Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rights For Sale! Get Your Fresh, Hot Rights!

In On Writing by Stephen King, he mentions having sold the paperback rights to Carrie for 400K. Do publishers still sell paperback rights,
Sure they do. For adult bestsellers.
and if they do, can they still get 400K or anything near that much?
Sure they can. For adult bestsellers.
Speaking of sub rights, which ones are the most lucrative?
The ones that are not for children's books.
Ok, I'm being just a teeny bit facetious. But it kinda depends on the book. Some books have good foreign potential, others will do better in paperback than in hardcover. Get yourself a good agent and consider the matter taken care of.

5 comments:

Susan said...

Ah.
That agent thing again.
I'm waiting for my 2009 GLA to hit the mailbox any day now, from Amazon. All these rights and clauses and things are a bit mind-boggling.

working illustrator said...

Most lucrative sub rights? Oh, darlin', there's not even a debate on this question: film. Film, film, film. Just the option - which is basically a reservation for a possible future purchase - can be three or four times the entire original advance.

Selling those rights (or even the option), is of course not so easy, but if you can do it it's a sweet, sweet deal.

Adrienne said...

While I agree selling the option of your book to the film industry has great financial potential, I want to add that it is also no guarantee. I know people who have sold options for seven figures. I also know people who sold it for around ten thousand. Like selling the book in the first place, options have just as wide a range.

I think a lot of people think that when a book is optioned, that the author can retire, much in the same way people who don't write think all published authors are rich. It can happen, but like everything else in life, it depends on the situation.

working illustrator said...

Sure, but this is also true of any sub-rights. Whatever range of potential the book has to generate income, the film rights wil always be the most potentially lucrative. A book that's able to command a huge sum for paperback rights, for example, will command an even huger one for film.

Plus if the film actually gets made - a big if, but still- there's the potential for a sizable backwash of book sales. How many people read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist before the film deal was done? How many more will read the reprint with the movie image on the cover?

Both the price of film rights and this additional book sales potential come from the same source: the audience for movies is vastly larger than the audience for books (I don't mean that in a weepy-waily what's-wrong-with-our-culture way... it's just a fact). The amount of money attached to that audience is therefore correspondingly greater.

Adrienne said...

Yes, and I agree with all your points. If they pay a lot of money, then it can be a huge deal. If the film gets made certainly there is a much higher chance your book sales will increase.

But still, I know authors who got huge six figure advances for their book and small five figures for the film option.

Foreign rights as well can be a huge chunk of change.

So different rights sales, depending on a lot of different factors can end up being incredibly lucrative.

My point is that film rights aren't always the top of the pile.

Also just because a company options your book does not mean they will ever produce it (you said that as well, I am just repeating the sentiment for lurkers). I've heard tell of some pretty large production houses that buy the rights to certain books with no intention of ever producing it, just to make sure no one else does either.

All your points are totally valid, mine are simply to try to clear up the false assumption that an author has it made once she sells her film rights.