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5-8 Newspaper Contracts

(c) 2009 Mona Leeson Vanek

Newspaper contracts differ from others. Try to always strike out an indemnify and hold harmless clause. And anything that about the author paying for any complaint or claim relating to materials made by third party at any time, and holding the publication harmless against damages, liabilities, costs, expenses, etc. You can say you've already warranted the material as being original, not previously published, not infringing on others' copyrights, etc., so I if someone sued the paper for what you wrote, well they'd chosen to publish it. Try to insert, 'to the best of my knowledge' for above representations and warranties.

Try to negotiate out a 'renewing rights' clause. If this is the first time you've sold to the newspaper, tell them you are striking it out as irrelevant since you don't have previous works published by them.

Grant the paper first rights (preferably for 30 days) and subsequent rights if the contract asks, because most contracts include it. Be sure the wording includes "nonexclusive." The paper is probably just protecting its butt because really, all they want to do is publish the piece on their web edition.

If the contract states 'moral right' and\or 'rights of identification of authorship' ask what is meant. A newspaper contract will usually have a clause giving them the right to edit. If you don't like what/how they edit, then stop submitting. Newspapers don't have the time to give authors the right to approve edits.

Tax indemnification is standard, since you will be 1099 as an independent contractor.

It's unlikely you can use an alternative contract to the one drawn up by their legal department and they already know what they are allowed to strike or insert if requested. A whole new contract would require a whole new legal review, which just won't happen.

Chapter 12 - Other Writing Opportunities:

Next: Chapter 13 - Genre Writing and Writing for Children:

7-4 Formatting Your Manuscript In .pdf

(c) 2009, Mona Leeson Vanek

When you format your manuscript it's often wise to save it as a pdf file. If you want a free version of a software to do that you may want to look into Open Office (an open source word processing program), which converts to .pdf.

PDFredirect 2 is also a free software program, and is available here:

There are also .pdf converters that you may want to try. Search .pdf converters online to learn more. And beware that some options, such as GhostScript have had serious bugs.

Tip, Bugzilla, is a good website where you can track issues with software.

Some authors claim that laying out a book in Word is never recommended (most publishers use either Quark or InDesign), but you really have to make sure your layout is correct in Word.

You can save as a PDF from any recent version of Word. The PDF option is an option when printing, not when saving. Look for the PDF menu at the bottom of the PRINT box. Most versions offer a number of PDF options. If you're on a Mac, you can save any document from any application as a PDF from the print box.

Aaron Shepard's book, Perfect Pages, talks about book layout using Word.

Chapter 14 - Tending to Business:

Next: 7-5, Publications That Renig on Payment: