Toronto hybrid publisher Greg Ioannou wins Plain Language Contracts award
By: Iguana Books
Not so at Iguana Books in Toronto, where the author contract is written in plain language and has been revised many times to accommodate author questions and concerns.
Now Iguana Books co-owner and president Greg Ioannou has been recognized for his efforts with a first-place award in a Plain English Contract Contest run by the Toronto law firm Houser Henry & Syron LLP.
Specialists in plain language contracts, Houser Henry & Syron came up with the contest idea as a way to support plain language efforts in contract law. Greg received his award and a cash prize at a small ceremony in Toronto.
Greg's passion for plain language rings out in the opening paragraph of the contract, which states: "This contract is written in plain language. Although we encourage you to have it reviewed by a lawyer as you would with any contract, please do not have your lawyer rewrite it in traditional legalese. That rather misses the point of using plain language, which is to make the contract easy for everyone to understand."
One unusual feature of Iguana's contract is its no-fault, no-foul, cancellation clause. Both parties (author and publisher) are free to withdraw at any time, for almost any reason. While it's rare for Iguana Books to withdraw from a contract, authors sometimes move on if they find a traditional publisher, and Greg says that's okay.
"If an author finds a better deal somewhere else, we wish them well and let them go," he says. "We're not interested in trapping anybody. We want our authors to be happy with the services we provide."
Greg's inspiration for the contract came in part from his own experiences as an author. Of the two contracts he's signed with publishers, one left him with author's remorse.
"I wound up wishing I hadn't signed it, because it really wasn't working well for me, and that wasn't clear at the time," Greg says. "I wanted our authors to have a better experience than I did as a writer starting out all those years ago."
Now in its tenth version, the Iguana Books contract is a "living document" that has been revised multiple times based on input from Iguana's authors, Greg says.
"I keep the latest version on my desktop at all times, and if an author has a question or a concern, I'll look at the contract and see if it needs to be revised. It's very much a living document that we intend to keep working on and improving."
ABOUT IGUANA BOOKS AND GREG IOANNOU
Iguana Books is a Canadian hybrid publishing house that specializes in helping independent authors publish the most professional version of their book possible. Iguana Books has existed in various incarnations since 1991, and was relaunched as a sustained publishing program in 2011 by founder Greg Ioannou.
Greg has a long history in publishing; he's edited well over 3,000 books, taught publishing at Ryerson University and George Brown College (both in Toronto), served four terms as President of the Editors' Association of Canada, and is the CEO of Colborne Communications, a writing and editing company, and co-founder of PubLaunch.com, a crowdfunding and freelance marketplace website. He was inspired to start Iguana to address some of the structural problems facing traditional publishing and to help publish top-quality books unable to find a home in traditional houses. Under his direction, Iguana published its 100th book in 2017. Its backlist includes genres ranging from mysteries to political thrillers to inspirational memoirs, and in 2018, Iguana co-published the first in a series of planned anthologies of new writing with the Canadian Authors Association.
To read the contract or arrange an interview, visit our website at http://iguanabooks.ca or email Lee Parpart at firstname.lastname@example.org.