All Resources

Event Recording

Agent Talks: Book Contract Basics with Rebecca Matte

resource video

Publishing contracts can seem inscrutable or overwhelming, due to the complexities and legal language involved. Even with a literary agent and the Authors Guild legal staff available to help, authors should learn the basic structure, key provisions, and common pitfalls to avoid in any book deal. Rebecca Matte, literary agent and contracts manager at Bradford Literary Agency, will explain book contract basics and what can go wrong. We will also demystify some of the more legalistic language that seriously implicates authors and explore some simple ways to turn a contract in the author’s favor should they not otherwise have representation.

Moderated by Tamara Kawar, literary agent at DeFiore & Company. Michael Gross, director of legal services at the Authors Guild, will be on hand to explain points from the Guild’s model contract.

Special thanks to the Association of American Literary Agents and to Literary Agents of Change for collaborating with the Authors Guild Foundation on this series.


Rebecca Matte (she/her) is a Literary Agent & Contracts Manager at Bradford Literary Agency. Prior to working at Bradford, she worked as assistant to Executive Agent Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, where she provided editorial and contract support for a wide array of books across genre and age range. Rebecca began her professional life as an IP and contracts lawyer for several prominent law firms in New York City, and now seeks to use those skills to raise up authors and help them succeed.  She currently works full-time as a Settlement Officer for the Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings in NYC and has her own small practice, Matter Services LLC, which provides simple contract review support to individuals on a variety of subject matters.

In Collaboration With:

Association of American Literary Agents (AALA)

Since its founding in 1991, the Association of American Literary Agents has been a leading force in furthering the interests of agents, authors and other rights holders. Through regular educational programming, community-building initiatives, and advocating for agents and authors alike, the volunteer-run organization is dedicated to helping our members maintain and broaden their professional skills in a fast-changing publishing environment. Recognizing the historically exclusive nature of publishing, the AALA is committed to engendering a more diverse, equitable, participatory, and inclusive publishing community. Members of the AALA must agree to adhere to its widely-respected Canon of Ethics, thus ensuring that our membership maintains the highest standards of ethics and integrity in dealings with and on behalf of our clients and our publishing colleagues. 

Literary Agents of Change

Literary Agents of Change, the nonprofit born out of American Association of Literary Agents’ (AALA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, was formed to help dismantle the barriers to entry into a career as a literary agent for members of historically underrepresented groups, particularly people of color while recognizing the systems of overlapping oppressions in regard to race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, class, and ability. Literary Agents of Change offers a Fellowship Program to encourage recruitment into the profession, and a Mentorship Program focused on the retention and promotion of agents from these communities.