Lawyers are good at one thing- reading between the lines. They are gifted with the special ability of making simple things seem complicated. That’s probably a must in their jobs. Otherwise, everyone would know better.
I wonder if those literary contracts are written by lawyers as well. Maybe not, because they aren’t as tricky as legal letters. But they still require some familiarity in the publishing industry before you can tell if the offered contract is one worth signing.
Oon Yeoh the publisher sent me a draft agreement while I was asleep last night. He came through our chimney and tucked the brown envelope into Snoopy’s christmas socks instead of mine. The poor dog wasn’t happy with the misplacement. She demanded that Oon send another copy to my e-mail, but a little white mouse munched off his telephone line at an unfaithful time.
So I’m left with no choice, but to make do with those wet and blotted pages that I snatched from Snoopy’s destructive jaw. She didn’t brush her teeth that morning. If that’s not bad enough, I had to strain my eyes in order to read the scores of faded texts. Even with a magnifying glass, those grey patches seemed more like failed calligraphy.
The hardest part was cross-checking. Since I’m tied up with two literary agents and now a publisher, I’ve to make sure that the rights I give are exclusively for one party each. I can’t be offering worldwide rights to one and have another representing me in Europe at the same time, or have an agent holding rights to motion picture while another handling the same as well.
But don’t get me wrong. Laws are tricky, the publisher was not. This makes me wonder which profession is more favourable- business or law?
By the way, I just did some spring cleaning to my profile. Go take a peep!