First off, this from Laura Resnick. Thanks, Laura!!
I was getting so many requests for referrals via private email, I decided to put a directory of literary lawyers on my website. Just posted. These five lawyers can all be considered personal referrals from me, if anyone’s interested. I will update the list as I get more recommendations from friends who’ve dealt with other literary lawyers.
FYI, here’s the links:
Or the tiny URL: http://tiny.cc/gomwn
There may be others being added onto this list as time goes by. Thanks, Laura, for doing this.
Now I wanted to clear up a few fears some people have about lawyers.
First off, unlike agents, they are bound by rules, very tight rules of behavior. I know lawyers have been made fun of in this area, but they are bound and insured, where agents have no rules they follow, even though agency law puts some rules on them. They ignore them completely and writers have been afraid to take them to court. All of this is becoming even more clear with the trend toward agents become publishers.
Second, lawyers will often take you on with only a small retainer, something like $200. Payments can be set up ahead of time or if you are having an lawyer negotiate a contract, final payment can often be made out of the money coming in. Just set it up with the lawyer ahead of time.
Lawyers are not allowed to take a percentage of any agreement they negotiate. So their fee, often far, far less than 15% is a one-time fee.
Third, you can have a lawyer help you as much or as little as you would like. They can actually do the negotiating for you, or just advice you on what the contract says and what to ask for. You are in control. You do not give that control to a stranger.
Fourth, there are more IP Lawyers coming into the field every day. Laura has five on the list and I know of good experiences writers have had with three of the five. I don’t know the other two. But I do know of a wonderful lawyer who might be joining back into this area of the law shortly.
Fifth, they do not require that they get all your money and your paperwork before you do. In fact, they will not touch the money besides what you give them as a flat fee.
The agent systems is going down quickly.
—Get away from giving the 15% forever.
—Get away from giving a stranger all your money and all the paperwork for that money before you see it.
—Get away from people who wouldn’t know a conflict of interest if it bit them.
—Get away from a business that has no rules or regulations and is known for theft from writers.
Get to lawyers, folks, for help with contacts and other aspects of publishing. Trust me, even the worst joke about lawyers is better than the reality of literary agents in this modern world.
Thanks, Laura, for putting up the reference list. You have just done a great service for this new world of writers trying to take back control of their own careers in one way or another.