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A Business Mindset Means A Rights Mindset: Orna Ross & Helen Sedwick

 

Frankfurt Book FairThis post is part of Frankfurt Book Fair Indie Author Fringe, an online author conference that showcases the best self-publishing advice and education for authors across the world — harnessing the global reach of the Alliance of Independent Authors’s network. Our self-publishing conference features well-known indie authors and advisors, for 24 sessions over 24-hours, in a one-day extravaganza of self-publishing expertise straight to your email inbox.

Enjoy this session, and let us know if you have any questions or input on this self-publishing topic, by visiting our Hot Seat and joining in the conversation.

 

helen-sedwick-orna-ross-bwHelen helps you to understand the value embedded in your copyright and how exploiting your rights is key to your success. Orna discusses two author case studies: Jon Penberthy who sells using agents; and Dean Wesley Smith who sells directly to publishers. And gives advice on how to work with agents or attorneys to pitch and negotiate a deal to publishers at home and overseas, TV and film companies and other rights buyers.


#IAF16 Business Mindset = Rights Mindset @ornaross @helensedwick bit.ly/2eozHUJ #indieauthorfringe Click To Tweet


Click here to find out more about Orna Ross and Helen Sedwick


I hope you enjoyed Helen’s succinct presentation around the importance of rights and how they are key to your indie author business. In this second half of our session, we’d like to introduce you to the art of pitching, negotiating & closing rights deals, as adapted from Chapter Eight of our book, How Authors Sell Publishing Rights, (available free to ALLi members in the member zone).

This is a necessarily brief introduction to something that is really, like so much in self-publishing, a learning-by-doing activity.

Negotiation and pitching take practice.

But once you have an understanding of the rights you own, a sense of your books and where they fit in the market and which rights you want to sell, you are ready to search out some potential rights buyers.

Then to make a pitch and, if it’s successful, negotiate a deal. Yes, learning by doing.

Making A Good Pitch

Your pitch will vary depending on what rights you’re looking to sell and whether you are pitching by email or in person. Either way, once you’ve got the fundamentals in place (book description, review materials, etc. as explained in Ch 4), a good pitch is all about presentation.
Whether you’re pitching agents or publishers,think about their needs and don’t be afraid to propose suggestions that might help them.

As a self-publisher, you have to convince the buyer of three things: the quality of the writing and the production of the book; your dedication as a publisher;
and your ability to excite customers (readers, viewers, listeners, gamers…your rights buyer’s target audience.

Make your pitch easy to navigate, so people can absorb the information quickly. In the words of Joseph Pulitzer, “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and,
above all, accurately so they will be guided by its
light.”

Research: Thoroughly research the rights buyer, getting into their skin and thinking about ways your book enhances their offerings, extends the
discoverability of their other books and helps them meet their goals

Be Professional: Whether pitching to an agent who can help you sell your rights, or directly to a publisher, your presentation should be simple, clean and professional. i.e. in the proper file format with the appropriate
tone and voice. Copy should be clean and demonstrate sufficient knowledge and skill. Avoid gimmicks like crazy fonts or pictures; these only detract from your pitch.

Be Clear: Make it clear what is available to read now and what you hope the agent or publisher will achieve for you. Say why you write and who you identify as your audience. If you have been trade-published or have had an agent before, give details.

Be Honest: No hiding, subterfuge or trying to put one over on anyone. If this is a multiple submission, say so.

Have Passion: Be passionate about your work. Don’t boast or drone on, but don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm and tout your success. Practice a way of doing this without overselling or sounding immodest.

Demonstrate Success: List your achievements, presenting your ideas and your work clearly, simply and without hyperbole. If you have stats or analytics, prizes or sales points, here is the place to share them. Say what you have already published, what you have already
written and what you see as long-term and achievable goals. Give examples of your success throughout the entire pitch.

Be Open: Listen to what the agent or publisher is saying and ask follow-up questions. See what you can learn. Show true and sincere passion while being
open to feedback.

Mind your Language: Think about the language you use to describe your books and your ambitions. One agent we know recommends saying “our” and “we” early on in the pitch, already subtly including yourself in the agent or publisher’s team.

Be Strong: Highlight your strengths and where you add value. If you’ve got specialist skills that are rare, or something that no one else can offer (and most of us have), tell the agent or publisher. So many writers are hopeless at this. Practice and get better.

Be Yourself. Warts and All. Don’t be afraid to admit to gaps or weaknesses. Relax and smile, be friendly and don’t be afraid to crack the odd joke. Keep things light and be genuinely interested in the people you’re pitching. People always want to work with people
they like. And people like people who like them.

Prep questions. Anticipate common or obvious questions you might get and prepare your answers. Make a list of questions to ask the buyer — and then, do refer to it and ask.

You also need to know when the rules can be bent. Sometimes the conventional method of doing things is less effective than getting creative. If you have an idea that would make your pitch stand out — that still holds true to Pulitzer’s advice above, and these general guidelines – it doesn’t need to lockstep in line with all the ”rules.”

There are no rules in publishing, any more than writing; there is only what works.

But don’t be quirky or different just for the sake of it. If you choose to color outside the lines, it needs to be consistent with your pitch and give it extra oomph.

Pitching Agents: John Penberthy

In this interview (republished with kind permission of
www.bookmarket.com/foreign.htm), author John Penberthy explains how he has succeeded in selling
his translation rights, working with overseas agents.

How did you start?
After self-publishing my book, I got a website made,
which included a sixty-second trailer. Then I identified
email addresses of over one hundred foreign
literary agents through Internet research and sent
them a brief descriptive email with the link to the
trailer. This piqued the interest of a dozen or so who
requested a review copy.

Several of them took me on and offers for translation
rights from foreign publishers started coming—
Korean, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian,
Chinese and Romanian—with advances totaling
nearly $40k. Several other languages are in the works.

What’s the most important thing authors should know?
Make it brief and succinct. Agents get a ton of emails per day and you have
to have something that will be quick and grab their
attention. In my case, I wrote a brief two-paragraph
letter with a link to my sixty-second trailer. So they
could tell very quickly if it was something they might
be interested in.

At the end of the trailer was a link to
my site, where I offered the ebook version for free as a
way of generating buzz. Interested agents could then
read a few chapters to see if they wanted to request
a hard copy.

One thing that strongly worked in my favor was
that you can read my book in ninety minutes. Agents
are overwhelmed with book submissions and loathe
the amount of time it takes to read them, so ninety
minutes was a breath of fresh air for them. Offering
the ebook free was huge because it quickly disseminated
the book all over the world and resulted in all
kinds of interesting inquiries. You don’t want to do it
forever, but when you’re starting out, it really helps
generate buzz and eliminates all risk for prospective
buyers. It was instrumental in many of my foreign
rights deals.

What types of books work better for foreign rights?
My book is a spiritual allegory about bees, sort
of a next-generation Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
People the world over have sought more meaning in
their lives through spiritual understanding from time
immemorial, so I felt my book had universal appeal.
I had the illustrations drawn in a Chinese watercolor
style in order to reflect the story’s Eastern approach
to spirituality, which is really taking hold in the West,
but also to appeal to the huge Asian market. This has
worked well as two of my contracts are for Korean
and Chinese, and I think I’m close in Taiwan and
Japan.

Each author has to evaluate the extent to which
their book will appeal to those within 1) the US, 2)
Europe, 3) Latin America, and 4) Asia. These are
the four big markets.

You’re probably not going to get any foreign
deals for a cookbook, but I would think computer
and Internet books would do well in most countries
because computer people all speak the same language.
Each author needs to assess the universality of his or
her book’s appeal.

What should be included in the foreign rights packet?
Once I would get email replies from interested
agents, I would send them just two things—the
book and a detailed cover letter explaining the book,
its uniqueness, market appeal and track record. For
example, my book is a strong gift book—we’re averaging
nearly five books sold per customer through
our website. So I always made sure to mention this
and the fact that To Bee or Not to Bee is a perennial
gift book that would be in print for decades. Multiple
sales and longevity definitely grab the attention of
prospective publishers.

A zillion new books are published each year and
publishers are always looking for something new
and different, so I would encourage people to explain
why their book is new and different. As foreign rights
sales grew, I always mentioned the previous translation
rights I had sold and the names of the publishers
(to add credibility).

How long does it take for a foreign rights deal to happen?
It really varies. My first deal, Korean, was signed
within a month of sending the agent the book. The
book was published three months after that. This is
lightning speed in the publishing world. My second
deal, Italian, took about two months because the
agent took it to the Frankfurt Book Fair, by far the
largest book fair in the world, which happened soon
after she received the book. I was lucky to have these
deals happen so quickly, but one to two months is
abnormally fast.

My third and fourth deals, Spanish and Portuguese,
took about six months, again at a book fair. By the
time these editions are released, one and a half years
will have elapsed. In general, the publishing world
moves at a snail’s pace so you have to be patient. My
latest deal, Chinese, also took over six months. But
other agents have been working other countries for
over a year and still have no publisher prospects.
Some publishers sit on books forever.

Once To Bee or Not to Bee is re-released by Sterling
Publishing in the English-speaking world this
fall and establishes a sales track record, I plan on
doing another email blitz to foreign rights agents in
all the countries for which rights haven’t been sold,
apprising them of this new information. I hope this
will generate a new round of rights sales.

Why should authors hire someone to negotiate for them?
I’m a strong believer in literary agents. Publishers
rely on them to sort through all the riff-raff and know
that books sent to them by good agents are worth
their time considering. But most importantly, agents
know what a book is worth and will negotiate the
best deal for you. There are instances of publishers
working directly with authors, but it’s a long shot.
Publishers know authors are inexperienced in negotiating
and desperate, so it’s highly likely the authors
didn’t get the best deal possible.

Most foreign agents work with a co-agent in the
author’s country, who feed them books to market,
which already have a proven sales track record in
the author’s country. In these cases, the two agents
usually split a 20% commission. In my case it was
the reverse. I marketed my book directly to foreign
rights agents and built a track record of rights sales
in other countries, which I then used to attract a US
agent who subsequently got me a contract with Sterling
Publishing here in the US.

How much time can an author expect to allocate?
It’s not very time-consuming. First you research
foreign rights agencies on the Internet and put your
list together. Then you draft your email letter and
send it out. I probably haven’t spent more than a
couple of weeks on this in total in a year and a half.

What are the things you look for in a foreign rights
contract?
Because the agent is the intermediary, she usually
has a standard contract which she prepares and
sends to both parties for signatures, so the foreign
contracts you will see are generally quite similar. The
key factors, of course, are the amount of the nonrefundable
advance and the royalty rate, generally
only 7-8% on foreign rights, which should be applied
to the retail price.

Royalties are deducted from the advance. Once
the advance is paid back, the publisher makes
royalty payments. Most publishers calculate royalties
following the end of each calendar year, though
some do so semi-annually. Payments are due a quarter
later. The contract should have a finite term, usually
five years. If the book proves to be big with good
longevity, it can go back on the market at the end of
the term for much better terms.

One thing that is absolutely critical is that the
publisher provide a computerized statement showing
sales, returns, etc. via postal mail to the author for
each period. If figures are provided any other way (i.e.
via email), it is too easy to fudge them. The language
and geographic territory licensed should be specified.
And the number of complimentary books provided to
the author should be specified. The agent’s commission
should be identified. One other important thing,
for my book at least, was to limit rights to book
publishing only. My vision is to see To Bee or Not to
Bee made into a digitally animated film and so I always
retained audio-visual rights.

You’re dealing strangers in foreign
countries. Once you’ve got a contract, what about
getting paid?
For the advance you’ve got leverage because you
don’t email the manuscript file until you get the
advance. But for royalties, once the advance is paid
back, it can be dicey, depending upon the quality of
the agents and size of the publishers you’re working
with. My Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese
contracts were secured by established agencies with
large publishers. They provide computerized sales
reports and are very legit. Publishers in Asia and
Eastern Europe can be more problematic, depending
on their size and reputation. Many of these countries
have only recently signed the international copyright
agreements and some of the more marginal
publishers still don’t feel they need to comply with
them.

Even if the publisher does comply, they send the
money to the agent, who is supposed to send it on
to you, so there’s an extra layer of opportunity for
graft. They know that you have no leverage; who’s
going to spend thousands of dollars hiring lawyers in
a country halfway around the world unless there are
clearly large royalties at stake? The only leverage you
have is if you have an American co-agent involved
because the foreign co-agent’s reputation is at stake
within the international agent community. Even then,
many American co-agents expect only to receive their
share of the advance and spend little if any effort
to collect royalties unless they are substantial. The
moral of the story: the larger and more established
the agency and publisher, the better chance you have
of getting paid.

Pitching Publishers Direct: Dean Wesley Smith

Penberthy makes a good case for pitching overseas
agents, but popular USA self-publishing commentator
and author, Dean Wesley Smith, recommends
dispensing with agents and going direct by cutting
out the agent and contacting the overseas publishers
yourself.

Back in those dark days where we all had to walk
both ways, uphill, in the snow, just to get a book
published. It was horrid, I tell you. Horrid. But Things Have Changed

I know a lot of people, a vast number of people
in agent-land and traditional publishing, don’t want
newer professional writers to know things have
changed. They want the old system to continue. But
sadly for them, and great for the rest of us, things
have changed a great deal.

Some general facts:
• In general, publishing contract with any publisher
outside of North America is simpler by factors
and factors. And easy to read.
• In general, publishing contracts from publishers
outside of North America are clear to what the
translation publisher is buying.
• In general, publishing contracts from publishers
outside of North America have clear termination
and reversion dates in them. And often limitations
on print runs without a renewal.
• In general, after the first contract or two, you can
do your own and negotiating is not often done. A
small fee to an intellectual property attorney will
often be enough on the first one or two.
• In general, most overseas contracts, (now all
translation sales) are small unless your book
is really taking off. Nature of smaller markets.
Modern agents often don’t feel it is worth their
time to do a short-term $500 contract and get
$50. (Their overseas agent will take the other $50
in fee.) So they often don’t bother for their clients.
Far too much work for them to deal with, they
feel. (I personally like a $500 sales to a translation
company.)
• In general, agents HATE contracts that have
limited press runs, one fee, and no royalties
because that means once they have the contract
done, they get no more money and have no more
hold on the book. So agents will try to make an
overseas contract far, far more complex and add
royalties.
• In general, the biggest area for agent embezzlement
is from overseas book royalties. Authors
don’t know they are owed money because seldom
do overseas agents forward the paperwork or the
money from the overseas publisher, and if they
do, the money often gets stopped or “forgotten” in
the state’s agency. Hard for an author to actually
get regular overseas royalty payments.

But How Do I Sell a Book Overseas Without An Agent?
This is the area that just stunned me when I learned
it about agents. About one third of all agencies in the
United States farm out their overseas sales to another
agency here in the States that does nothing but sell
books overseas. The second agency does massive lists
with hundreds and hundreds of authors names and
books on it. (Nothing more.) And they regularly ship
these gigantic lists to overseas agents to try to pitch
to translation companies through overseas agents.

So, the flat honest truth is that unless you are a
major bestseller, your book is ignored. When you
have all the writers from twenty or thirty agencies on
a huge list the size of a small town phone book, trust
me, only the top even get looked at. And there are
no covers or blurbs. Just title and author name, and
sometimes genre.

That’s another ugly truth about how most agents
“respect” your work and try to sell it overseas. They
will flat tell you they are trying to sell you book overseas,
then give the name and author name to another
agency, who will add it on a list to go along with thousands
of others.

So you are an indie writer. Right? How do you get
your books noticed overseas?

Let me think…

Oh, yeah, you publish the thing in all markets. Duh.
“Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords,
CreateSpace, and so on down through the smaller
electronic distributors and international stores. And
when you do, you click all the overseas channels.

And boom, your book is available in English worldwide.

Last month alone, Kris and I sold English language
books in 26 different countries. That’s so normal, we
seldom notice that now, where ten years ago, that
would have been a major deal.

If you have your book available worldwide in
English, people all around the world will have a
chance to see your book, (with cover and blurb). If
editor or someone at an overseas translation house
reads your book and likes it (called a submission in
the old world, but today they buy it instead), and the
editor thinks your book will fit their translation line,
the editor will contact you directly through your own
publisher website.

Or your author website. (You do have “contact me”
tabs, don’t you?)

So it goes like this so this is clear:
1. You publish your book through all electronic
and paper outlets available. (Not just Kindle.)
2. Your book is available with your great cover and
blurb, world-wide, for anyone to buy in English.
3. An editor of a translation line at a publisher in
an overseas company is looking for books for his
line that will fit his topic. He finds and buys your
book and reads it and likes it and thinks it will
fit his line of books.
4. The editor contacts you by e-mail.
5. The editor will often ask for who your representative
is. You write them back and say simply.
“My attorney and I handle all translation sales.”
6. The editor will make an offer directly to you.
You say you are interested depending on the
terms.
7. The editor e-mails you a contract, you check it
for rights grabs, sign it and e-mail it back.
8. The translation publisher will send you the
money by PayPal, wire, or direct transfer into
your bank account.
Done.

The translation publisher will send you a copy of
your book in French or German or whatever when
the book hits print.

It really is that simple.
Scary simple.

Since I got rid of my agent, and Kris got rid of
her agent, we get factors more offers from overseas
publishers. The agents we had were blocking the
small offers, while we take them, for the most part.

And the overseas translation publishers are finding
our books because we are publishing them in English
all over the world. In every format through every
store. And keeping them in print all over the world.
And the overseas translation publishers are finding
our books because we are publishing them in English
all over the world. In every format through every
store. And keeping them in print all over the world.

As I said, things have changed.

See more at Dean’s thought-provoking blog series about “Killing
The Sacred Cows of Publishing.”

What’s Your Preferred Way?

This is certainly a valid approach for an indie author, and one not open to those who are trade-published who have already licensed their international rights.

It is called Passive Selling, as opposed to the more active approach described in the rest of our book. Wesley Smith may be leaving money on the table, in that he could take a more active approach and, with more research and reaching out, find a higher paying publisher.

Or he could have searched out an agent who might have been able to get a better deal for him.
None of that matters; he is happy, meeting his goals while keeping writing and publishing in English as his top priority.

What’s your preferred way, active or passive, through agents or direct?

Decide and stick to it.

Pitching TV & Film Rights

One set of rights that may be worth your time and attention if you write the right kind of books are dramatization rights for TV and movies. Screen production companies like dealing with indie authors because rights ownership and control is so greatly simplified (and maybe because authors are less likely to know about, and stand up for, those rights).

If your book is trade-published, they will most likely want to speak to your publisher or an agent, depending on who holds the rights; if you are coming in as an indie author without an agent or lawyer, you will need to take the time to learn and know how film/TV
deals work. Over or underselling something can make you come off as too cocky or too amateur—neither appealing to a buyer.

Be warned: the entertainment industry is even more challenging and unpredictable than the publishing industry and unless you are determined, and willing
to spend a great deal of time and energy to embed yourself in this industry, you will need an entertainment lawyer or agent for contacts and contractual help.

With or without representation, this is a highly competitive arena, so be prepared to work hard on what is called your “pitch pack,” the entertainment industry’s equivalent of a book proposal.
This can contain, along with your book, either a treatment—a summary of your story from a filmic perspective—or a full screenplay. Both are acceptable and customary, so it comes down to the time available and what you think you can best sell.

A full script is definitely good to have since it can be hard to get anyone to invest valuable time, resources and money into an idea without seeing how it plays out. Writing a good screenplay, though, is a totally different skill-set from writing a good book, and if this isn’t something you have a burning passion to do, putting in the effort to create a marketable screenplay
may not be the best use of your valuable writing time. Consider working with a screenwriting coach or editor, if this is something you would like to do.

You can also use an experienced script writer as a ghostwriter or co-writer. Such arrangements allow both parties to focus their efforts and talents on the formats of writing in which they are skilled. The alternative, the treatment, can be used to showcase your idea without requiring you to write a full script.

Like a book proposal, a pitch pack includes a treatment, with or without a script also attached, as well as identifying the target audience, discussing comparable and competitive projects (in this case, shows/movies and their success figures, either ratings or profits) and some sample scenes. A good pitch pack will also include information about each character, a list of your dream actors and a logline.

The logline is arguably the most important part; your entire story pared down into a ten-second pitch that grabs attention. People reading pitch packs don’t have time to read the entirety of every synopsis that crosses their desks. Writer John Robert Marlow’s blog post “Building the Perfect Logline for Your Book, Screenplay, or Other Story” goes into detail about the elements needed for an effective logline.

One great example is Jurassic Park, “A family struggles to escape a remote island park whose main attractions—genetically restored dinosaurs—have been set loose by a power failure.” A complex story is succinctly brought down into a few words.

The makings of an appealing story are not necessarily the same for a book as for a movie, so when you approach an agent/producer you need to emphasize
the cinematic elements of your work.

The ten basic cinematic elements are covered in great detail in this article “What Hollywood Wants: 10 Things Studios Like to See in Adapted (And Original) Screenplays

Send out your project initially as a one-page query letter, just as you would to a publishing house or literary agent, addressed to a specific person at an
agency, studio or production company. Do your research and be personal and selective in your query.

Contacts can be found in directories like the Hollywood Creative Directory and the trade press, like Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Good information can also be had at the screenwriting magazines like Creative Screenwriting, Hollywood Scriptwriter and Written By.

Keep your query short (no longer than one page), professional and compelling. As always, don’t be shy about selling yourself, but don’t boast. If your book has won any awards, been a finalist in the competition, been a bestseller at home or abroad or is of interest in any marketable way, mention it.

Make sure that your treatment establishes the main characters and includes relevant information about the full arc of your story.

The Art Of Negotiation

The most important skill you have as a rights seller is the ability to judge and negotiate a sale. This begins with the indie mindset outlined in Chapter Four. As a general observation, we authors tend to undervalue ourselves. Many of us are poor negotiators.

On the one hand, we are afraid to ask for our due, or in some cases for anything at all. Knowing this, a publisher will start by offering a lower figure than they are prepared to pay. Too many authors, embarrassed to discuss money (and sometimes seeing that as a badge of honor or sensitivity) simply accept this offer and leave money on the table.

On the other hand, we can be over-emotional and attached to our positions. You may feel your book is your baby. If you cannot sufficiently contain your emotions, you should not handle the negotiation yourself.

It’s extremely important not to become emotional when negotiating. Losing your strength or patience or your temper, or insulting the other side (yes, it happens!) is unlikely to get you what you want.

If you are feeling threatened or bullied by the other party’s negotiation tactics, step back and look for ways to strengthen your own.

The art of negotiation is to get the other side to give up more than they intended through persuasive communication, for both sides to be pleased with the result in the end. Negotiating a publishing deal should be based on the win-win position, where the intention is that both parties will end up with most of what they want.

You will be working with this publisher for a long time after the negotiation, so a win-lose position, where you see yourself in opposition to the publisher and think you can only win by
ensuring that they lose, is a bad idea.

The most important part of negotiation is preparation.

So before you step into contract haggling, take the time to think about and write down your answers to the following:

Establish what is up for negotiation. How many titles, which territory, what rights, how long? Understand the anatomy of a publishing contract, what’s up for negotiation; and not. (See my session with Toby Mundy, ALLi’s literary agent, for more on this).

Aim as high as is reasonable. The publisher will never offer more than you try to negotiate but don’t display ignorance of the business by asking for unreasonable levels of royalty, for example. If you have offers of interest from more than one publisher, that puts you in a stronger bargaining position.

If pitching rights to a publishing imprint that is part of a group, bear in mind that imprints from the same group will rarely bid against each other. If a book is being sold by multiple submission or auction, any imprint can make an offer but if, toward the end of negotiations, two imprints from the same group are the ones left bidding, one of them must withdraw to
protect the group against a situation of having two of their own editors competing against each other and escalating costs that must be paid by the same bank account.

Make a Checklist: Once a publisher has made an initial offer, draw up the checklist of the portions of the offer you want to improve and why. Most people like to see themselves as reasonable, even in contract negotiation. So if you ask for a change in the contract and provide a
reasonable justification, the other side is more likely to accommodate your request. By having a priority list, you’ll be better prepared to give up something low on your list to prevail on something more important.

Negotiating around more items than you intend to settle for gives you points you can trade with, and cede, in order to win other things that matter more to you. This makes you look reasonable and civilized, and can make a publisher warmer to your position as negotiations proceed.

Keep the negotiation open to the end. If you are face-to-face, keep nodding your head, even when you are saying negative things or asking for more.

Never use the word “No,” unless you are bringing the negotiations to a close. Keep the offer in play.

Some tips:
– Speak more slowly. It makes you seem more relaxed and authoritative.
– Use silence. Not speaking at all, when done sparingly and at the right time, can be your best tool. Most of us jump in to fill a silence, giving away information of negotiating points unwittingly. Don’t fall into the trap.
– Keep win-win in mind throughout. Good phrases to use include:

• “To be honest, I’m finding it hard to be
excited about that.”
• “I can see that works well for us both.”
• “Can you improve on that?”
• “Do you have room for maneuver on this one?”
• “I was expecting it to be a little higher.”
• “Yes, I’m prepared to concede that point.”
• “I see where you’re coming from.”
• “That seems fair.”
• “What can you offer me in return for backing
down on that one?”

– Compliment the other party when they make a
good point.
– Keep something in reserve that you can use to
trade off.

Don’t be afraid to express disappointment, push
for what you want as persuasively as possible, or pull
something creative out of the hat if all seems lost.

Do Keep the whole deal in mind as
you negotiate each individual point and detail. Sometimes authors end up with an unbalanced
contract, pushing for small concessions to the detriment
of bigger issues.

Don’t offer concessions to the publisher voluntarily, they
should always be pried out of you in exchange for a
gain somewhere else.

Do, at the end of the negotiation, confirm all details
agreed and ask the publisher to contact you immediately
if they have a different understanding.

Do lighten up, leap in, let go and enjoy the process. It can be great fun if you don’t take it too seriously

For more see, How Authors Sell Publishing Rights

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