Notes to the Agreement
This section is an attempt to explain the reasoning behind some of the agreement provisions. These notes are not a part of the agreement and have no legal bearing upon the agreement. When in doubt, consult an attorney.
Parties: AKW Books and you. If you have partners (co authors) you all have to agree to the contract. So, work it out before you contact us.
License: You agree to give us the exclusive right to publish your book as an "e-book" on the planet Earth (Terra) for 6 months. No one else should be publishing it as an e-book. However, you may pursue other publication avenues as you see fit, such as traditional paper-based publication, stage plays, movies, TV shows, publication on other worlds, whatever your dreams are. We want you to succeed as a writer. You own all the rights except for the electronic rights and you can take those back after 6 months. You control your property. After 6 months, we'd like to continue to sell your book, but you can, if you wish, take your e-book rights to another publisher for simultaneous publishing or you can take them away from us entirely. Just give us 30-day's notice.
We're in this for the long haul and we hope you are as well. In today's market, it's a rare work that pays back our expenses in just 1/2 year. This is an escape clause for authors who are unhappy with the way we do business. If you have no intention of sticking with us for the long haul (assuming you remain happy with our relationship), please take your manuscript elsewhere.
Royalties: The milk of the publishing industry. We'll pay you half of what we realize on each sale of your book. If we discount it to our book club members we each lose half the discount. If we hold a sale, we each get less, BUT perhaps we sell more books. We may also market through other eBook retailers which will require some compensation for their efforts.
If you have an agent, you pay him. If you want us to pay him instead of you, fine. But we only want to deal with one entity. Please leave us out of any squabbles between you and your agent. If you wrote the WORK as a group, please designate one entity to handle the royalties. We won't split the payments.
We keep our costs down by engaging in electronic banking. In most countries, the most convenient way to do this is via PayPal. You don't need a separate PayPal account for royalties. If you already have one, it will be sufficient. We don't need any secret information about your account to put money into it, just the e-mail address you use with the account. If PayPal charges a small fee to handle transfers of money, we'll pay that. They also charge a small fee to convert funds from one currency to another. You pay that. We're both better off if we only pay royalties when the amount is above $5.00 (USD). We pay in United States currency. Read all about PayPal here. You need a credit card to set up a PayPal account. If you want to electronically transfer PayPal funds to your checking account, PayPal does that free as long as you set up your account with your banking information.
If you don't have a PayPal account and can't get one for any reason, we will make other arrangements. For instance, we can pay US residents by check (US dollars) on a quarterly basis if the amount owed is greater than $10 (or if you leave us). We will discount your payment for the cost of the stamp for international mail (or wait until the amount exceeds $25.00) and throw in the envelope for free (big spenders).
Our customers will be paying via credit or debit card. We pay the cost of that transaction out of our half.
Rights: When you wrote your book, it was automatically copyrighted under the laws of most countries. However, if you register your copyright, you have not only the right to sue for direct damages if someone steals your work, but you gain the additional right to recover court costs and punitive damages. Copyright laws vary from country to country. Please research those laws in your own country and obtain a "registered" copyright in your name if you wish this extra protection. In the United States, you register your copyright with the U. S. Copyright Office. As of late 2008, the cost was $35 for electronic registration. Otherwise it's $45 and you have to fill out a form and mail a copy of your book to the Copyright office in Washington D.C. This can take up to six months, but will not stop us from publishing your work. You also must deposit two copies of your work with the Library of Congress within 3 months of publication. You may accomplish both tasks at the same time. Read the U. S. Copyright Office web site for more information. When you receive your Library of Congress number, tell us and we'll add it to your copyright page. When you receive your notice of copyright approval, you may say "registered copyright" on your copyright page. Tell us and we'll change it.
Our contributions to the final work remain our property. You can't pass them along to another publisher without our permission (which will not be unreasonably withheld -- this is to protect us from writers who want to use us as a free editing service).
Submission: Follow the preparation guidelines. We don't charge you to publish your book. We are not a vanity press. We make our money exclusively from book sales just like any other legitimate publisher. The only difference is the format of our "books" and the fact that we don't have to deal with returns of unsold stock nor the long delays (often over a year) that plague the traditional industry. We do ask a bit more from you, such as sending your work in final format with all artwork, but in return we pay much higher royalties. New authors are paid royalties in the 7-8% range by the big New York publishers after accounting for returns. Even seasoned authors are lucky to get 15%. Some very unusual cases go as high as 25%.
If we accept a project as described by you, the writing is good, and we think there's a market for it, chances are we'll publish your manuscript. If you fibbed we'll probably reject your package. We may also return your project if your artwork turns out to be pornographic or erotic in nature (no, we're not offended by a picture of Michelangelo's Venus deMillo). Remember, children may be perusing our virtual "shelves". Hell hath no fury like an offended parent.
Publication: We'll publish your mss as an "e-book" as quickly as we can depending upon our workload. Sometimes this can take several months if our backlog is high.
If you wish, you may suggest which categories your work belongs to. If the appropriate category is missing from our web-site, by all means suggest a new one. If your book belongs in more than one category, go ahead and suggest them. All "fiction" will be listed in the "fiction" super-category and all "non-fiction" will be listed in that super-category. The sub-categories are where the action is. We'll make the final decision.
Price: The final decision is ours and we reserve the right to change our minds at any time. We'll do so to maximize our profits which should also maximize your royalties.
Marketing: Most authors hate this word (unless they're in that field), but it's a fact of life. We market our site and we'll feature your book as promised. However, if you really want your book to sell, you'll have to do some of the work yourself.
Now, don't feel picked on. The big publishers like Random House take the same attitude. They put their advertising dollars into known names like Steven King or some book by a well-known actor or politician, not an unknown "newbie". They'll try to get you some shelf space through their wholesalers, but the new author is expected to do the "heavy lifting".
See our Marketing page for marketing ideas.
Author Warrantees: You promise that you own or have rights to everything you send to us and that it won't get us or you into legal trouble. Nor is it pornographic or erotic, and no one will get hurt by following any directions in your book.
Don't worry if you've written a "heavy breathing" romance novel. Just make sure it's not too graphic, and give it a proper rating.
Indemnification: If you get yourself and/or us into legal trouble and it's your fault, you'll pay the bills.
General Provisions: If we go to court, it will be in Grays Harbor County, Washington State, USA. Hopefully, we can work out any problems like adults and it won't come to that.
Anything outside of the contract (agreement) you said or we said that isn't written down and signed is just hot air. The contract prevails.
Conclusion: All that being said, if you don't understand the "why" of a provision, talk it over with us. We're not hard to do business with. We really want you to succeed and make lots of money and attract a rabid following of fans. If you do, we'll make money too and make our customers happy because they can read good stuff at a good price. And it doesn't hurt our feelings to bring on talented writers that the big houses missed out on. Hopefully, if we treat you right and you succeed, you'll stick with us. If not, we wish you the best. At least we'll be able to say "we knew you when ...".