Negotiating for cover credit, or giving it up is part of the deal you strike when agreeing to write someone’s book. If I sign away the right to have my name on the book, as I did when I worked on Jenny Sanford’s memoir, I make a choice and don’t look back. Sure, from time to time I wish I had retained the cover credit, but when you sign a contract, you have decided for this book at least. If one feels regretful, the only lesson to take from it is one that is useful in the next contract.
But when I’ve negotiated for cover credit, I expect to get it. I thought that my credit was protected by this contract language, which seemed strong enough:
5. Credit. The parties agree that the credit on the Work shall read THE CELEBRITY with Danelle Morton. The precise size, style, location and other visual aspects of such credit for each book in the Work shall be negotiated in good faith by AUTHOR and WRITER based not only on their own wishes, but also those of THE PUBLISHER, with any discrepancies being decided finally by THE PUBLISHER based on its sole business judgment.”
In practice it meant:
“The parties agree that the credit on the Work shall read THE CELEBRITY with Danelle Morton. The precise size, style and location and other visual aspects of such credit for each book in the work shall be negotiated in good faith by AUTHOR and WRITER unless we happen not to feel like informing her agent and ram through the decision without consulting her or her representatives. If our whimsical business judgment so dictates, we can place Danelle Morton’s credit on the last page of the book in the lower right hand corner in four point type and, because of this clause in the contract, her objections to such action will be considered outrageous. And, although we say that she will receive cover credit, this does not mean that we will list her on the publisher’s website, in the listings on Amazon or any other online retailer or in the press releases. So ha ha ha, thanks for all your hard work, lost hair, new wrinkles and weight gain as you try to meet our impossible deadline with an unreliable, uncommunicative celebrity. By the way, what was your name again? I forget. IT’S NO WHERE TO BE FOUND ON THE BOOK