The Telemachus Press Blog


Before you sign up with any self-publishing company, there are several parts of the publishing agreement where you need to take a moment and focus before signing on the dotted line. I’d like to talk about just one of these today: your publishing rights, sometimes included in sections like “The Grant” and “The Territory” or maybe you will find it somewhere else. As a new author you might be moving quickly to get your book published, but just so you know, this is a big one. Slow down.

The contract might reference the fact that you continue to own your copyright, it will always be yours and lead you to believe that this by itself is all the intellectual property protection that you will ever need. In other parts of the contract you will note, if you give the document a careful read, that you might very well be (and almost definitely will be) granting to the self-publishing company your publishing rights. The agreement might vaguely reference “General Publication Rights” in different media and different geographies or it may specifically include “Primary Rights,” “Trade Edition Rights,” “Mass Market Reprint Rights,” “Book Club Rights,” “Transcription Rights,” “Direct Mail Rights,” “Secondary Rights,” “Dramatic Rights,” “Movie Rights,” “Television Rights,” “Foreign Language Rights” and my all time favorite, “All rights not specifically granted herein.” You really need to seek competent legal counsel to understand just what you are giving away. Are you really locking your book up with this company and under their control forever? The implications of this are very, very significant.

When John Locke decided to pursue a relationship and a major publishing deal with Simon and Schuster, he was free to do so because of his existing publishing agreement with Telemachus Press. As many of you know, not only do you keep 100% of your royalties in our self-publishing model, but even more importantly, we make no claims against any of your publishing rights. Not a one of them!

Here’s what all of this means. Let’s say that you self publish and have enough success selling your book that you come to the attention of a traditional publisher. If you are in any way locked up (Not John-Locked-up as he published with us!) with someone else controlling any of your publishing rights, you are dead in the water! You must go on bended knee to your self-publishing provider and request a “reversion of rights.” If you have shown even the smallest number of book sales, this will be expensive. If you had any measurable amount of success, you will never get released. You and your book are indentured servants.

Don’t let this happen to you. Come with Telemachus Press. Look at our Publishing Services Agreement. Should you ever need to move on to a larger opportunity, we will not stand in your way. We will, instead, applaud your success and facilitate the transfer of your eBook and POD files to your new publisher.

Posted in: Self-Publishing
Thursday, September 22, 2011 5:22 PM
Hey to Steve & Claudia
This post is fantastic! As an australian playwright and author I was nearly closed into a book relationship here until I met the talented winslow and then from their its history I met you both! If any writers are searching to platform there talent this publisher does exactly what they say and its a fabulous epxerience! Love this post idea on your web very interesting to read!
Cheers to you both Chrys in Australia (for now) haha!