Thursday, April 05, 2012

When Authors Need A Form

In my life as a writer, I need a legal form from time to time. For example, when I have to bill for a job, I need an invoice. When I work with a collaborator, I need a collaboration agreement. When I'm going to give an estimate, I need a form to give this estimate in a professional way.

Where do I turn? I can search online and maybe cobble something together that will work for the need. Normally I reach for Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers by Tad Crawford. In one convenient place, this book lists 25 different forms and includes the negotiation checklist for each form.

I'm not an attorney. When it comes to publishing matters, not just any attorney will do because the language and issues for publishing is a specialized area. You need someone skilled in this area. Crawford has worked in publishing law for many years and put together a terrific resource. I've actually purchased this book several times over the years because it has evolved into different versions. The most recent version includes the forms on CD-ROM in three different formats (Word, rich text format and PDF).

When I need a form, I will put the disk into my computer, pull up the form, modify it then send it to the other party. The forms aren't perfect and my long-term literary attorney friend doesn't like them because she believes each case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all form. Yet I also realize that boilerplate contract language is common throughout publishing. For my use, these forms work for my simple need. This resource may help you as well.

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