Sunday, February 10, 2019

How's This for Offensive: Take Your "Morals Clause" and Shove It

The Authors Guild reports an increase in publishers' demands for a "morals clause" in writers' contracts. Vague terms for our punishable sins include "publicly condemned behavior."

Let's be honest: under the back-breaking yoke of the "influencer" era, every time you write a Facebook post in opposition to the majority of your followers, you will be "publicly condemned."

So... should you have to repay your royalties because a friend-of-a-friend's cousin-in-law finds your position on hemp farming "offensive?"

Should you be forced to return your advance if your comments in support of your gay/lesbian/black/brown child create a Twitter backlash?

Should you lose your book contract if your old college roomie posts a picture of you sleeping with both arms wrapped around your beer bong?

In my view, this trend toward "morals clauses" is one more way that writers - or, as I like to call us, the income generator that finances the publishers' yachts - are trivialized.

It's not bad enough that the vast majority of publishers do NOTHING to assist with the marketing of our books. That they apparently regard the words "book launch party" as vestiges of a dead language. That their business model seems to be "quantity over quality," resulting in a stable of writers so large that providing sales and promotional support is impossible. That their royalty statements are written with the sole purpose of confusing the author.

Nope. All that's just not enough. Now they want to base our (dwindling) income on our level of "morality."

That, my friends, is TRULY worthy of "public condemnation."

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