World rights royalty pie...how many pieces?

Dear Miss Snark:

If the publisher acquires world rights to a novel and takes 25% of any foreign sales, crediting the remaining 75% to the author’s royalty statement, does the author’s domestic agent take an additional 15% off of the top once that royalty statement earns out? Put another way, can the author expect to net roughly 60% of any foreign sales? Thanks for any insight on this.

Yup, you pay us coming AND going. If you retain foreign rights your agent is going to probably use a foreign rights agent to sell the work overseas and you'll pay her, AND me. Those Urdu translations really add up.


Angelle Trieste said...

Since most foreign rights commission % doesn't add up to be more than 25% at the MOST, I think it's smart to keep the foreign rights for yourself.

What do you think, Miss Snark?

Miss Snark said...

Unless the publisher has a well oiled efficient and effective foreign rights department I keep them.

Carmen said...

That 60% is still money you wouldn't have seen otherwise.

I.J.Parker said...

We kept foreign rights, and the two agents split 20 %. So I get 80 %. By all means keep foreign rights.

Agent Kristin said...

And of course, it always comes down to leverage.

There are a few houses that insist on buying World rights and you have to have a lot of leverage to politely talk them out of that desire.
: )

For the most part, I'm with Miss S, they are worth keeping. There's a lot of money to be made via translation rights.

Also (and if I remembering correctly, Miss Snark doesn't rep romance), in this genre, it can be advantageous for the agent to allow the publishing house World for a brand new romance author.

Harlequin, for example, is an an incredible foreign rights machine for their titles. Often a new author will earn more money via the Harlequin overseas machine than if I kept them and tried to sell them separately.

Just some thoughts.