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Someone suggested that I should make a question on this. I am making a book with multiple authors and we're all under 18 and I'm wondering how to make contracts with them. Just to say I'm trying to get this on the Kindle store. If that information helps. Also I live in the UK.

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Adapted from my answer to Can I self-publish a book on the Kindle store when I'm under 18?

Absolutely, whenever you publish something with multiple authors—whether it's a collaboration or a work where a primary author(s) uses someone else's material—you want a written contract.

My suggestion in your case is that one of you (probably you) is the primary author and that person's parent owns the Kindle account to use for publishing.

Start by writing out the contract. While you can look up sample contacts on the internet, what you need is the basics: who owns the copyright, how you split up money, and what happens if a publisher wants to purchase your work. You might think this is all unnecessary. Because what are the chances you'll make money and, besides, you all trust each other anyway.

Do it anyway.

Seriously, never publish without a written contract. Just sitting down and hashing out the terms is enough usually to make sure what's obvious to you is exactly the same as what's obvious to your friends.

Simply type it up on your computer and hash out the details until everyone's happy. Print out one copy for each author and have everyone over to your house (or anywhere) at once. That's each author plus at least one parent per author.

Have every author sign every copy. As minors, your signatures are not legally binding, but it's important to show that you have read the contact and take it seriously. Next, have one parent of each author also sign. Everyone keeps one copy (plus you can photograph one fully signed copy and keep it in the cloud).

A sample contract might read:

[A's mom] will set up the Amazon account and publish [book name] in the Kindle store. Any expenses must be approved ahead of time by the group and the person will be reimbursed first out of any proceeds. If there is anything else left, it gets divided up this way: A gets 40%, B gets 20%, C gets 20%, D gets 10%, E gets 10%.

And so forth.

If your book gets popular enough that you're each getting more than about $20US, find a cheap lawyer and make a better contract than your simple one.

The reason to make a contract with your friends (with their legally binding parental signatures) is in case you all disagree about something. "Why is A getting more money than I am?" "I don't want my work on Kindle anymore: take it down!" "I'm going to publish the book at this other place and keep all the money."

  • 1
    I am disappointed that I can only click the "up arrow" once. Contracts keep friends (in writing and in any other business). – ShadoCat May 1 at 18:45
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Adapted from my contract:

For the following projects:

“Possession” (ongoing digital comic series + trade print collections)

El Cadejo agrees that the COPYRIGHTS for the above named PROPERTY(including all images and manuscripts) shall be split 50/50 with [Collaborator]. Any rights to manufacture, sell, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, cable cast, and/or otherwise exploit the PROPERTY, in any manner, in any form, in any and all languages, in whole or in part, in any and all media, and by any method now known or hereafter discovered or conceived, including the option of exclusivity, will reside with El Cadejo and [Collaborator].

Any income or royalties derived from publication or adaptation of these shall be pro-rated per pages written for each issue, with [Collaborator] receiving a maximum of 50% of NET profits, after El Cadejo’s expenditures towards paying creative teams and printing costs have been reimbursed.

Royalties for individual characters in any outside or auxiliary use (adaptations, toys, etc) shall be divided as follows:

CHARACTER 1: 50% El Cadejo, 50% [Collaborator].

CHARACTER 2: 100% El Cadejo

CHARACTER 3: 100% Cyn (my wife)

ETC ETC

  • Could you add how you came up with that language? A book on contracts? From the publisher? Internet searches? A lawyer (I happen to know that wasn't it, but others don't)? – Cyn says make Monica whole May 1 at 16:24
  • This is an adaptation of wording from a publisher's work for hire agreement, sent to me by a friend who has done business with them. It may or not be publically available. – El Cadejo May 1 at 18:40

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