Thursday, February 10, 2011

HarperCollins morals clause

You heard? HarperCollins publishing giant has created a morals clause as part of it's standard author contract. Essentially if an author behaves in a way that affects book sales badly, then the contract may be cancelled and the advance must be repaid.

Here is how one well known author responded: URSULA LE GUIN CONFESSES SIN AGAINST HARPERCOLLINS.

Which is a pretty savvy commentary. However, there are some more serious implications. Like, will other publishers follow HC's lead? If so, how do you link a causal relationship from behavior to book sales? If bad behavior leads to higher book sales will a bonus be paid to the author? What if the whole concept of the book is based on bad behavior (let's say a Jersey Shore spin-off book) and then the "author" is arrested in a bar fight? What did you expect would happen HC? The book might sell badly because it is of low quality and no interest. The fight is incidental. Would poor The Situation loose his advance?

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