Minda Zetlin, the current president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, has just named me the new head of the ASJA Contracts Committee. (I feel like I should say something in Latin, buy some shiny lawyer shoes, or maybe start charging $400 an hour…)
The ASJA Contracts Committee offers information to members who have questions about publishing contracts, which nowadays can include everything from legal indemnity to the waiver of moral rights. These things can sound like Greek to freelance writers who are encountering them for the first time, so our committee serves as a free resource to any ASJA member who wants a second set of eyes to review documents. We don’t offer legal advice, but we do know the industry standards and try to share all that we know about how other writers have successfully negotiated contracts that are fair.
For quite a few years now, I’ve volunteered on this committee under the wing of chairman Milton Toby, who is both a writer and an attorney. He is stepping down as chairman but thankfully remaining on the committee, where I’ll continue to pick his brain about whatever new clauses the publishing houses try to squeeze into writers’ contracts next.
I’m excited about taking on this augmented role within ASJA, a group that has long been a wonderful source of information and resources for me. I believe in volunteering and being part of the larger writing community, and I’m looking forward to helping other writers in any way that I can.