TOR TOUR: CONTRACTS
19 March 2014
By Johanna Robertson
My job as a Senior Contracts Executive is a varied one. The Contracts department in Pan Macmillan handles contracts for all of the fiction, non-fiction and children's imprints including, but not limited to Tor, Pan, Macmillan Children's books, Picador, Boxtree, Sidgwick & Jackson and Mantle. The contracts that we deal with are mainly the author and illustrator contracts granting Macmillan the rights to publish the books, however, we also administer contracts with translators and readers for audio books, among other tasks.
In a nutshell a typical day, if there is such a thing, would be spent responding to a variety of contractual queries, drafting, negotiating, tweaking and sending out contracts as well as processing contracts that have been signed. This can also include the drafting of addenda, which are a legal way of adding or removing or changing information within an existing contract.
We work closely with several departments: Editorial (adults and children's), Rights (again both adults and children's), Audio and Royalties. We also work closely with the author/illustrator or their literary agent to finalize the contract.
The main skills required for working in the Contracts department are a good eye for detail, a strong ability to negotiate, patience, efficiency, professionalism and being highly organised. A dexterous flair for the English language is also essential to help with the dissemination of complex legal jargon. A legal background is by no means necessary but it can help!
I love working with Tor in particular as Team Tor are all lovely and so are their authors. As China Miéville is one of my favourite authors, working on his contracts is always a perk, and being a massive Doctor Who Fan (see Tor’s 50th anniversary of Doctor Who post), rubbing shoulders with Paul Cornell is also very pleasing.
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The Tor Tour is part of a series of regular posts covering the varied publishing roles within the Tor imprint and across Pan Macmillan as a whole. These are the posts so far:
INTRODUCING TEAM TOR by Tor UK Editorial Director Julie Crisp
TOR TOUR: NOT JUST EDITING by Tor UK Editorial Director Julie Crisp
TOR TOUR: A PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT EXPOSÉ by Publicity Manager Sophie Portas
TOR TOUR: COMMISSIONING & SOCIAL MEDIA by Senior Commissioning Editor Bella Pagan
TOR TOUR: THE MARKETOR by Senior Marketing Manager Rob Cox
TOR TOUR: THE EDITORIAL ASSISTANT by Editorial Assistant Louise Buckley
TOR TOUR: PRODUCTION CONTROLLER by Production Controller Holly Sheldrake
TOR TOUR: THE DIGITAL ZONE by Analytics Director, James Long
TOR TOUR: THE RIGHTS DEPARTMENT by Rights Assistant, Kerry Lagan
TOR TOUR: HEAD OF WEB DEVELOPMENT by our digital department’s James Luscombe
TOR TOUR: THE AUDIO BOOK DEPARTMENT EXPLAINED by Audio manager Becky Lloyd