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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just curious if anyone on the boards has sold rights to their book. Movie rights, foreign rights, ect. And if not, would you in the future if you had the opportunity?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hugh Howey said:
Yes. There's nothing to lose in doing so. You aren't using those rights.
Did you receive any royalties? Are you allowed creative input if a film is made?
 

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elake28 said:
Did you receive any royalties? Are you allowed creative input if a film is made?
I received advances on the foreign deals. Royalties will apply to those advances, but I don't think I'll ever "earn out."

I'm in LA right now to meet with the film people. I don't want any creative input, but I think they're going to ask for some anyway!
 

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Have several foreign deals the same as Hugh, thanks to the hard work of my agent, with advances and royalties if they earn out. Film rights are also up for offer and companies are being spoken to.

I'm not sure how you would go about negotiating foreign rights without an agent, but I'd still say Hugh is absolutely right: sell 'em if the deal is right for you.
 

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Bruce Blake said:
I'm interested in finding out how one would go about shopping those rights around without an agent.
If we're talking about foreign translation deals for scholarly nonfiction, I can tell you how to do it: You attend academic conferences in the United States where you know there will be international participants (including potential publishers and translators) and overseas conferences with the same view in mind. I have more than 25 translations in print of my four best known nonfiction books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Macedonian, and Croatian - see http://paullev.libsyn.com/found_in_translation_ for details. I received advances for all of these, and earned them back and received royalties for about a third of these.

Science fiction is a little different - attending Worldcon is a good idea. But usually the potential foreign publisher will know about your work and contact you.

Both of the above can be done without agents. But Hollywood is a different story, and you'll likely need an agent at all stages of the process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
cdstephens said:
Even the screenwriter isn't allowed creative input on a film. The author of the novel on which the film is based is lucky to be invited to the premiere.
Ouch! I guess that's Hollywood for you.
 

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cdstephens said:
Even the screenwriter isn't allowed creative input on a film. The author of the novel on which the film is based is lucky to be invited to the premiere.
Heh. I've heard that. It's said that writers are persona non grata in Hollywood. But I've been here 24 hours, and nobody's thrown anything at me.

And if you want to go to the premiere or have an on-set vacation, you better get that in the contract.
 

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I've lived the Hollywood writing game the past 10 years or so...the first project will fix your perspective. No matter how much you've heard, it's hard to take when your baby starts getting slapped around. You learn to let go and do whatever you can to help the collaboration have its best chance. It really helps to be in good hands with masters like Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian. Good luck, elake on shopping your rights and enjoy your time in town, Hugh.
 

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Gosh, I would love the opportunity to sell foreign rights! I really think I'd need an agent's help though, and I don't even know where I would start with that right now.

I was approached last summer about a film option, but the deal wasn't a very good one. It was a very LONG option and their terms if it ever did get made into a movie (which I do realize is super rare) were terrible for me. I talked to an entertainment attorney and she wisely advised me to say no.

The only subsidiary rights I have signed is with Sea Lion Books. They are working on a graphic novel adaptation. So cool! I'm very excited about that! Wish more opportunities like that would come my way in 2013.
 

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Hugh Howey said:
I received advances on the foreign deals. Royalties will apply to those advances, but I don't think I'll ever "earn out."

I'm in LA right now to meet with the film people. I don't want any creative input, but I think they're going to ask for some anyway!
Just curious, Hugh. Why don't you want any creative input? I know many novelists talk about keeping their book voice away from the movie, and not getting involved with the script for fear of ruining it - is that your take? I only ask because I've never envisioned anyone other than me writing the scripts for my books. Sure, I'll co-write with more skilled screenwriters, but as I've always written scripts (it's like a pendulum effect - I go back and forth between scripts and books) it just seemed like a natural thing for me.

What about everyone else? Would you prefer to write/co-write the scripts or leave it to more seasoned screenwriters?
 

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Lady Vine said:
Just curious, Hugh. Why don't you want any creative input? I know many novelists talk about keeping their book voice away from the movie, and not getting involved with the script for fear of ruining it - is that your take? I only ask because I've never envisioned anyone other than me writing the scripts for my books. Sure, I'll co-write with more skilled screenwriters, but as I've always written scripts (it's like a pendulum effect - I go back and forth between scripts and books) it just seemed like a natural thing for me.

What about everyone else? Would you prefer to write/co-write the scripts or leave it to more seasoned screenwriters?
I'd leave it to them. I don't really have a specific reason other than "they probably have a better idea of screenwriting than I do". Really, if I ever sold movie rights, the only thing I'd want (along with whatever you usually get) is an on-site vacation. I think it'd be so amazing to just be around and watch it all happening in the background.
 

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Have had some experience with both my indie books and the non-fiction work I published 'traditionally'.

My novel Line of Control was published in French by Actes Sud (as Flashpoint). For the Alice in Deadland trilogy I sold Indian paperback rights to an Indian publisher and Turkish rights to a publisher there. Also sold Zombiestan Indian paperback rights to an Indian publisher.

On my 'trad' books, which are largely business oriented, Brand Management 101 was translated into Vietnamese, and The Cubicle Manifesto is currently in contract finalization stage for Japanese rights.

One of my novels, Heroes R Us (published in India by Random House) is being made into a movie in India by Anil Kapoor Productions (of 24 and Slumdog fame). Have no involvement in the scriptwriting, but made sure in the contract to ensure starting rolling credits and also credits in any merchandising etc.

Net, the great thing about indie publishing and holding all rights is that you can sell them by region, by language, by format....a luxury writers a few years ago working with a large publishing house would not have had the same flexibility on.

How to do it is a mixed bag- in most cases, agents or publishers reached out and things worked out. Once such an opportunity lands your way, the key thing is to be as well educated as possible (or get help) on contract and negotiations.

The only other thing to add is that, as with most things, never underestimate the power of relationships and connecting with people. It's a small world, and you never know when and how opportunities open up. The Editor at Actes Sud who had reached out to me many years ago for the French rights of Line of Control subsequently left (he made it HUGE as he was the guy who discovered Stieg Larrson and translated his work first into French and sold rights), and joined a Film and Literary Agency in Europe as a partner. We've stayed in touch, and now he asked for some of my recent work such as Alice in Deadland. Nothing concrete yet, but a foot in the door.

I guess that's the biggest way in which selling foreign or movie rights as an indie is different. You don't have young kids with business cards of big publishing houses doing the grunt work. A lot, as with any small business, comes down to your personal credibility and relationships, so if you do get a deal or a foot in the door, keep those connections alive...and you never know where they may lead.
 

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Lady Vine said:
Just curious, Hugh. Why don't you want any creative input? I know many novelists talk about keeping their book voice away from the movie, and not getting involved with the script for fear of ruining it - is that your take? I only ask because I've never envisioned anyone other than me writing the scripts for my books. Sure, I'll co-write with more skilled screenwriters, but as I've always written scripts (it's like a pendulum effect - I go back and forth between scripts and books) it just seemed like a natural thing for me.

What about everyone else? Would you prefer to write/co-write the scripts or leave it to more seasoned screenwriters?
Part of the reason is not having the time. The other part is knowing they'll do a better job than I would. Like vizzle said, I just want to visit the set. (If it ever gets that far, which it's not guaranteed to).
 

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Hugh Howey said:
I received advances on the foreign deals. Royalties will apply to those advances, but I don't think I'll ever "earn out."

I'm in LA right now to meet with the film people. I don't want any creative input, but I think they're going to ask for some anyway!
Pssst! Kyle Chandler would make a great sheriff! Just sayin'!
 

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sarracannon said:
Gosh, I would love the opportunity to sell foreign rights! I really think I'd need an agent's help though, and I don't even know where I would start with that right now.

I was approached last summer about a film option, but the deal wasn't a very good one. It was a very LONG option and their terms if it ever did get made into a movie (which I do realize is super rare) were terrible for me. I talked to an entertainment attorney and she wisely advised me to say no.

The only subsidiary rights I have signed is with Sea Lion Books. They are working on a graphic novel adaptation. So cool! I'm very excited about that! Wish more opportunities like that would come my way in 2013.
AWESOME!!!!
 

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Chris A. Jackson said:
I want Peter Jackson to make a movie of my book Deathmask. It'd be right up his alley: magic, horror, epic battles between the living and undead...
So you want your film adaptation to be three hours long, have lots of CGI helicopter shots and only follow half the plot of the book? ;)
 

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Yes to the foreign rights question.  I did it without an agent and hired an attorney to review the contract that I negotiated.

Joe Nassise on these boards has done many, all or most without an agent.
 
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