Much of it was standard, but the non-standard stuff was horrible, at least for me. It did pretty well for the publisher. And when I suggested some negotiation, it was immediately and emphatically declined. The publisher even insisted that some of this--like the copyright clause--was standard in the publishing business. That may have been ignorance on the publisher's part, as it was a new organization. Fortunately, I had guidance from Mary Rosenblum and her Literary Midwife newsletter.
Below I'm going to include certain excerpts of the contract and then comment on it:
Additional rights which the Author grants to the Publisher in the languages and within the territories specified above are:
1. First serial rights and reprint of selections and shortened versions in any magazine or newspaper;
2. Second serial rights and reprint of selections and shortened versions in any magazine or newspaper (provided these rights have not been retained by the purchaser of the first serial rights);
3. Recording and photographic reproduction of all or part of the text; dramatic (stage, radio, television, motion picture) commercial visual and/or sound presentation, reproduction, recording;
4. Developing or licensing for use in all other mechanical or electronic visual and sound reproducing rights of the Work now known or later invented;
5. Reproduction of the text for the physically handicapped; and
6. All sales of the entire Work, or of parts of the Work, including sales and fees for use of the Work or parts of the Work in library reader formats, such as those used by NetLibrary, Ebrary, and Questia, sales and fees for use of parts of the Work in academic course packs and anthologies produced in schools, universities, and other entities, and sales and fees derived from permission fees for magazine, condensation, and quotation rights, and photocopying or digital reproduction of parts of the Work.
The Publisher shall have the sole right to negotiate and sign contracts, in regard to these rights. The Publisher may publish or permit others to publish, free of charge, such brief selections as it thinks proper to benefit the sale of the Work.
As you can see, if the book becomes best seller and Hollywood wants to make a movie based on it, the publisher has the sole right to negotiate a deal. And later in the contract it spells out royalty payments for the author only in regards to words of the published novel. No word at all about author's share of movie or recording income.
Copyright of the Work shalI be registered by the Publisher, upon first publication, in a timely manner in the name of the Publisher, in Canada, and in such other countries as the Publisher deems feasible or desirable, and the proper copyright notice or notices necessary to protect copyright to and in any work shall be printed on the reverse side of the title page or in another appropriate place, in every copy thereof. The Publisher shall also have the right to effect any renewals of copyright provided by law and the right to any assistance from the Author or Author's heirs, successors, or assigns, essential thereto.
This is why I said "NO!" very quickly. The publisher gets all rights and I get nothing for the future.
ln the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the Publisher for any cause whatsoever, the rights of publication shall revert to the Author upon payment of fair market value. Thereafter this agreement shall thereupon terminate without notice.
So with that clause, if the publisher goes belly-up. I have to buy my rights back based on "fair market value." Wanna bet the publisher decides what that is?
These are not all the deal breakers in this contract, but it is easy to see some things that made this a terrible contract. If anybody wishes to see more, contact me and I'll post or send the other "gotchas."