Sign up to the newsletter

Rights and legal advice

In this section, you can find information about copyright law, publishing deals and protecting your rights as an author.


Copyright – can someone steal my idea?

Do you worry about how to protect your literary efforts?

Many writers are concerned that submitting their book to publishers or agents runs a risk – a risk that their work might be stolen (gasp!).

Isn’t there a chance that an agent would pick up their idea and pass it onto to …

Read more

Finance advice for writers

Peter Vaines, a chartered accountant and barrister, addresses some frequently asked questions.

What can a working writer claim against tax?

A working writer is carrying on a business and can therefore claim all the expenses which are incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of that …

Read more

Jargon buster - PLR

There's been a fair bit of noise lately about how first-time authors are missing out on money from their books. This follows the revelation that Tim Butcher received no PLR payments for his first book, Blood River, which turned out to be the most borrowed travel title of 2007-8.

Because Tim …

Read more

Publishing agreements

Before signing a publisher’s agreement, it should be thoroughly checked. Caroline Walsh introduces the key points of this very important contract.

So, you’ve done the difficult bit and persuaded a publisher to make an offer to publish your book. But how do you know if you’re getting a …

Read more

The Basics of How Copyright Works

Gillian Haggart Davies


Gillian Haggart Davies answers questions to draw out some of the legal issues and explain the basics of how copyright works, or should work, for the benefit of the writer.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a negative right in the sense that it is not a right of possession but is a right of …

Read more

What Does the Writers' Guild of Great Britain do?

Writers' Guild of Great Britain

Chances are you'll be aware that the pursuit of writing can, at times, leave an author not knowing which way to turn. But help is at hand in the shape of The Society of Authors and The Writers' Guild, both of which offer writers support and advice when terms get tough as well …

Read more