Contract Advice

NWU contract advice is confidential and available free to union members in good standing.

Contract advice can help you avoid exploitation and receive the rewards you deserve. It has rapidly become one of the most popular union services. 
 
What Is a Contract?
A contract is any agreement between you and another party regarding the use or sale of your writing. It may be with a publisher, agent, work-for-hire client, Web site, or other party; it may concern a book, article, research report, short story, computer manual, screenplay, or what-have-you.
 
The union's perspective on contracts is unique--we learned it in the trenches. So when you're negotiating an agreement with a publisher or work-for-hire client, have the terms reviewed by a union contract adviser. The adviser will review the terms, explain their benefits and pitfalls, and suggest ways to negotiate improvements.
 
How Contract Advice Works
Contract advice is any review of the agreement before you give your final assent. Its purpose is to make sure that the terms are the best possible ones for you.
 
You may choose to have your entire contract reviewed, or to ask questions about one or two provisions. The union has advisers for magazine, website, newspaper, book, collaboration, work-for- hire, ghostwriting, and other types of contracts.
 
Before calling on the Grievance and Contract Division (GCD) for a contract adviser in your genre, it's a good idea to look through the contract resources in the Tools for Members section under Members Only, where you may find some of your questions answered.
 
Magazine, Newspaper and Website contracts are often short and simple, so you can probably have all of your questions answered in one or two emails. You may want to review the NWU's Standard Journalism Contract. It's a good idea to email your contract to your adviser so he or she can look it over and make suggestions.
 
Book contracts tend to be long and are often complicated. Please read the union's Guide to Book Contracts, before asking for a review. (If you have trouble downloading it, call or email and we'll send one out.) A book contract adviser will almost certainly want to look over your contract.
 
Work-for-hire contracts vary in complexity. Read over the Guide to Work-For-Hire Contracts, Tips for a Better Work-for-Hire Contract, and the BizTech Contracts Glossary before contacting the GCD.
 
Other union publications are available for journalism, agent, online publishing, and collaboration contracts, and more are being prepared. Contact the GCD and ask about those in your genres.
Contract advisers will ask you to report any improvements you obtain in your contract negotiations.
 
Your name is always kept confidential, but we compile data to help us in other members' negotiations with publishers.
 
Contract advisers are wonderful, but they don't do everything:
·       Contract advisers do not offer legal advice.
·       Contract advisers don't act as agents and they don't make referrals to agents.
·       Contract advisers do not negotiate contracts on your behalf.
 
How to Obtain Contract Advice
You can contact the GCD at advice@nwu.org. Be sure to put the letters "GCD" on the subject line to avoid winding up in a spam trap.
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