My friend, agent Les Stobbe did a great job of boiling down into simple terms what should be included in a book contract. Let me share it with you:
1. A Grant of Rights (explanation of who holds which rights)
2. A Delivery Date (when the author must deliver the manuscript)
3. Acceptance and Publication Schedules (a time frame for when the book will be published)
4. Warranties and Indemnities (that protect the editors from being sued)
5. Proofs the author will see
6. A Copyright Notice (that should be in the author‘s name)
7. Advance Information
8. Royalty Rates (these depend highly on the author‘s platform and the publisher)
9. Subsidiary Rights Percentages
10. Accounting and Payments (information on when the author gets paid)
11. Number of Author Copies (these copies should be for promotional purposes)
12. Reversion of Rights and Process (what happens if the book goes out of print?)
13. Bankruptcy Clause (what happens if the publisher goes bankrupt?)
14. Option Clause (this means that the publisher gets first right of refusal for the next book)
15. Agent Information, if applicable
Very Succinct, Les.