Traditionally, writers have worked with agents on the basis of a handshake. SFWA has, however, long believed that writers need the protection of a written agreement. The latest re-working of SFWA’s model agent agreement is more detailed than the previous version so it can address specific problems writers have had in recent years.
As directed by the SFWA Board, the purpose of the Contracts Committee is to:
- Update and maintain the existing SFWA contract templates;
- Work to develop and maintain a repository of sample contracts and contract-related information;
- Work to educate members about contract language and recommendations;
- Work to help SFWA and its members answer contract related questions and issues.
It is the committee’s intent to focus on these tasks in the coming years. The committee’s members are Jim Fiscus, (Chair), Michael Capobianco, Rosemary Claire Smith, Ginjer Buchanan, Jeff Hecht, Anne Leonard, Ken Liu, advisor and, Victoria Strauss, advisor. James Beamon is SFWA Board’s liaison to the Committee. Please direct any questions or issues to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Model Contracts and Contract Information
SFWA has produced model contracts since it was created in 1965. The first, a Model Author-Agent Agreement written by SFWA founder Damon Knight, appeared in the first issue of the SFWA Bulletin in July, 1965. The model contracts are intended to help writers understand publishing contracts and to help them negotiate better contracts.
Versions and Formatting of Model Contracts
SFWA’s model contract are arranged with the text of the contract on the left with the Contracts Committee’s notes explaining the contract on the right. By including detailed notes, the Committee is working to increase the educational value of the model contracts.
The contracts will be modified from time to time, with most changes being minor changes in wording as work on later contracts leads to language that will improve earlier contacts. Minor changes will be identified by the version number following the decimal point. (e.g. 3.0 followed by 3.1 and then by 3.2)