Author Topic: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback  (Read 640 times)  

Offline Redgum

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Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
« on: June 02, 2020, 11:01:40 pm »
Hey all

I have been approached by a publisher who wants to publish some of my novels as paperbacks. The only experience I have in this area is signing an audiobook contract with a different publisher which is not exactly the same thing. I do not have an agent but would like to go ahead with the deal. Any advice from anyone with experience would be gratefully received - pitfalls, things to look out for, etc.

As ever, thanks in advance

:)

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    Offline CloudStrife

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 05:45:42 am »
    Off the top of my head:

    - length of contract (how many years to expire)
    - equitable clauses - do they get special opportunities to back out of the deal if they don't like it, that you don't?
    - how many rights are they taking (audiobooks too?)
    - are they only taking rights they plan to actually use? (some request movie rights, rights to make products around your book, etc.)
    - The advance, of course
    - Are royalty percentages paid industry standard, at least?
    - Ask detailed questions about anything you are uncertain about
    - If you don't like the wording of something, request a change
    - If they are hesitant or stingy about working with you because of a fairly small change you requested, they aren't serious to begin with, so it's okay if you lose the "opportunity"
    - Negotiate on something, anything - only suckers accept the first deal. Choose whether you want a better advance. If they say no, ask for better royalties. If they say no, ask for something else. Ask until you receive. If not, they aren't serious and they don't care about you or your book. Just leave.

    Offline CloudStrife

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #2 on: June 03, 2020, 05:48:33 am »
    Something that kind of annoys me - many companies still require signed copies of contracts. With COVID, mailing stuff overseas may be more troublesome than usual, and who knows, maybe cost more financially too.

    If that is a dealbreaker, ask about that up front. Some may require paper copies as a policy, but be willing to make exceptions and take scanned copies.

    Also ask about manner of payment.

    Expect them to break all of their own rules. If they say they will pay the advance in 60 days, expect it in 120 days....

    By the way, something else you may negotiate on (I never have) is amount of free copies of the book you get. If that matters to you, they may be willing to send you some extra copies. I think standard (in my case) is that they give you somewhere from 3-8 complementary copies. Obviously, that depends on the size of the deal / company, etc.
    « Last Edit: June 03, 2020, 05:50:09 am by CloudStrife »

    Offline Redgum

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 05:35:35 pm »
    Big thanks to both of you - I'll press ahead with this and see where it goes. I just wondered how common it was these days to deal direct with publishers and have no agent as a middle man.

    Offline CloudStrife

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 05:02:34 am »
    I do it on my own without an agent - that's how I learned the above. Good luck!

    Offline CloudStrife

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 05:53:06 am »
    Something important I'm not sure if I mentioned. You probably don't want them to get "worldwide rights" in the contract. This means they would have the rights for the book in ALL territories. I make it clear when I deal with foreign rights companies that I am only going to sell the rights to territories where they plan to publish the book, and where they have some prior track record of successfully publishing in such territories. Also, the language should probably be one particular language. I wouldn't sell the rights to ALL languages, or even 5 languages unless they had specific plans to produce those books.

    Do your own research, but I feel what I've told you will give you a huge head start.

    Offline Redgum

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 05:43:02 pm »
    Something important I'm not sure if I mentioned. You probably don't want them to get "worldwide rights" in the contract. This means they would have the rights for the book in ALL territories. I make it clear when I deal with foreign rights companies that I am only going to sell the rights to territories where they plan to publish the book, and where they have some prior track record of successfully publishing in such territories. Also, the language should probably be one particular language. I wouldn't sell the rights to ALL languages, or even 5 languages unless they had specific plans to produce those books.

    Do your own research, but I feel what I've told you will give you a huge head start.

    Just read this today Cloudstrife. Massive thanks for your help here. Since my last post I've had a second publishing house in a different territory contact me wanting some of my other series. I'll let you know how it all goes!

    Offline Triceratops

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #7 on: June 25, 2020, 07:03:35 pm »
    Just read this today Cloudstrife. Massive thanks for your help here. Since my last post I've had a second publishing house in a different territory contact me wanting some of my other series. I'll let you know how it all goes!

    FYI. If you're getting some heat, might be good to have a rep.

    Media Release: Alliance of Independent Authors to Partner with the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency

    The Alliance Of Independent Authors (ALLi) and the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency (EELA) have inaugurated a partnership to assist ALLi members in the management and licensing of their rights.

    The Ellenberg Agency will provide three services:

    1. an "ask me anything" style advisory service through the ALLi Member Care desk;

    2. one-off representation on contract offers and

    3. full rights representation to qualifying ALLI authors.

    At the moment, the latter service is for ALLi members at Authorpreneur level only.

    Rights covered include translation, audio, and more and advice is freely offered. This is a non-exclusive arrangement for the authors, there is no obligation to employ the Ellenberg Agency in any capacity, and all services are offered by member-request only. The aim is to empower authors to confidently manage their publishing rights on a selective licensing basis, rather than assigning or licensing all rights to a single publisher or rights buyer, as outlined in ALLi's Self-Publishing 3.0 campaign.


    https://selfpublishingadvice.org/ethan-ellenberg-literary-agency-to-partner-with-alli/

    Edit: formatting.
    « Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 07:05:10 pm by Triceratops »

    Offline notjohn

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #8 on: June 26, 2020, 04:59:26 am »
    My advice is to ask for a lot of money. HarperCollins owned the translation rights to one of my books and sold the Chinese rights to a publisher in a deal that has so far netted me $3500. I would never have dared ask that much, but I would certainly ask for $1000 up front. (That's for a single country, single language.)

    There's a lot of money in publishing. When Harper let that book go out of print, I reverted to an earlier cover design, and for reasons I don't remember I asked a question of the graphic artist who did the Harper edition. She responded by sending me the whole package, including her contract. Harper had paid her $2400 for the cover. This for an edition that sold about 40,000 copies, yet there was no way of knowing it would do that well at the time it was in the works.
    Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting: http://viewbook.at/notjohn

    The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com

    Offline Nicole Simon

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    Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
    « Reply #9 on: June 26, 2020, 11:26:54 am »
    Something that kind of annoys me - many companies still require signed copies of contracts. With COVID, mailing stuff overseas may be more troublesome than usual, and who knows, maybe cost more financially too.

    If that is a dealbreaker, ask about that up front. Some may require paper copies as a policy, but be willing to make exceptions and take scanned copies.
    This is not necessary to annoy you or make it difficult but because often there are legal implications - you cannot send and email and have a legal contract unless you get a digital signature on that mail like docusign. Usually the publishers are not there yet so they require paper docs. But in many cases you can ask if you can fax the contract; in Germany this is often considered legally on the same level.  In this case I would make sure every page has a footnote, fax them and then also send a pdf. This way they can save the faxed copy and have a good readable version as well.
    If they need proper electronic signatures, https://www.docusign.com/products-and-pricing is standard and easily available.

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