Author Topic: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks  (Read 5344 times)  

Offline VonC

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Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:17:07 AM »
I have authored a modest number of books on various topics.  Love the process, but also realize that at the rate I am writing I will probably complete one book per year (like many of you, I have a day job).  I am finding I am pretty good at the promotion side, though, and really enjoy the "business" of books even if my ability to create them is limited at this stage of life.

Just wanted to put the feelers out there for anyone who may be looking to exit their book (especially KDP).  I would pay you today for the rights to your book ongoing.  Could be a win-win if you enjoy the creative process of writing but are not really into everything that comes after that.  I am independent, individual, and the quality of title would be important to me.  You, of course, would retain full authorship in perpetuity, and the full ability to list the book(s) in your bio and CV.

PM if this is something you think it worth a discussion.  Thanks for all of the great info in this forum. 

Online Becca Mills

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 12:02:14 PM »
Greetings, VonC! You're welcome to promote your business here in the Writers' Cafe.

Now that you have an official thread, you may want to add your listing to our Yellow Pages, found here: http://www.kboards.com/yp/. The listing is free to KB members and is completely self-service; you can add and edit your listing from the page. More information on our Yellow Pages listing can be found here.

In your thread here, we ask that the same basic rules be followed as we have for authors in the Book Bazaar: you may have this one thread about your service and must post to it rather than start a new thread each time. New threads about the service will be removed. Please bookmark this thread so that you can find it again when you want to post. You may not make back-to-back posts to the thread within seven days. If someone responds (as I'm doing with this post), you may reply to them, but otherwise you must wait seven days. Any pattern of posting designed to artificially bump your thread to the top of the forum is prohibited. Please note that very short or (one- or two-word) posts with no meaningful information are discouraged and may be deleted at the moderators' discretion. Lastly, your posts and images will need to meet our "forum decorum" guidelines, which is the case for every member.

You may find that members ask searching questions -- about how your service works, for example, or what they will get for their money, or whether your service adheres to Amazon's terms of service. Such "vetting" is a common here.

Note that members are allowed to provide civil and honest feedback about your service in this thread. This feedback may include criticisms as well as kudos. You may respond to criticism in a civil manner, but name-calling, badgering, accusations of lying, and other breaches of forum decorum can lead to loss of vendor posting privileges.

Any and all disputes between you and your clients should be handled off-site.

Thanks,
Becca
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(Note that this welcome does not constitute an endorsement or vetting of a service by KBoards. Members should do due diligence when considering using a service.)

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 12:09:32 PM »
Why don't you just hire a ghostwriter? Buying the rights to already existing books sounds needlessly complicated and would probably confuse readers.

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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 12:37:46 PM »
This is for both the OP and people thinking about these kinds of deals.

How long will the book remain published? Will that be in the contract? Listing a book on a CV that's no longer published looks odd, no? But a post like this of someone starting a publishing company to buy the rights of others with no website or established name or clear plans to make this happen, there's a lot of concerns that need to be addressed.

Who owns the rights for other formats? What happens if the company OP wants to start folds and the original author has audiobook and paperback and translations or a movie offer? Do the ebook rights revert back?

What about writing later in the same world? There's also issues there is someone owns the rights to book 1 or book 1-3 of a story world and the author in another season of life feels to write again in that world, is that okay?

Rights are a huge deal. Huge. Signing away rights is frought with pitfalls that even experienced agents, lawyers, and writers make mistakes with.

Be thorough and clear. Protect everyone involved. I would urge everyone to not make these kinds of deals lightly, please.


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Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2018, 01:24:27 PM »
Elizabeth - Thanks for the info.  I will post over there too.  I read the Forum Rules thoroughly that this will be my only post here on this topic  :)

Becca - great points.  Clarity is key.  The scenario I see where it could be a win/win is one like this:  Author writes a book, sells it via Amazon for a couple years.  Not a blockbuster, but a few books are selling each week. At that point, they have earned a small royalty stream, but are ready to move on to the next project which perhaps requires some capital, or maybe they are ready to move to Costa Rica for a year, you name it.  By buying that title from them, I can provide a one-time cash infusion for the author, and also assume the risk of future sales tailing off (and potentially also the opportunity of keeping it going for a while longer if I do a good job). 

As for Ebooks and Createspace, I don't see any downside of keeping the book alive indefinitely.  That would be the plan.

You are right, it is not for everyone.  The higher-profile the author, the more I'm NOT a fit.... I would actually recommend that person goes to an established publishing company who has dealt with the finer legal points for years or decades.  For authors with smaller followings (or NF authors), it could be worth a glance.

Offline Annie B

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2018, 03:10:05 PM »
You might get more luck if you talk about what you specifically mean by a cash infusion, because there's a huge world of difference between "I'll buy the rights to publish your book for X number of years for 20,000" and saying the same but offering a couple hundred instead.

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2018, 04:40:00 PM »
Good suggestion, Annie B.  Every situation is very different and warrants an interactive discussion, but I would say it depends on what kind of sales your book is getting.  A hypothetical might be an author who is seeing $1,000 a month from a book.  I might be able to pay $25,000 today for that.  Oversimplified example, but I wanted to give you some answer to your question.

Offline Annie B

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 04:50:44 PM »
Good suggestion, Annie B.  Every situation is very different and warrants an interactive discussion, but I would say it depends on what kind of sales your book is getting.  A hypothetical might be an author who is seeing $1,000 a month from a book.  I might be able to pay $25,000 today for that.  Oversimplified example, but I wanted to give you some answer to your question.

25k for a book that on its own earns 1k a month? I would guess you won't get anyone selling at that level interested with such a small up-front amount on this kind of deal... However, for 25k you can get a top notch ghost writer and own the book yourself forever.

Online Mark Gardner

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2018, 04:53:14 PM »
Good suggestion, Annie B.  Every situation is very different and warrants an interactive discussion, but I would say it depends on what kind of sales your book is getting.  A hypothetical might be an author who is seeing $1,000 a month from a book.  I might be able to pay $25,000 today for that.  Oversimplified example, but I wanted to give you some answer to your question.
I'm sure that an author making $1000 a month on a single title wouldn't be interested in parting with that revenue stream, especially if the contract was longer than two years.

Online Anarchist

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 05:04:19 PM »
25k for a book that on its own earns 1k a month? I would guess you won't get anyone selling at that level interested with such a small up-front amount on this kind of deal... However, for 25k you can get a top notch ghost writer and own the book yourself forever.

I'm sure that an author making $1000 a month on a single title wouldn't be interested in parting with that revenue stream, especially if the contract was longer than two years.

VonC might find takers depending on the terms. It's no different than buying an established website on Flippa.

Cash-poor authors who need funds today may be willing to sell.


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Online LilyBLily

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 05:12:56 PM »
People who buy ghostwritten novels for $500 a pop are offering worse terms for the immediate cash. This offer might find some takers.


Offline Annie B

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 05:17:22 PM »
People who buy ghostwritten novels for $500 a pop are offering worse terms for the immediate cash. This offer might find some takers.



Maybe. Except ghost-writers don't have to prove their books are selling commodities first. That changes things. But it's true, some writers might want the short term cash instead I guess, especially if they think the 1k a month or whatever is a glitch and unlikely to last or be built upon.

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 05:34:02 PM »
Appreciate the dialogue here.

I would just add that there is no guarantee that a book earning $1,000/mo today will still be earning $1,000/mo in two years.  Spaces get crowded, reader tastes change, and Amazon could always change the rules of the game -- and let's assume they are not looking to be more generous  :)

Just noting there is risk on the buyer side here, too.

Offline levolal

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 06:05:15 PM »
A book earning 1k/mo long after its release is worth 25k upfront if it comes with the pen and all the marketing work. A book doesn't make money, marketing and names do. I have bought several backcatalogs. My most recent backcatalog buy was making over $300/mo and I paid $3k upfront for 100 titles which is a little more than what I normally pay on "used goods". Actually, when buying books, unless the pen comes with it and the listing is maintained, having a used book that is well-known with fresh marketing/pen is worse than having a used book which is great quality and unknown (ghostwriting).

With websites, you can command that sort of price selling them (1k/mo website could potentially sell for 25k), but that is because websites typically appreciate in value whereas writing typically depreciates over time with the highest income being at the beginning of the release and then tapering off. Great quality writing has almost no value outside of the marketing.

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 06:36:04 PM »
People coming here with no recognizable names or websites like a legitimate publishing company and few posts looking to buy rights is unsettling to me. The only way you make money is getting the rights to an intellectual property that pays dividends down the road after your great marketing plan.

Publishing for profit is far more difficult than just a great marketing plan. It requires levels of readers, some with different needs and a consistency in tone for a larger catalog.

I really hope no one takes $1,000 now only to find out they've lost all creative control of their invention and no way to get it back unless they make another deal with the anonymous single digits poster.

If you had a company with a track record, maybe I'd feel differently. But as is, this doesn't feel right to me. I'm sure it could be the right deal for someone out there, but just make sure you research the long lasting ramifications of selling your rights. I'd go for a 10 or 15 year license first.


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Offline levolal

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2018, 06:58:47 PM »
I really hope no one takes $1,000 now only to find out they've lost all creative control of their invention and no way to get it back unless they make another deal with the anonymous single digits poster.

If you had a company with a track record, maybe I'd feel differently. But as is, this doesn't feel right to me. I'm sure it could be the right deal for someone out there, but just make sure you research the long lasting ramifications of selling your rights. I'd go for a 10 or 15 year license first.

If you're dealing with private buyers like me, most private buyers will only be interested in exclusive, comprehensive rights. No 10 or 15 years, no complications, your work is ours and you get no say in how it is used or any ability to make money off of it in the future such as royalties or audiobooks. I mostly buy erotica, but I've bought romance, too. If you aren't making money off one project, people will often sell to make up for marketing on a new project. Then again, I started out in erotica communities where it is all about the bottom line so I never had any hangups about selling or buying rights. Erotica swaps hands like used money until it finds the right owner and catalog it fits in with. We also "write to market" in the sense that almost all of us writes things that we hate reading and that includes us that go to romance as well.

Romance does better in the longrun, but tends to be the "baby" or "special" project that someone loves and cherishes and wants to sell to you for an arm and a leg so most of the romance that is sold to me is truly dismal failures or people looking for stupid prices that I won't pay. Fantasy authors are the most common non-erotica authors that try to sell to me, but fantasy books [don't sell] unless you have a reader base. Ridiculous page lengths drives up the cost per book, it's often incomprehensible for editors without a lot of extra work (again, driving up the price per page), and it's hard to find readership unless you put a lot of time and dedication into building it (and you rarely buy from the same author twice).

Smalltime writer, lower-middletime buyer.



LOL, but edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 07:16:33 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2018, 07:07:39 PM »
Color me a tad more altruistic than levolai  ;) but his/her point about exclusivity is important.  This is really for authors who are kind of done with this project and just want to move on.

Offline SidK

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2018, 07:11:03 PM »
VonC

Your deal is intriguing and something I maybe interested in the future. But I would be reluctant to deal with an anonymous stranger on the internet. Have you set up a business with a website one could bookmark for the future?

I'm sure that an author making $1000 a month on a single title wouldn't be interested in parting with that revenue stream, especially if the contract was longer than two years.

Not if the author is uncertain about the $1,000 income stream holding into the future. 

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2018, 07:15:48 PM »
VonC

Your deal is intriguing and something I maybe interested in the future. But I would be reluctant to deal with an anonymous stranger on the internet. Have you set up a business with a website one could bookmark for the future?

Not if the author is uncertain about the $1,000 income stream holding into the future.

I'd be happy to provide plenty of background and information over PM (or email / Skype / phone call).  I have a thing about having lots of personal info on a forum that will live forever.  Facebook already knows way too much about me.  No website, as this is not a business per se.  I am just someone with a bit more treasure than time at the moment, who enjoys the world of books.

Offline solo

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2018, 07:30:59 PM »
As a straight business deal, I believe this would work for some. But not all.

But it would help those interested if details are clearer - genre? Coverage of sale? Other basic matters.

1,000 a.month is really not that high when one considers the effect of cliffs, marketing costs, and other headaches.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 07:44:35 PM by solo »

Offline SidK

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2018, 07:41:40 PM »
I'd be happy to provide plenty of background and information over PM (or email / Skype / phone call).  I have a thing about having lots of personal info on a forum that will live forever.  Facebook already knows way too much about me.  No website, as this is not a business per se.  I am just someone with a bit more treasure than time at the moment, who enjoys the world of books.

Well, I hope you will leave behind some way of contacting you in the future. I am planning on creating a separate penname for purely 'commercial' (what is known as Write-To-Market on Kboards) books, while leaving this name for 'Personal' books I love writing. This will prevent unnecessary IP entanglement. 

I take it you apply something like 25x Monthly Income multiple for book valuation based on your 25K for 1K/Month book example? 

Offline VonC

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2018, 07:51:53 PM »
Just left you a PM with a little more info on how to reach me.

25X is a safe assumption, but I would want to discuss w/ you as well and understand the situation.  e.g. A NF book about a certain technology that won't be as relevant in the future is a good example of one that might be valued at less than that.  A book that is part of a series that the author plans to continue could be worth a little more.

Offline solo

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2018, 07:55:11 PM »
Just left you a PM with a little more info on how to reach me.

25X is a safe assumption, but I would want to discuss w/ you as well and understand the situation.  e.g. A NF book about a certain technology that won't be as relevant in the future is a good example of one that might be valued at less than that.  A book that is part of a series that the author plans to continue could be worth a little more.

Series backlisters could be an option for you. But on-going series work may be a tad more complicated. Especially if they're earning a substantial amount for the writer.

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 05:35:50 AM »
Not for me. I'm sure there are folks who will jump at something like this, but I don't see any benefit for me. To be honest, I'm with Elizabeth and her concerns. Things are not clear -- deliberately so, for whatever reason -- and I'm not willing to engage in private dealings to see what might actually be on offer. But then, I'm a suspicious type, so...
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Online LilyBLily

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Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 06:31:20 AM »
I've met authors who cheerfully sell all rights. They're usually young and think of themselves as fairly desperate while also believing that their creativity and energy will last beyond selling these minor items to others. They never seem to consider that these "minor" pieces might be the best ideas they'll ever have.

I know authors who are old and truly desperate because they sold all their rights when they were young. Now they can't work and have nothing to live on, and a big corporation rakes in millions off their cheaply sold ideas. 

My baseline on selling all rights is: Don't do it.

However, I'm well aware that some people will sell all rights anyway. They should lawyer up, using the best entertainment lawyer they can find, and make sure they get a contract that covers everything clearly and is favorable to them in the long term.