Book Publishing Agreement Template

A book publishing agreement is a formal legal document between an author and a publisher. The contract spells out the terms and conditions of the publication of the literary work.


Here's what you'll find in the Book Publishing Contract :


  • A contract template between an author and a publisher.
  • Tips for things to avoid, key items to pay attention to, and general resources which may be helpful
  • Advice on getting contracts signed quickly, digitally, and legally

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What is in the Book Publishing Agreement Template?


  • An easy to follow template unique to the publication of literary works.
  • Practical tips on drafting your very own publication agreement.


Components of a Book Publishing Agreement


A book publishing agreement has unique elements. For example, an author may ask for a royalty or other forms of payments. A book publishing agreement also specifies the format of the book to be published. The agreement also details other rights of the author and the publisher.


All terms must be clearly identified in the agreement. Verbal agreements outside of the contract are generally not enforceable. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry. Leaving out essential terms can lead to disagreements and potential legal action.


7 Essential Elements of a Book Publishing Contract


Description of Literary Work – This part of the contract provides a brief description of the work and its tentative or official title. It is also a good idea to add other specifications about the literary work as an exhibit to the agreement. This illustrates the parties’ understanding of the literary work at the time the contract was signed.

Author’s Grant of Rights and Subsidiary Rights – Subsidiary rights, or sub-rights are a crucial part of a book publishing agreement. This part of the contract spells out the rights the author is granting to the publisher to publish and sell the literary work. The rights provided to the publisher include what format the book will be published in.

The most common format includes trade hardcover, trade paperback, mass-market paperback, audiobook, and electronic book format (e-book). Other details may consist of the languages the book may be printed in, such as English or Spanish. Further details include the use of the author’s names and the author’s reservation of rights.


Manuscript Delivery, Deadlines, and Revisions – This is a vital part of a publishing contract. The contract should spell out the exact delivery dates, deadlines, formats, and revision process in the agreement. This provision usually includes how many copies the author is obligated to deliver to the publisher and the format (paper or electronic).

This portion of the agreement should also include the time the publisher has to make edits and how long the author has to revise the agreement once the revisions have been provided. Additionally, the agreement may include how many days the publisher has to deliver the original manuscript back to the author after the literary work’s publication.


Compensation and Royalties – The payment structure will vary from contract to contract. Publishers generally pay an advance or partial advance to the author. Details of any royalty payments afforded to the author should be explicitly detailed in the agreement along with the payment schedule and royalty statements. Not all publishing agreements may offer royalties. However, all forms of payment and agreements need to be clearly placed in the agreement.

Copyright – It is critical the book publishing agreement identify who is responsible for registering the literary work.

Termination of the Agreement – The agreement term may be perpetual or for a limited amount of time. A book publishing agreement should incorporate when and how a party can terminate the agreement. This usually surrounds non-payment or other breaches of the contract.

Boilerplate Provisions – The majority of contracts include “boilerplate” language. Boilerplate language refers to standard contract provisions. This includes clauses such as confidentiality, representations and warranties, indemnification provisions, assignment rights, amendments, governing law, dispute resolution, severability, and other general provisions.

Since book publishing agreements are different from other contracts, it is worth your while to consult with an attorney. An attorney can review state-specific laws and other details that may need to be included in the agreement based upon the details of the deal.


Preview of Contract: