Monday, 12 April 2010

How to read a publishing contract (3)



If your book is illustrated, there may be clause covering the illustrations.


3. Illustrations
The Publishers shall at their own expense reproduce any photographs, pictures, diagrams, maps or any other material in addition to the Author's illustrations which is considered necessary for the proper illustration of the Work. All photographs shall, when done with, be returned to the photographic agencies by the Publishers. Any material belonging to the Author shall be returned to him by the Publishers. The Publishers shall have the right to require such amendments or corrections by the Author to the illustrative material as they think fit.

This can look a bit scary, but don't worry - it doesn't mean you have to do anything you weren't expecting. The first bit means you don't have to pay for the licence to use any pictures. These might be pictures from a picture agency, or specially commissioned photographs or illustrations. In an academic book, you MAY have to pay for the use of illustrations, but this is a contract for a commercial fiction title and this is the standard - the publisher pays all reproduction costs.


The reference to the Author's illustrations doesn't mean you are expected to supply any illustrations - this is just a standard clause. If you are the author/illustrator of a picture book, you will already know you are providing illustrations. The book this contract relates to doesn't have any illustrations (or I don't think it does.... haven't seen the pdfs yet!) but the clause is still here. It will, of course, have a cover illustration, so that counts.

All photographs shall, when done with, be returned to the photographic agencies by the Publishers -
This is an old bit, left in from the Dark Ages. Now, the photographs (if there are any) will be selected online and you will be sent thumbnails, or links to the light box on the picture agency site, or you will see them when they are in the layouts and you get a pdf. The publisher will never be in receipt of a physical copy of the photograph, they will just pay to download a high-resolution image file, so there is no returning to be done.

Long, long ago, when we had to use real physical photos, publishers would sometimes send copies of photos out to authors. This was very scary, as you could lose them, or spill coffee on them, or your child/cat could be sick on them, and then you had to pay a large fee to the picture agency. Thank God we don't have that any more.

Any material belonging to the Author shall be returned to him by the Publishers - This usually refers to any artwork roughs or reference you have sent (unless you are a real illustrator). Artwork roughs are sketches of the picture required. They are not to be reproduced in the book but passed to the illustrator so that (s)he knows what to drawn. Reference is any picture that can be used to guide the illustrator. It is an image that is more finished than a rough, but may not show exactly what to draw. For instance, if a map is needed, the reference may be a copyright image that shows exactly what is required, and the illustrator will draw something pretty similar. But reference may also be a picture of the type of hat a character in a larger picture must have, or a photograph on which a biological illustration is to be based, or almost anything else.

If you are the illustrator, you will have sent original artwork and perhaps a dummy (a small, rough, mock-up of the book showing how all the words and pictures are laid out). These should be returned to you. Never send anything without taking a copy. Obviously. Of course you weren't going to do that, were you? Even if you hand-deliver it, take a good quality copy.


The Publishers shall have the right to require such amendments or corrections by the Author to the illustrative material as they think fit - If you are the illustrator of the work, this means you have to make changes the publishers want. If you are not the illustator, don't worry about this. It basically means you might have to add annotation or suggest changes the illustrator can make. Sometimes, I do these by marking up the picture in Photoshop, but you can often do it just by giving a description. In the worst case, you can print it out, add your changes in pen and either put in the post (remember the post?) or scan it in. It doesn't mean you actually have to make the changes to the finished illustration (if you're not the illustrator) - so you can start breathing again.

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