Book Contracts 101, Part 13 (Non-Competing, Force Majeure, Waiver & Binding Agreement)
January 27, 2011
12. Non-Competing Publication: During the term of this Agreement, Author shall not publish, or cause or permit to be published, any book with the same characters and/or the same world as in the Work that would compete directly in the market place with sales of the Work.
An interesting question, though. Let's say I wanted to e-publish a novella or collection of short stories, etc., featuring my series character. How to deal with this? Well, I'd consider discussing it with the publisher. Or not, because they could say no way. But I imagine a lot of authors would consider the e-book as marketing for the other book.
13. Force Majeure. Neither party shall be responsible for any failure or delay in performance of its obligations under this Agreement due to circumstances beyond its reasonable control.
Let the courts decide what "reasonable control" is, but houses burning down, being flooded, or struck by asteroids probably count. Divorce, etc., depends on your relationship with your publisher.
14. Waiver: The failure of a party to insist upon strict adherence to any term of this Agreement on any occasion shall not be considered a waiver or deprive that party of the right thereafter to insist upon strict adherence to that term or any other term of this Agreement. Any waiver must be in writing.
Which is to say that if, for instance, you miss a deadline and your publisher doesn't kill the contract, that your publisher automatically lets you miss deadlines or ignore any other part of the contract.
15. Binding Agreement: This Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the parties' respective heirs, personal representatives, successors, and assigns.
If I understand this contract correctly, it means that your spouse and children get to deal with the fallout of the contract if you get hit by a bus.