In your clutches..for HOW long??

A Snarkling is perusing her contract with a fine tooth comb:

Most model agreements have a clause saying either side can terminate with 30 days notice. What about a contract that says the term is for one year without the 30 day drop dead phrase? I can see this as good for the author as long as the agent is acting in good faith. Actually, unless the agent is acting in good faith, the duration of the contract seems to be a non-issue. What might be your thoughts, Miss Snark?

Ask your agent why they offer these terms. I know of several reputable agencies that do this but the reason they do has never come up during conversations in the speakeasy.

The important thing is that there is at least a way out. 30-day term clauses started cause there didn't used to be any way for author's to wriggle free of representation unless they litigated and showed cause, malfeasance, chicanery etc. Yuck. You don't want Miss Snark on your team? Ok, we're done. that was easy.

Good faith has a different meaning legally. It's a benchmark of measurable standards. It's not the same thing that you and I think of when we throw "good faith" around in casual conversation.
It's also not nearly the same thing as "effective".

I prefer to be held to the effective standard. If I'm not being effective for a client, and they are unhappy, they are entitled to say Sayonara Snarkbreath without having to show cause or demonstrate I didn't act in good faith. They can do it anytime, for any reason.


Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

Some agents are now requiring marketing plans with queries. Is this the coming thing or only reserved for a few agents? Can a writer's marketing plan spell the difference between getting a book sold or not? What's your take on the practice, is it helpful or an irritant?

Bernita said...

Thought I saw some small publishers who request the same thing.
Makes one wonder if those agents tend to submit only to same small publishers, rather than the big dogs.

Miss Snark said...

You're going to need a marketing plan to get NF published these days with ANY publisher, small or large. The only question is when do you need it in the query process.