Friday, March 19, 2010

Why agents matter--yet another reason

Michael Stearns at Upstart Crow has posted on everyone's favorite topic: subsidiary rights! You might have worn your jaw out talking about these over breakfast with your family (kidding!), but here's another reminder why having an agent is a good idea in the increasingly complicated, fast-changing publishing business:

It is springtime here in New York, and as happens every spring, young hearts turn to thoughts of the Bologna Book Fair.

Or my old heart does, anyway. Every year, children’s books publishers and agents from all over the world gather in Bologna to buy and sell the rights to published and forthcoming books, to catch up with each other about trends, and to eat some truly excellent food. It is four days of constant meetings from nine to nine (some over drinks and dinner plates, true, but meetings nonetheless). From these meetings, many sales of properties are made to far-flung territories.

This can be a great benefit for a writer, the sale of individual rights to different countries. It means that the writer receives separate advances for each territory, and that each of those advances earns out on its own schedule. So even if the publisher in the US stumbles and the book does poorly here, it may still sell well elsewhere and the writer will still earn royalties. These separate income streams make it easier for a writer to actually make a living from writing.

Which is why we hold on to foreign and other subsidiary rights when we sell a project to a publisher.

Read the rest.

No comments: