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Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Month of Templates: A Coauthoring Contract

Last post, I gave you a simple contract/letter of agreement. But what about when you need a more formal contract--like when you work as a ghostwriter or coauthor?

Here's the kind of agreement I like to use; I made a few comments in green:

Coauthoring Collaboration Agreement

THIS AGREEMENT is made on the _____ day of __________, 2010, by and among CLIENT of CITY, STATE (hereinafter referred to as CLIENT) and Kelly James-Enger of Downers Grove, Illinois (hereinafter referred to as James-Enger). The parties agree as follows:

1. Subject to the terms and conditions herein, CLIENT and James-Enger agree to collaborate exclusively with each other in the preparation of a book proposal based on CLIENT's book idea. [You can be more specific here if you like, and describe more about the project you're taking on.]

2. The fee for the proposal will be $7,000, payable to James-Enger in the following amounts:
• $2,000.00 to James-Enger upon signing of the agreement;
• $2,500.00 to James-Enger upon delivery of the draft of the proposal;
• $2,500.00 to James-Enger upon delivery of the final proposal, including one sample chapter. [I suggest you always get a retainer for a big project like this.]

3. CLIENT and James-Enger will work together to create the proposal, and determine mutually-agreeable deadlines at the outset for the delivery of the draft and final proposals. James-Enger will provide one revision of the proposal for the stated fee; other changes requested by CLIENT will be billed at a rate of $100/hour. [This last sentence is to protect me from a client who wants to make change after change after change after get the idea.]

4. Copyright in the book proposal, in all forms and languages throughout the world, shall be held in the name of CLIENT. [Typically my ghosting/coauthoring clients want to retain copyright to their work.]

5. CLIENT agrees to indemnify James-Enger and hold her harmless against any claim, demand, suit, action, proceeding, or expense of any kind arising from or based upon language, information, advice, citations, anecdotal matter, resource materials, or other content of the work that was provided by CLIENT. [My standard indemnification language though I'm willing to tweak it upon request.]l

6. Either party can terminate this agreement by giving the other party written notice; if the agreement is terminated before completion, CLIENT agrees to pay James-Enger for work already performed under the agreement.

7. This agreement sets forth the entire understanding of the parties hereto and may not be changed except by written consent of both parties. If CLIENT acquires a book publishing contract, she can choose to work with James-Enger or with another writer on the book manuscript.

8. The terms and conditions of this agreement shall be binding upon, and the benefits thereof shall inure to, the respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors, and assigns of the parties hereto.

9. Both parties to this agreement warrant that they have no other contractual commitment which will or might conflict with this agreement or interfere with, or otherwise affect, the performance of any obligations hereunder.

10. This agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Illinois.

11. Should any controversy, claim, or dispute arise out of or in connection with this agreement, such controversy, claim, or dispute shall be submitted to arbitration before the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its rules, and judgment confirming the arbitrator's award may be entered in any court of competent jurisdiction.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have set their hands on the date first above specified.


Kelly James-Enger


Want to know more about coauthoring/ghostwriting, or add to your collection of templates? My book, Goodbye Deadline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer's Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books (Kindle version), has all of the templates you need to get started, plus plenty of practical advice about breaking into the field from successful ghosts.

If you're more interested in the templates you'll need for general freelancing, check out Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money or its Kindle version. It's helped both new and experienced writers work more efficiently and increase their income.

And if you're just getting started freelancing, I recommend Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create your own Writing Specialty and Make More Money (Kindle version). It's aimed at newer writers and includes 20 queries that sold along with hundreds of resources