Director’s Desk
Don’t Just Sign That Contract

September 2004
by Jan Nathan, Executive Director, PMA

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“Remember–when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” So my dad told me when I was an impressionable 14-year-old who had received a letter from some bogus modeling agency telling me that they needed my female type for literally hundreds of unfilled, high-paying jobs. Forget the fact that just about all my friends had received the same letter. I believed that this was my intro to becoming rich and famous because I wanted to believe it.

I find myself repeating my father’s warning many times to people who call the PMA office to talk about the “offers” they have from companies that want to “publish” their books. Typically, the person on the phone tells me that the publisher at the XYZ Publishing Company has just read their manuscript and thinks it’s the best book they’ve read in a long time. In fact, XYZ is going to pay a 50 percent royalty on each book sold!

Like my father, I try to explain reality to that person, who (like me back then) is too revved up to listen.

Normally several months pass by, and then I receive another phone call from the same person, who is totally upset by what has happened. They’ve signed a contract–usually without reading anything but the provision they wanted to see, the 50 percent royalty. And they’ve started getting bills for design, editing, printing, marketing, sales, promotion. They’re appalled. But, looking more closely at the contract, they…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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