Buying Book Publishing Rights
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There are a few situations in which you may want to buy the rights to a book. For example, you may be a publisher who wants to publish a book in your country, or you may want to purchase the rights of a foreign author so you can sell them in your country. Alternately, you could be a producer who wants to buy rights to a book in order to make a movie or TV show. All authors have copyrights in their written work, and this copyright gives them the exclusive right to reproduce the work and create derivative products (such as movies). To buy the rights, you should consider how much you can offer and then reach out to the appropriate person to begin negotiating details.
Frankfurt Rights is the leading online platform for buying and selling rights internationally that enables communication, information sharing and transactions between rights buyers and sellers, allowing publishers to focus more efficiently on relationships and content.
Growing the list of books you publish goes a long way in generating revenue. With PubMatch, you can find and preview books that fit your criteria, and with [email protected], you can purchase rights to available titles with just a few clicks.
Many people are confused by the publishing landscape (which is understandable), and want a lot more background information before starting on their book publishing journey. This chapter is long and comprehensive, and answers questions like these:
The book publishing landscape can be very confusing. This is for many reasons; the most relevant to you is that the business of book publishing has changed dramatically over the past decade, and most of the advice people give is dated and wrong.
Furthermore, most of the guides to book publishing are geared toward professional writers, novelists, or hobbyists. Entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and other professionals who are writing business and personal development books should look at book publishing through a completely different lens than professional writers.
In traditional publishing, an author must find a book agent to represent them to publishing companies. Then along with the agent, pitch a book publishing company (which are almost all based in New York City, such as HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster) with their book idea. If the pitch is successful and the publishing company offers the author a publishing deal, the publishing company purchases the ownership of the print license from the author in return for an advance on royalties (that the author does not have to pay back). The author is on their own to write the book, sometimes with editorial help from the publisher, sometimes not. The publisher then manages and controls the whole publishing and distribution process (the second and third steps).
A publishing company always owns the print license (which includes digital), while the author always owns the copyright. All other rights (movie, excerpt, etc.) are negotiable. This means the publishing company has final say over all aspects of that book.
The game has changed since then. In the modern world of book publishing, traditional publishers are no longer the gatekeepers, they provide very little prestige or access, and the other self-publishing options are better than a traditional publisher for most authors.
If you already have a big audience, then a publishing company will probably give you an advance. The advance can range from $100,000 to $1 million (or much more in rare cases), but the advance is directly tied to the expected book sales.
Let me be very clear: doing a book with a traditional publisher does not mean it will be covered in those outlets. In fact, the odds are small, even if you do get a traditional publishing deal. Each publisher puts out tens of thousands of books a year, and bookstores and retailers do not have the shelf space for all of them.
In the self-publishing model, the author retains ownership of their book and manages and controls the whole process. Self-publishing has many different forms, but at its core the author does the publishing work (or manages freelancers or publishing services companies who do the work for a fee). There is no acceptance needed, no advance, and the author retains all rights.
Some people think there is still a stigma to self-publishing. The data appears to say otherwise. Hugh Howey (self-published his novel Wool, which has sold millions of copies and is being made into a movie directed by Ridley Scott) did a study on 200,000 titles and showed that the self-published books on Amazon had, on average, a higher star ranking than traditionally published books.
In the hybrid model, the ownership of rights varies depending on the publishing company the author works with, but the basic idea is that they try to look like a traditional publishing company, but pay little to no advance, yet still take most of the royalties, still control a lot of the process, and still do some part of the publishing work.
The other problem is that in hybrid publishing, oftentimes the publishing company will try to retain copyright or other rights. One of the main attributes of old traditional publishing companies is that they ALWAYS reserve copyright to the author, and almost always leave all other rights to author (movies, TV, etc.). They only care about the rights involved around profiting from the printed word and related rights.
Chances are, self-publishing is the best option for you. Not only does self-publishing give you complete ownership of rights and royalties, but it also allows you to maintain total creative control. But as I mentioned before, it requires a lot of time and hard work to produce a professional book.
It covers how to pitch, negotiate and close a sale with producers, literary agents and global publishing houses, how to manage book fairs and other sales trips, and how to keep track of your rights business.
Covering financial, relationship and legal aspects, and focussing particularly on audiobooks, TV and film, and translation, How Authors Sell Publishing Rights shows how the publishing landscape for authors is transforming and yielding unprecedented opportunities.
However, if you are interested in selling publishing rights in your books, book fairs are a great place to identify potential rights buyers. This extract from the new ALLi guidebook, How Authors Sell Publishing Rights, by Helen Sedwick and Orna Ross, provides a useful introduction to the process.
While you need a plan to make the most of the fair, even without appointments, book fairs still provide a good opportunity to do unscheduled meet-and-greets, get emails and build correspondences and networks within the international rights buying community.
If you intend to take this route, it's not as simple as just showing up and hoping that a fortuitous, unarranged meeting with a buyer will launch your work. Meetings are arranged in advance with acquisitions editors at international publishing houses. Obtain a copy of the fair catalogue well in advance of the fair, and from there identify publishers whose subject interests appear compatible and find your best matches. List the stands you wish to visit, to further study their range and stye of publications. Larger book fairs often highlight key players attending, which can further assist your searches and matches.
It is traditional at fairs for rights sellers to operate from their stands and buyers to move from stand to stand, as the sellers have book samples, catalogues, advance information and sales material to handle. When starting out to sell rights for the first time, however, you may not be able to attract buyers to come to you, so may have to start off by visiting potential buyers, carrying books and sales material around the fair and returning to base as necessary. This can be tiring and awkward but it is likely the only way to make contacts at first.
While ad hoc meetings can lead to success, the bread-and-butter activity at a book fair is almost always a result of preparation and planning face-to-face meetings by appointment with interested buyers. The main purpose of an appointment is to finalize pending deals, discuss potential new business and deal with any outstanding problems. Hence it is vital to have all necessary details about the rights buyer and the title to hand (see Materials, below).
Make up a timetable for yourself and a data sheet for each buyer you will see, to be used as the basis for your meeting. When starting out, this sheet may contain little more than the name of the publishing house or agency, the country, range of subject interest and name of your contact. As you establish more contact and do more research, expand the information to details of books under consideration, any deals finalized, rights sold or under offer, problems or challenges emerging, technical specs, payment details, interest in future projects and so on.
Confirm any discussions held on specific deals, particularly financial agreements, other terms agreed and any relevant information e.g. delivery dates or submission materials. Include any relevant catalogue, rights guides, information sheets, sample chapters, manuscripts or reading copies.Retain the book fair catalogue which can be used to target follow up.
More on the Ukrainian publishing industry and book market is here. More on the freedom to publish and the freedom of expression is here, more on translation and translators is here, and more on the international rights trade is here.
After several years of false starts, the universe of digital books seems at last poised to expand dramatically. Readers should view this expansion with both excitement and wariness. Excitement because digital books could revolutionize reading, making more books more findable and more accessible to more people in more ways than ever before. Wariness because the various entities that will help make this digital book revolution possible may not always respect the rights and expectations that readers, authors, booksellers and librarians have built up, and defended, over generations of experience with physical books. 59ce067264