisher gives an author

  • A promise to publish
  • A share in the future earnings and sometimes a royalties advance, which is a nonreturnable loan against those earnings and
  • The publisher’s protection of the author’s rights, through registration of copyright, in the name of either the author or the publisher.

I am sure by now you would have definitely understood the meaning of a contract signed between an author and a publisher.



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