Before You Sign: What Authors Should Know about Contracts, Sponsored by the Authors Guild

Terrace Suite II, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 4
Friday, March 10, 2023
3:20 pm to 4:35 pm


Writers aren’t often trained in negotiation skills. You may be tempted to sign on the dotted line immediately when you land a book contract, option a story for film, or score a coveted freelance gig. It’s worth taking a moment to negotiate, because you might be leaving money on the table—or worse, giving away precious rights to your own creative work. Attorneys from the Authors Guild will offer negotiating tips and explain the common pitfalls to watch for in publishing contracts, film options, and freelancer agreements.



Umair Kazi is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Authors Guild. He studied law at the University of Iowa, and creative writing at Columbia University.

Caitlin DiMotta, partner, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP.

Michael Gross completed his undergraduate education at Syracuse University where he graduated in 1996 with a BS from the School of Management, majoring in Law and Public Policy. He then went on to complete his legal education at New York Law School, where he graduated in June of 1999. Mr. Gross has been with the Authors Guild Inc. ever since, where he now serves as Director of Legal Services. He regularly advises members on a wide range of legal issues, including contractual issues, First Amendment issues, copyright matters, trademark issues, immigration issues, and tax issues.

Fiona Kenshole is a Senior Literary Agent at Transatlantic Agency, specializing in children's books, YA, and graphic novels. She has been an agent for over a decade, representing many award-winning and bestselling authors. Previously she was Vice President of Development Acquisitions at Laika Inc, working on several Academy nominated feature films including The Boxtrolls and Coraline. For many years a senior publisher in the UK, she worked with many distinguished authors, including Michael Bond (Paddington Bear), P. L. Travers (Mary Poppins) and the Laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, etc.), and was proud to be Beverly Cleary and Lois Lowry's UK editor. She teaches publishing, including contract negotiation, to graduate students at Portland State.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center