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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Perry, Esq.

Tips on Delivering Your Manuscript

After the grant of rights provision, you may see a provision about delivering your manuscript. At a bare minimum, you may see language like the following:

“Author shall deliver to Publisher one copy of the complete, legible manuscript of the Work (the “Manuscript”) in the English language, satisfactory to Publisher in length, content and form, no later than [insert date].”

The first thing you want to do is define your Work (e.g., tentative title, word count, photos (black and white or color), an index, etc.). You need to be exact because your deliverable to the Publisher (i.e., your manuscript) is “satisfactory…in length, content, and form” to the Publisher What does that mean? Essentially, you’re telling the Publisher that you are delivering what you promised.

If your manuscript is 70,000 words, that means you are to deliver that and not a manuscript containing 1,000 words. If your book is about basketball, it means you are to deliver a manuscript about the sport and not about World War II. If you promised to deliver a nonfiction book, it means you’re delivering a nonfiction book and not a poem. In a nutshell, the Publisher wants to make sure that you are delivering a publishable manuscript (God forbid if something happens to you).

What this basic provision doesn’t include is what happens in between delivering the manuscript and publication. What happens if you miss your deadline? What if your manuscript isn’t satisfactory? There are a few things you can do to protect yourself. For example, you can ask the publisher to provide notice when your work is acceptable (and that you’ll be entitled to your portion of the advance). Another thing you can do is to require the publisher to tell you in writing why your manuscript isn’t acceptable, and to give you a period of time to revise. Finally, you can insert a first proceeds provision if your manuscript isn’t ultimately accepted so that you won’t have to return your advance until you obtain another publisher.

The information is not nor is it intended to be construed as legal advice. For any legal questions, please contact an attorney.


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