Okay so I’ve gone through a few of Readict’s FAQs and other legal language to try and get a more complete picture of what they’re asking for. Before I write this out, I need to emphasize that I am not an attorney and am thus not qualified to give actual legal advice. But that being said, here’s my best interpretation of what they’re asking.
Now let’s assume for a minute that you do want them to consider your work for representation/publishing/etc. and sign up for their “Fast Track” program, which is what this LOI represents. As the name suggests, a “Letter of Intent” does not actually indicate a binding agreement (one you can be held to legally), it only serves to give you an idea what to expect should you enter their program.
It goes on to say that should they desire to include your book in their publishing program and you agree to move forward in doing so, that will then require you to sign a Copyright License agreement, which would be legally binding (“execution” means you and Readict both sign it in a legal capacity).
- "Check and confirm the authorization for the test does not conflict with any valid and binding agreement"
This means they want you to make sure you’re allowed to publish with their platform. For example, if you’ve signed or agreed to a contract with another site to give that other site exclusive rights to your content, Readict won’t be able to do anything with your work because you have given exclusive rights to someone else. To elaborate with another example, Wattpad’s Watty’s legal language says that if you are shortlisted for a Watty, you must keep your book exclusively on their platform (I think it’s for a year). That means the book you submitted for a Watty would not be eligible for Readict’s program for a year, at least, if it was shortlisted for a Watty.
- "Agree to negotiate with Readict about a Copyright License Agreement for the title that passed the test"
You’re submitting your work to their publishing program. That means they want you to be willing to follow through working with them if they like your book and decide to publish it. This does not, however, require you to sign an agreement with them, you just agree to negotiate with them about it. If you don’t like the terms they offer, you can walk away.
All that being said, here’s a few other things to consider before you move forward with the Readict publishing program:
- They do not pay royalties. They only pay a licensing fee and a one-time signing bonus. So you would probably make a few hundred dollars (they say up to $10k but I suspect those licensing fees are few and far between), and then nothing else.
This is great in the short term, but it means if your book suddenly becomes wildly popular, you will only be paid the money they gave you upfront (at least until they implement a revenue share program, which they would not be obligated to adapt your contract to include, if you’ve already signed with them and getting royalties is not included in that contract). However, you could always insist that clause (to be paid royalties) needs to be included in any contract you sign, should such a program come into existence. You would do that when negotiating the Copyright License Agreement with them.
None of this is shady or under the table: in fact, they’re very upfront about their process, which is nice, but if you want to get published with them, keep in mind one of the criteria they consider when choosing novels to publish is:
Which means you’ve already done all the hard work of getting readers for your book, and they won’t have to work very hard to grow your audience: in fact, it’s more likely that your audience will come to Readict to read your work, which means more users for them, not necessarily more readers for you.
Anyway, this is my best interpretation of what these terms include, so I hope it gives you a little more insight into the process if you decide to move forward on their platform.
I’m happy to answer more questions to the best of my ability, if you have them.