Always use a Literary Agent and/or a Literary Attorney
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 06:48 AM
On Agents and Attorneys
A scenario that many top authors have successfully employed is hiring both an agent and a lawyer who is a literary and publishing specialist. The agents sell the authors' books, serve as their literary advisors and manage their writing careers, and the lawyers handle their publishing contracts. Here is some advice on working with a publishing attorney or specialist:
Publishing attorneys, like literary agents, are specialists. Don't use a friend or a relative to negotiate your book contract; find a specialist, because otherwise, the negotiation could go badly. Some other guidelines to follow:
§ If you hire an entertainment or copyright attorney, make sure that he or she has experience in representing authors and books. Ask what percentage of his or her practice is devoted to books and authors. § Chose someone with an intimate knowledge of publishing. Publishing contracts are traps for unwary lawyers as well as unsuspecting authors.
Publishing attorneys tend to be clustered in major cities and their services can be expensive. Attorneys generally charge on an hourly basis, not on a percentage of what you make. Rates typically range from $250 to $450 or more. If you don't have an agent but have been offered a book contract, it makes sense to have an attorney negotiate the sale of rights on an hourly basis or for a percentage that is less than 15 percent.
Although attorneys' hourly rates can be steep, they will usually cost you far less than what you would pay an agent over the life of your book. Here's the math: 15 percent of $15,000 (a typical advance for a midlist book) is $2,250, about twice what many attorneys will charge for a full contract review and a comment letter.
When authors who have businesses write books, they are often extensions of their business. They should think about being represented by an attorney because legal issues can arise that go beyond the territory agents usually cover.
For example, if the title of the book is tied to the author's branding strategy, the author needs to be able to approve the book's ultimate title. Unless you negotiate for title approval, the publisher, not the author, has the sole right to select or change the title. "In these situations, you're talking about brand extension," attorney Jassin advises. "Sometimes it's not about the book, it's about the author's nine-to-five career. So, you may be negotiating something more than just a book contract."
Before signing a book contract, your attorney should explain the:
§ Grant of rights clause; § Option and right of first refusal; § Publisher's duty to publish; § Reversion of rights clause; § Noncompetition provision; § and, Postcontract liability.
Some agents are both agents and attorneys. So with agent/attorneys, you can have the best of both worlds.
In most dealings with traditional publishers, an agent is usually preferable to an attorney who does not specialize in literary and publishing law. If you decide to hire an attorney, hire one who has experience in literary and publishing law and performing the precise type of work you want him or her to handle.
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Want to be interviewed on top TV shows like Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, ABC's The View, Montel and Fox News?
I'm writing today about a unique chance to get more publicity in America's biggest media outlets.
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If you want more major publicity, I strongly encourage to at least get the info by going here now:
At Steve's Summit, you'll have face-to-face meetings with journalists and producers from top national TV shows like ABC's The View, CBS' 48 Hours, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Montel, Fox & Friends and Live with Regis & Kelly.
You'll also personally meet writers who do stories for big-time print media like People magazine, Woman's Day, Alternative Medicine, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, Parents, Family Circle, INC., Time magazine and many other top publications.
Publicity is the art of creating favorable interest in your book. It’s getting the word out, informing the public about your book and drumming up interest in it. It’s telling the world:
That your book is available, What it’s about, Why it’s important, and The specific benefits it will provide. Publicity differs from advertising. In advertising, you pay media outlets to run your message. You write the message you want the public to receive and you pay publications, stations, Web sites, and other outlets to deliver it. According to the old adage, “With advertising, you pay for it; with publicity, you pray for it.”
In publicity, your message is delivered through the media and through channels such as your networks and your contacts’ networks. In contrast to advertising, you don’t pay the media to deliver your message, but convince it to deliver it in its articles, reviews, and programs. The media may deliver the exact message you provide, or write or present information about your book in its own words, style, or format.
Publicity is effective because the public tends think of information it gets from the media as news. So, it gives publicity more credence than advertising does, which the public knows is bought and paid for by advertisers. Advertising is perceived as being big on hype and short on truth, while information provided by the media is generally accepted as true.
In comparison with advertising, publicity:
Is less expensive Provides wider exposure Has greater credibility because, unlike advertising, people usually consider the information provided to be news Tells your story in greater depth, which is ideal for creating interest in your book Rick Says
To be successful, all books need publicity. Readers are swamped with books. According to estimates, 195,000 books were published in 2004, which breaks down to several new titles being issued each minute. That’s an awful lot of books competing for booksellers’ shelves and readers’ attention. Plus, books face stiff competition from movies, television, newspapers, magazines, sports, the Internet, games, and more.
Publicity is the most effective way to single out your book for recognition and to build its identity and visibility. In publishing, they refer to “breaking a book out,” which means getting it noticed so that it can emerge from a sea of competitors. Publicity is the best way to break your book out and to create name recognition, interest, and sales. Through the wonders of publicity, weak books have been built into huge successes, and great books that lacked publicity have not been widely read.