I was negotiating a contract with my publisher, Wiley Publishing Company, to update and revise my book Inside Every Woman. They sent me the first draft of their contract as a PDF, which for most people is an un-editable document format. This is actually a pretty good strategy when negotiating a contract as most recipients will simply sign and return it. It can also serve as an intimidating, take-it-or-leave-it message.
But if you know me, you know that’s not the way I roll. In this situation, I had two choices: ask the publisher for the original document in its native word-processing format and rewrite it with track changes (which I did), or use my Adobe® Acrobat® Professional editor to rework the PDF document (which I also did on the final copies). Yes, there is software that allows you to edit PDF documents, so no document is edit-proof unless its security settings are locked down tight.
But is sending un-editable contracts to attorneys for your legal nurse consulting business a good idea? My short answer is that it depends on the condition of your contracts or letter agreements. If you have a well-written, fair contract or letter agreement (like those available from the Institute) that you’ve used successfully in the past with other attorney-clients, then go for it. Especially if you’re using a simple letter agreement, this makes total sense and will speed the negotiation process.
When working with attorneys, it’s always best to make things as easy as possible. After all, if an attorney receives a contract in an editable format, they’re likely to do just that – edit it. This will guarantee that you get back an edited document that may not meet your approval or worse, require that you hire an attorney to review the changes before you sign it. If you send your prospective attorney-client a PDF of a contract that’s been well-received in the past, the odds are high that you’ll get back an executed copy.
Eight drafts and several negotiations later, my publisher and I reached an agreement on a contract version that was beneficial to both of us. When they sent me the final executable contract, they did so in PDF format. While I was reviewing it, I found a couple of typos and corrected them using Adobe Acrobat. Needless to say they were surprised, but not shocked. Now that I’ve got a contract, I can get started writing. It’s due to the publisher on June 15th and will be published in September 2011. Wish me luck!
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your experiences with sharing “editable” or “un-editable” documents.