Noah Lukeman, President of Lukeman Literary Management and author of The First Five Pages, answers aspiring authors' questions about writing and getting published.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Hi Noah, What's the current state of the industry in regards to indemnity clauses in publishing contracts? In particular how often are these clauses "fair" (i.e. for breach of warranties only, indemnities only become active on final sustained judgment) and how often are these clauses "unfair" (i.e. indemnify for ALL claims, even frivolous ones). I ask because I've received a publishing contract with an indemnity clause which is, in my estimation, unfair. My agent says that's just the way it is now, but I'd like to be sure.
I don't want to get into specifics in giving legal advice, but I will say this: if you are dealing with a major, reputable publisher, then in my experience, most of the time, boilerplate legal clauses such as the indemnity clause, tend to be boilerplate and major houses rarely modify them. So if you have a reputable agent and a major, reputable house, I wouldn't worry too much. The concern tends to escalate when you go with smaller or unknown houses or agents.
Please feel free to ask Mr. Lukeman your questions about publishing (or about the craft of writing) by posting them in the "comments" section of the blog. He cannot answer every question, but will pick questions to respond to periodically. Please be advised that he is providing this service simply to give back to the writing community and that he is not accepting new clients, so please don't use this blog to query him.
To give back to the writing community, Mr. Lukeman has made several of his books available for free, including How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent, How to Write a Great Query Letter and Ask a Literary Agent (Year One). Feel free to visit www.writeagreatquery.com to download the e-books.
Periodically, Mr. Lukeman will send out the Ask a Literary Agent ezine. If you'd like to subscribe, you may do so here:
Noah Lukeman is President of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd, which he founded in 1996. His clients include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, Pushcart Prize, finalists for the National Book Award, multiple New York Times bestsellers, major celebrities, and faculty of universities ranging from Harvard to Stanford.
Mr. Lukeman is also author of several books on the craft of writing, including The First Five Pages (Simon & Schuster), The Plot Thickens (St. Martins Press) and A Dash of Style: (W.W. Norton). He has also authored two e-books: How to Write a Great Query Letter and How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent, which he gives away for free as a way of giving back to the writing community. He has also made available over 100 pages of free advice for authors from all his books, which you can read on his site.
Mr. Lukeman has been a guest speaker on the subjects of writing and publishing at numerous forums, including Harvard, Columbia University, The Juilliard School, Stanford University, and the Writers Digest Panel at Book Expo America. He earned his B.A. with High Honors in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University, cum laude.