As I promised last week, here is a sample contract template that you can use for work with editing clients. Generally publishers and corporations will have their own contracts that they will want to use, but if you venture into the less-certain but more-lucrative side of things, working independently for individual authors, you absolutely positively need to be protected.
This is a contract that’s very much boilerplate and that you can tweak as needed, but it gives you the essentials. Obviously your mileage will vary on the various components; for example, I like to split the payments to make things easier for the author.
This agreement is between Name (“Editor”) and Name (“Author”) and concerns the following manuscript:
Length and description of manuscript:
1. EDITORIAL TASKS
The Editor agrees to do the following on the manuscript:
a. Copyediting for grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation
b. Stylistic editing (clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, polishing language; line-by-line editing for smoothness and clarity while maintaining author’s voice and style)
c. Developmental editing: critique
These services include two editing passes: the Editor will edit, then send manuscript to Author for approval, Author will either accept or reject changes and answer any of the Editor’s queries, and then return the manuscript to the Editor, who will incorporate those changes or corrections into the manuscript and clean the copy of editorial markings.
Contingent upon immediate signing of this contract and payment, the edit/critique of the manuscript is to be delivered to the Author by the Editor on or before <insert date here>.
Author agrees to pay Editor $0.00 in United States funds for the services outlined above. Checks should be made out to Your Company and sent to the address at the end of this contract; Author may also use PayPal for payments (send to <Your Email Address> in that case).
Editor agrees not to reproduce, give, or show to anyone any material sent to her by the Author for editing purposes, unless consulting services from a third party are agreed to.
Author will reimburse Editor for direct expenses incurred in fulfilling this Agreement, including, but not limited to, photocopying, printouts, inputting, couriers, and postage. Editor will not incur any expenses without Author’s express written permission.
No guarantees are made as to the salability or marketability of the edited manuscript. Nor is there a guarantee that the manuscript will be completely error-free, though all efforts will be made to make it so. Unless a co-writing/co-authorship arrangement is made in writing, all royalties and monies gained by the sale of the book will be the sole property of the Author.
7. APPLICABLE LAWS
Both parties agree that this agreement shall be interpreted and governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This Agreement may be amended only in writing signed by both parties.
Once the project is in process either party may terminate this Agreement in the event of material change of circumstance with 14 days’ notice sent in writing to the other party at the address(es) provided. If the Editor terminates the agreement, Author will pay the Editor for work done up to the date of termination, and Editor will refund overpayment. If the Author terminates the agreement, the Author will pay the Editor for the work completed up to the date of termination, but this amount will not be less than 50% of the estimated total for the project.
This agreement is made and entered into by and between the parties hereto on this date: <insert date here>.
Author’s full name and address:
Editor’s full name and address: