Kris Rusch on non-compete clauses:
In reality, it’s a “do-not-do-business-without-our-permission” clause.You can read the rest of Kris' article here: The Future And Balance (Deal Breakers 2012).
I did write about this in last year’s article, but I was a bit more lenient toward publishers than I am now. What changed? I certainly didn’t. I believe that writers should protect their rights as much as possible.
What changed is this: publishers have started requiring non-compete clauses in almost all of their contracts, and are making those clauses a deal breaker from the publisher’s side. In other words, the publisher will cancel the deal if you do not sign a non-compete. The choice you are given is this: either you let the publisher control your entire career just because you sold that publisher one book for $5000 or you walk.
If that’s the choice you’re given, walk. Hell, run.
If you're thinking about signing a book contract I recommend that you get an IP attorney to look it over.
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