You Saved Me from a Really Bad Deal
Sometimes the best deal is no deal.
In a world where lawyers are often touted and rated and ranked and liked for the size of the verdict or the dollar value of the contract, what often gets overlooked is the flip side. Namely, avoiding unnecessary risk. Here is a recent example.
I was contacted by an author that had successfully self-published a book and had been approached by a publisher in connection with the sequel.
Here was a potential break-through. The chance to have someone else take over the headache of printing, publishing, marketing, distributing, and selling this author’s next great work just in time for the holiday season.
Naturally the client was excited. Unfortunately, the contracts offered by the publisher were poorly written and one-sided.It wasn’t just that the financial deal points were below expectations.
Even if the money had been right, the most important non-monetary clauses did not allocate commercial risk fairly between the parties the publisher was trying to get all of the financial reward and leave the author with all of the risk.
I felt bad having to burst my client’s bubble, but I did not want her signing a bad deal.
Together, we made suggested changes that would have been acceptable if the publisher had agreed.
The publisher did not, and the deal did not proceed.
I was gratified a few weeks later when the client asked a common acquaintance to let me know that “you saved me from something really bad.”
She found another alternative to get the book published, by the way, and is in the process of arranging a tour to back it up.
Achieving the upside will always be sexier.
But avoiding the downside is no less important.