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Category Archives: All things Legal

The Traps in Publishing Contracts

ebooksinternational:

The key to a good publishing contract is clarity. For authors, it is helpful to keep in mind that most contracts are not take-it-or-leave-it propositions. Be courteous. Be tactful. Knowing what to ask for is critical. Use an agent or attorney who understands the parameters of the typical publishing deal to negotiate your contract. Working through an agent or attorney allows the author to preserve his creative relationship with the editor or publishing house, explains Attorney Lloyd J. Jassin on his website.

 

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

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Traditional Publishing Contracts – Part Two of a Series 

There should be a large neon sign that says: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER sign a contract without having your contract lawyer going over it and explaining it to you in detail – sentence for sentence. The contract clauses described here in this blog post are the “norm” in publishing. It is difficult to see how your publishing agreement will play out in the long term, what you sign today could have profound, long term consequences.

Contract attorney Ivan Hoffman explains in his blog:
“In the US, many contracts that consumers commonly sign, such as for mortgage or auto loans or to
obtain a credit card, are subject to statutory requirements for fairness, clarity, etc.  If some of the clauses and drafting techniques commonly included in publishing contracts used by publishers were found in consumer contracts, those provisions would be…

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Less than Minimum Wage for Authors?

ebooksinternational:

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Are you thinking about approaching an agent or publisher for your next book? Do you know what clauses publishing contracts usually contain? How do you read a publishing contract? What your income will be – compared to author-publishing? This blog post and the following two will help you to “take the con out of the work con-tract”.

Wikipedia explains: “A publishing contract is a legal contract between a publisher and a writer or author, to publish written material by the writer or author. This may involve a single written work, or a series of works.” And as with every legal contract, authors are faring better when consulting a lawyer that is specialized in publishing contracts – BEFORE – they sign it.  

 

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

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Justicia

Justicia

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Traditional Publishing Contracts – Part One of a Series

You might remember an article How Harlequin Publishing Deceives Their Authors from last summer in this blog, about the planned class action suit against the publisher. Today I stumbled about a sequel of J.A. Konrath’s blog: Harlekin Fail, Part 2, where he explains the contract practices of the trade publishers in general, and how they deceive their authors. From today on we will look more closely into these practices.
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When offered the opportunity to publish traditionally, about two-thirds of self-published authors are interested. The supposed prestige of a traditional publisher, the wide distribution a publisher can generate and help with marketing, are the reasons, cited in surveys.
However the perception of traditional publishing is often not up to date in public, as the way of book marketing (and the whole traditional publishing business) has totally…

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It’s this Time of the Year

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Income-Tax

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Benjamin Franklin said that “nothing is certain but death and taxes.”  It’s that time of the year again when we all must sit down and face the reality of just how much we did or did not earn during the last twelve months. Many writers are not aware of how they should be reporting certain income to get the greatest benefit.  Writers can get away with business tax deductions that ordinary people can’t get away with. Michael N. Marcus wrote a great article and showed samples of “tax avoidance”:
“If you are an author or a journalist, the key to creative tax avoidance is to write about things you like.”

 

  • If you like to travel, write about travel, and then deduct the cost of traveling.
  • If you like cars, rent some really cool cars, and write about them.
  • If you like to eat—and who doesn’t?—go to lots of restaurants, attend cooking schools, stock your pantry, and write about food.

Read his whole blog article here:  It’s Time to Think About Taxes

 

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Writers are presumed to be a professional if their writing made a profit in at least three out of the last five tax years, including the current year. Which means:  Not more than two years of expenses that are higher than the author income. Profits from your writing cannot be used to offset other income for tax purposes, such as a day job or other means of income, if you have more than two years of losses.

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Considerations of Profitability
There are a couple of other considerations that revenue agencies, such as the IRS, are listing, for example:

  • Have you made a profit in similar activities in the past? If you have a successful book under your belt — or even a series of articles in paid publications, such as newspapers, magazines or online publications, which can be a predictor that you are a professional writer.
  • Do you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business? How much do you know about running that business? Are you running it like a business, keeping records, keeping an eye to profitability? Did you take classes/seminars about the publishing business (e.g. marketing or tax etc.) no matter if online or offline?
  • Have you created a professional book marketing and publicity plan? This might even be shown by including affiliate programs on your website/blog. If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?

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Expenses You Can Deduct
Always try to pay from a separate account, set up for your writing business, to make book keeping easier. Keep receipts or / make copies of payments to contractors, freelancers and agency fees for book production, such as:

  • Proofreading
  • Editing
  • Illustrations
  • Photos
  • Graphic Design
  • Book Layout
  • Printing costs
  • eBook Formatting
  • Advanced Copy reviews
  • Book Trailer Design
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Book Promotion Costs, e.g.:

  • Advertisements, online and offline
  • Giveaways (free books, review copies, pens etc.)
  • Flyers, brochures, business cards, book marks
  • Book Fair expenses
  • Costs for newsletters (AWeber, MailChimp etc.)
  • Entry fee for writing contests
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Other costs, such as:

  • Transportation costs (note the dates, distance, reason)
  • Rental for book readings
  • Office rental or mortgage, heating, electricity for your home office by square feet
  • Phone / Internet / e-Reader costs
  • Website / blog costs, such as hosting or development
  • Office Supplies
  • Meal expenses: in the USA full for public events you might host, and 50% if it is for a business purpose (interview, writers conference, meeting with book professionals, publishers, agents etc.)
  • Transportation to meetings, events
  • Research costs
  • Copyright registration and ISBN fees
  • Your tax preparer or tax lawyer.
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Keep all your expense slips sorted by date and neatly filed to make it easier to find them
If you pay anyone of the above listed more than a couple of hundred dollars, you would need to include the contract and a form (in the United States it is IRS Form 1099-MISC). Note for each meal/entertainment expense the names, number of people participating and reason for meeting).

Further Reading:
http://www.freelancetaxation.com/deductions-writers
http://www.bus.lsu.edu/accounting/faculty/lcrumbley/tax_aspects.html

Disclaimer: These tips are meant to give general insight into tax information to writers, especially in the USA, and to give you an entry point so you can research further. While every effort was made to ensure the information in this article is accurate at the time it was written, we are not tax experts. Anyone filing taxes should consult a qualified tax prepare r for updated tax laws and further specifics on how these rules might apply to your individual tax situation.

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $159 for 3 months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/ to advertise your new book, specials or your KDP Select Free Days.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1.070 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

 

 

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9 Tips Where & How to Query to Literary Agents

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Literary-Agents-NY
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A typical literary agency receives close to 5,000 unsolicited query letters/book proposals per year – or approx. 150 per working day. On average these agents accept only 10-12 new clients – only one out of every 500 submissions… Do you want to learn how to write a query, and how to approach the agent?
Do you want to get to know more about the person before hand – after all, she or he will be your partner for a long time?  My best advice: Read their blogs to get informed about the process and find out more about how they work and what they are like before you approach them. And have a “business plan” for your book ready: Who will be your readers, who is your competition and how will you market your book. You will be asked for this! Here are some examples of questions you might be asked.
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Rachelle Gardner Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, representing both fiction and non-fiction. She offers query tips and book proposal advice.
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Nathan Bransford Nathan Bransford knows a lot about writing and publishing, and offers in his blog advice on: How to Find a Literary Agent, How to Write a Query Letter, The Basic Query Letter Formula, Examples of Good Queries, How to Format Your Query Letter …
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Agent Research Ask them about an agent and they will tell you if he or she has established a public record, and if we have had any negative reports on the agent’s business practices. This service is free.
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Agent Query Agent Query offers the largest and most current searchable database of literary agents on the web—a treasure trove of reputable, established literary agents seeking writers.
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BookEnds Agency BookEnds, LLC, is a literary agency focusing on fiction and nonfiction books for adult audiences. In their workshop Wednesdays everyone can post queries out there and will get comments open, also to anonymous posters.
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Nelson Newsletter Kristin Nelsons blog is a-must-read for every author about to send out a query. Subscribe to the Nelson Literary Agency newsletter.
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Query Shark Send your query in for critique. A wealth of resources and Janet Reid shares them all, she also dissects queries, posting lots of examples what writers are doing right – and wrong!
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Query Wednesday Gabriela Lessa, a Brazilian editor, writer, literary agent assistant and journalist helps you with your query. Have your query analyzed on QUERY WEDNESDAY.
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Call My Agent!
In which a literary agent in Sydney, Australia attempts to decode the world of publishing in order to assist writers. And sometimes to get things off her chest.

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Resources and More Blogs About Literary Agents:
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What Literary Agents Want to Know From You
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/what-literary-agents-want-to-know-from-you/
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How Agents work and How to work with Agents
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/how-agents-work-how-to-work-with-agents/ .
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Must-Read Blog to learn more about agents and how to approach them
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
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http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
How to Write a Query Letter
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http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/5-tips-for-successful-book-submissions/
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100’s of Links to Publishers and Agents
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/100s-of-links-to-publishers-and-agents/
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Which Literary Agent is Right for You?
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/which-literary-agent-is-right-for-you/
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Association of Author’s Representatives (lists agents)
http://aaronline.org/

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For more agent blogs go to the absolutewrite forum: 

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37784
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When you check out the agent, you’ll want to contact “Writer Beware
Visit often and get the latest alerts from WRITER BEWARE:
http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/alerts/
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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars  Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/
to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,030 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Get Even More Royalties for Your Book

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A study found that 80% of all copies made on copy machines are from books!  As a Writer and first-time publisher, back in Europe in the early 1980’s, I was thrilled when I received a my first copy-royalty cheque for $180.00 from VG WORT.
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Later I found out that the same system works well in Canada under the name ACCESS COPYRIGHT.  One of the benefits of being a small publisher or trade-published writer in Canada!  However you must have set up a small business in Canada, if you are not with an established (not Vanity) publisher ACCESS COPYRIGHT explains on their website:

Join Access Copyright for Free 
If you are a writer, publisher or visual artist, Access Copyright is an organization that believes that you should be fairly compensated when your works are copied.  By becoming an affiliate of Access Copyright, you will have access to services that will help maximize royalty income for the secondary use of your works.
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Benefits of Being an Access Copyright Affiliate

Royalty Payments: They ensure our affiliates are fairly compensated.

Affiliate Outreach: They make sure the interests of their affiliates are heard by policy and decision makers on important issues, such as intellectual property.

International Network: Access Copyright has reciprocal agreements with reproduction rights organizations (RROs) from around the world. When their affiliates’ works have been copied in a country with which they have an agreement, they distribute the royalties to them.

Becoming an Access Copyright affiliate is free.
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International:
In the United States, Copyright Clearance Center, short CCC, compensates publishers and creators / writers for the use of their work.

Their subsidiary RightsDirect does the same in several European Countries.  German authors and publishers join VG WORT, to be precise: members of the European Union and authors who have Germany as their place of residence.  –  Let us know about other countries : )

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $159 for three months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/
to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 960 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Authors: Which of Your Expenses are Tax-Deductible?

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Tax-Deductions

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Income tax preparation might be months away, but it is never too early to start collecting expense receipts. Many self-published book authors want to make a profit and become a professional author, having writing as their vocation.  Writers are presumed to be a professional if their writing made a profit in at least three out of the last five tax years, including the current year. Which means:  Not more than two years of expenses that are higher than the author income. Profits from your writing cannot be used to offset other income for tax purposes, such as a day job or other means of income, if you have more than two years of losses.

.
Considerations of Profitability
There are a couple of other considerations that revenue agencies, such as the IRS, are listing, for example:

  • Have you made a profit in similar activities in the past? If you have a successful book under your belt — or even a series of articles in paid publications, such as newspapers, magazines or online publications, which can be a predictor that you are a professional writer.
  • Do you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business? How much do you know about running that business? Are you running it like a business, keeping records, keeping an eye to profitability? Did you take classes/seminars about the publishing business (e.g. marketing or tax etc.) no matter if online or offline?
  • Have you created a professional book marketing and publicity plan? This might even be shown by including affiliate programs on your website/blog. If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?

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Expenses You Can Deduct
Always try to pay from a separate account, set up for your writing business, to make book keeping easier. Keep receipts or / make copies of payments to contractors, freelancers and agency fees for book production, such as:

  • Proofreading
  • Editing
  • Illustrations
  • Photos
  • Graphic Design
  • Book Layout
  • Printing costs
  • eBook Formatting
  • Advanced Copy reviews
  • Book Trailer Design
    .

Book Promotion Costs, e.g.:

  • Advertisements, online and offline
  • Giveaways (free book review copies, pens etc.)
  • Flyers, brochures, business cards, book marks
  • Book Fair expenses
  • Costs for newsletters (AWeber, MailChimp etc.)
  • Entry fee for writing contests
    .

Other costs, such as:

  • Transportation costs (note the dates, distance, reason)
  • Rental for book readings
  • Office rental or mortgage, heating, electricity for your home office by square feet
  • Phone / Internet / e-Reader costs
  • Website / blog costs, such as hosting or development
  • Office Supplies
  • Meal expenses: in the USA full for public events you might host, and 50% if it is for a business purpose (interview, writers conference, meeting with book professionals, publishers, agents etc.)
  • Transportation to meetings, events
  • Research costs
  • Copyright registration and ISBN fees
  • your tax preparer or tax lawyer.
    .

Keep all your expense slips sorted by date and neatly filed to make it easier to find them
If you pay anyone of the above listed more than a couple of hundred dollars, you would need to include the contract and a form (in the United States it is IRS Form 1099-MISC). Note for each meal/entertainment expense the names, number of people participating and reason for meeting)

Further Reading:
http://www.freelancetaxation.com/deductions-writers
http://www.bus.lsu.edu/accounting/faculty/lcrumbley/tax_aspects.html

Disclaimer: These tips are meant to give general insight into tax information to writers, especially in the USA, and to give you an entry point so you can research further. While every effort was made to ensure the information in this article is accurate at the time it was written, we are not tax experts. Anyone filing taxes should consult a qualified tax prepare r for updated tax laws and further specifics on how these rules might apply to your individual tax situation.

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $159 for 3 months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/ to advertise your new book, specials or your KDP Select Free Days.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 940 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://www.111publishing.com

http://www.e-Book-PR.com/

http://www.international-ebooks.com/

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Aiming for a Movie Deal for Your Book?

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Book-to-Movie
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Admit it:  As an author you are dreaming of a movie deal. You might think getting a book deal with a publisher – don’t think getting a movie deals is easier!  Here are some beginner insights into how movie deals work. Check out the links for more. Movie rights are part of sub rights or subsidiary rights – even so these rights are hard to sell. And if you get a foot in the door: Almost all production companies and film producers offer first an option for a film.
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What exactly is an option?
Fred Rosen explains what options are: “It is a rental. A production company or studio reserves the right to make your work into a film, MOW or TV show for a specific length of time. In the past, the standard option was for a year, with two renewable one-year options. Taking advantage of the recent recession, producers have now been able to negotiate the first option to 18 months. Regardless, each time a company picks up the option, you get paid just for sitting on your movie rights. In the meantime, they’ll try to secure the money to make the adaptation and get someone to write the script (though it probably won’t be you—Hollywood prefers to use its own writers to adapt work).”

He furter explains: What can get optioned?
“Just about anything. Published novels and nonfiction books. Magazine articles. Short stories. Unpublished work can break through, too, when someone who has a connection with a production company discovers something and passes it on (Frank Capra based It’s a Wonderful Life on an unpublished short story by Philip Van Doren Stern). But you should generally focus on getting published first—because the print imprimatur still demands the highest price when optioned.”
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How much is an option worth?
“Options start at $500 and go up. In today’s market, $5,000 and more is excellent. It’s impossible to offer an average because it depends on so many factors, the most important being how much the production company wants the work.”
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Do I need a film agent to make the option sale?
Rosen says: “Generally, yes. If you have a literary agent, look at your contract and see if the agent gets points for a film sale; if so, encourage her to send your work to a film agent she’s familiar with (the two will split the commission). If you don’t have an agent, it’s fine to query film agents directly. They’re always looking for salable stuff to pitch to Hollywood. Be straightforward in your pitch: Briefly summarize the work to be optioned, where it’s published and your bio.”
Read all of Fred Rosen’s tips here and get an idea how much you might earn.
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Tips by John Kremer
“Most movie deals involve as many as a dozen decision makers. One of the best ways to get a movie deal for a novel (I presume your book is a novel) is to target the A-list actor or actress who would be the best person to play the role of your main character. Many A-list actors have their own production companies or in-place deals for a certain number of movies – and can sometimes (not always) pick which movies they’d like to be in.
For most movie deals to get completed, though, there has to be key actors, a director, a screenwriter, and a producer committed to the movie. That’s why 90% of potential movie deals never get completed – because the package can’t be put together to sell the investors on funding the movie.
Of those four key pieces, the easiest to target is the actor or actress, because most non-industry people know what movies have been made by actors and actresses. Plus it’s generally easy for a novelist to picture who should pay the key role or roles in a movie made from their novel.
How do you get in touch with the actors you’ve identified as potential role players? You can try through their management company (agent or manager), via their personal website (if they have one), or sometimes even via a tweet to their @profile on Twitter.
But probably the best way is to use your connections to see if someone you know knows the actor you want to reach or the best friend of that actor or a close relative, etc.. Once you’ve located a connection, ask them to get you a personal introduction to the actor. Not just a kind word, or a token email, but – if possible – an in-person introduction.”
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Tips by Courtney Carpenter
“If you don’t have an agent, and have no contacts in the business, you can still market your script on your own. Before you try, however, take one preparatory step: Register your script with the Writer’s Guild of America. Registration provides a dated record of the writer’s claim to authorship and can be used as evidence in legal disputes about authorship.”

If you want to break into television:
“It’s generally not a good idea to write scripts for a series of your invention. Full-time, experienced, professional writers earn monumental salaries doing just that; why compete with them? Instead, tape several shows of an existing series. Watch them repeatedly. Learn who the characters are, how they would behave in a situation. One writer even advised typing up the script as you watch an episode to help you understand the flow of the dialogue.”

“Also watch the credits of a TV show you enjoy, noting the names of the producers. You can write to them, asking them to read your script. While the number of scripts bought from freelancers in television is small, it does happen. After targeting a show, write polite query letters to producers or story editors – usually people who rewrite scripts and deal with freelancers), explaining your fondness for and familiarity with the show and your desire to send a spec script. Then, even if your script is rejected, it may be a good enough calling card to get you invited to pitch other ideas to the producers.
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Mark Terry cautions:
“Movie contracts are a byzantine mess and unless you have an agent who specializes in movie contracts, your agent might suggest hooking up with a film agent or entertainment attorney, who will either get a flat fee or perhaps another percentage ….”

“What you do have to do is to watch out for production companies that want to have an option dirt cheap or hold on to the property for an unreasonable length of time.”

However, he has also an interesting story to tell about the movie rights / options for: “Catch Me If You Can.” That book was optioned about 20 times before Spielberg made the movie with Tom Hanks. The author commented it was great, he kept getting about $20,000 per year for a book that wasn’t really selling any more.”

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Q&A by Warren Adler:
Just a few samples of a long list of questions and answers / tips by Warren Adler

QUESTION:
If I wanted to sell my book rights to Movie producers, How would I go about doing that?
Warren Adler answered:
You would have to get yourself a Hollywood agent who believes that your book has a shot at a movie deal. Unless you are plugged into that world, have an agent or a book that has attracted some interest, your chances are pretty slim. Unfortunately there is no direct path to the movie world unless you happen to know actors, producers, directors and those deeply involved who can get a movie made.

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QUESTION:
I have inherited the film rights to a world famous, best selling (on Amazon) science fiction novel. While I realize the worth of the property is only what a studio is willing to pay, I’m wondering what is a good starting point in the negotiations? I’m not interested in back-end royalties, ancillary merchandising, or alternate distribution modes, but rather a 1 price, get it over with deal. Is $5 million totally absurd? $3 million? Are there other avenues to explore outside the Hollywood morass?
Warren Adler answered:
I would suggest you find a Hollywood agent who is willing to negotiate a deal. Before you start counting numbers you had better see if the interest matches your expectation. There are numerous lists on the internet of agents, producers, actors and others in the movie business.

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QUESTION:
I wrote a book ten years ago based on a real event–a horrific mass murder that occurred in GA in the 1800s. It sold extremely well but is now out of print. (It is considered a rare book on Amazon). Recently a screenwriter tracked me down and says he wants to convert my book to a script for movie. After the book went out of print I did not renew my agent’s contract. I have no idea who this screenwriter is and how to negotiate. I have no intentions of signing over the rights to just anyone. Any advice?
Warren Adler answered:
Get a lawyer who deals with intellectual properties. Never give rights away. It may be the screenwriter is willing to pay,( even a modest amount might do it) with a big bonus at the back end if he sells the script for a production. Put a time limit on it. Say a one year option, renewable for another year. If he wants the rights for nothing, walk away. It doesn’t matter if the book is out of print or not, its still your property. As for the agent, he could make a claim depending on the old contract. A lawyer will know. Try to set a price with the lawyer in advance. It could be worth it, since the book’s subject matter, which caught the screenwriter’s eye may have a lot more value than you think.

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QUESTION:
I have written a series of books and the first one has been published. The publisher wrote me that my stories are ‘movie stuff’. How do I go about marketing these books as a miniseries or movies?
Warren Adler answered:
Find yourself an agent in Hollywood. Unless you have personal contacts in the film or television industry, the process is difficult. You might try writing a one page summary of your work and send it off to Hollywood agents, producers, actors, directors etc. There are also numerous scouts out there looking for material. I don’t mean to be discouraging, but unless you are approached the chances of your work getting noticed can be a labor intensive chore. Of course, you could get lucky and find in your networking or readership base someone who might get you to a producer.

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QUESTION:
Recently my novel “The Family Bones” came out in print. Today, I received two separate letters, one from a major film company, and another from a major agency in Los Angeles inquiring about movie rights for my book. I am astounded. I referred them both to my agent, but what would you suggest is the going rate. These are both legitimate contacts.
Warren Adler answered:
There is no going rate. If its a producer with a studio deal the chances are it will be more than an independent would pay. They’ll probably ask for a one year option with renewal terms. Get as much as you can and be sure your agent knows how to negotiate with them. They will option thousands of books and very few will get made. It is indeed a leg up, but you are dealing with seasoned hustlers and you must protect yourself.

Dozens and dozens more questions and Warren Adler’s answers. Check them out! Interesting reads. BTW: Warren Adler is the author of the famous movie: “The War of Roses”.
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Now, what’s an author to do?
First of all: BE PERSISTENT! Don’t stop to send out queries. Know that it is not easy to get a movie deal. Read and research everything you can find about movie rights and contracts. Perfect your query letter to movie editors, directors, A-class actors and producers. Explore each avenue and if you get an offer, first google this company carefully, together with the word complaint. Do use the help of a movie agent and a contract lawyer, at least for your first movie contract, even if it takes a percentage of your option.

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