Non-compete clauses in contracts

The subject of non-compete clauses came up in a recent meeting of my local indie writer’s group, so I thought I would point to a number of blog entries regarding them over the years.  They’re not in any particular order, nor are any of them necessarily canonical.  However, if you read them all, you’ll get a pretty good feeling on why non-compete clauses are bad for the author and why you should be wary of any contract a traditional publisher offers you.

The Passive Voice talks about the bad attitude of agents and publishers towards authors.

Kristine Rusch talks about the various forms a non-compete clause can take.

More from the Passive Voice on how to read a contract with non-compete clauses.  In fact, I recommend all of the Passive Voice articles on how to read a contract.

A few more thoughts on not signing dumb contracts.

And finally, a cautionary tale of how publishers really will exercise that non-competition clause to stop you from self-publishing that independent book.

Does all of that spell the death of the hybrid author approach?  That is, does this mean you cannot do both traditional and self-publishing?  No, it doesn’t.  But the key to success seems to be to start as an independent self-publisher, and then once you have something that traditional publishing wants, you will have the leverage necessary to negotiate away the non-compete clauses in their various forms.  If you start with the traditional publishers from beginning, you don’t have much to negotiate with.