I just read through James Jís post and realized that I donít have a clue about contracts.
I walked (rapidly) away from one agency who wanted an exclusive right to every manuscript, character, setting and pen scratch I put to paper for five years. I should have guessed when they contacted me instead of the other way around. They showed up on P & E shortly after that- a new name for an old evil.
Does a Ďstandardí contract contain any rights to future books in the same series or using the same character, & if so under what conditions and for how long?
I spoke with one top level author whose first book became a movie. When asked what he thought of the movie he said he thought it was absolutely wonderful and he would never think of criticizing it in any way, especially after his agent pointed out a contract clause that made him potentially liable for any losses incurred by the producers as a result of negative comments from the author! Of course the contract gave him no input to the script. Is this normal? Does it extend to remarks about marketing or advertising?
Above all, do any agents post a sample contract? I have not seen one, and I use my regular breaks from beating my head on my manuscript to cruise agents and publisherís web sites.
I suspect a number of people out there are interested in reliable info on this subject. Does anyone know where should we be looking?