Friday, August 2, 2013

Ginger Clark: Contracts - 10 Critical Clauses

Ginger Clark is an agent with Curtis Brown LTD. She focuses on middle grade and young adult fiction.
Literary agent Ginger Clark

As a reminder, these Team Blog posts by design don't share everything our faculty tells us for a variety of reasons. But it would be fun to share everything Ginger had to tell us. Her presentation was funny, generous, and really useful.

She's been an agent for 12 years and is a member of a couple of boards dealing with book rights and related issues--she clearly knows a ton.

On rights: 

Don't sell publishers the cow. "Just keep giving them small servings of milk for a high price." Rights break down in a couple of ways. There's World English Rights. Or just North American. Or World Rights, which includes foreign translations.

Only give a publisher world rights if they're paying you a lot of money. "Like, funny money." If they haven't paid you a bunch, they don't have the same investment and incentive to sell your foreign rights.

Hold onto audio, TV, and film rights, too. A good agent will help you sell your book to an audio publisher and will try to get a film option for you. This is really rare (and especially rare when the movies come to pass). 

On royalties: 

She had an interesting point about ebooks. Authors get 25 percent of the net--less than the 40 percent of the profits they get for hardcover sales. This strikes Ginger as being unfair, and as one reason many authors turn to self-publishing which pays 70 percent of net through Kindle.

Ginger looks at royalty statements and when she sees the "high-discount" royalties showing up as 70 percent of sales, she doesn't like it. She would have negotiated differently. (This is the reason writers benefit from having agents--little details like this can make a big difference.)

Follow her on Twitter: @Ginger_Clark

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