Film rights

Hi Miss Snark!

I've just been offered a contract with an RWA-recognized publisher (a small one, but still...) Very exciting.

The contract asks for movie rights. I know the chances of my book becoming a movie are pretty much nil. Believe me, I haven't ever even thought of the book becoming a movie, never dreamed about it, nothing. I write books, not movies.

But it strikes me as strange that they want those rights. Is it? Is this something I should be concerned with?

My other publisher is tiny tiny, and there was no mention of movie rights in those contracts.

Actually it's strange the other tiny tiny publisher doesn't mention them, cause even if you don't give them the rights, you want to mention the author retains them and what the split is.

I don't give movie rights to publishers. They aren't movie producers or deal makers. We share the proceeds with the publisher if the book gets optioned but the rights remain with the author. Usually you work with a film agent directly for this kind of stuff.

My guess is the publisher just lifted the contract verbatim out of an example book someplace and no one ever objected before. (Probably cause they didn't know).

Just give them a buzz and say you want to amend the contract to retain control of the film rights. Don't offer a split up front. You're not in the business of fixing their mistakes.

If they say they insist on keeping film rights, ask who their film agent is. If they hem and haw, or don't have one, they can't exploit the rights and you're going to be sitting in the cineplex watching someone else's book on the screen.


Anonymous said...

IF this is the publisher I think (hardcover, right?), they refused to negotiate anything with my agent, and she recommended against taking the contract.

Their contract, which they have been using for eons, grabs a LOT of rights for very little money. They treat the books well, keep them in print, but the runs are small, as is the money.

Still, it's a nice package, and a good way to get a recognized publication, even if it isn't the contract of your dreams.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly, anonymous one. I did get a better agreement on film rights from them, and I'm fairly happy, but it's a stepping stone, not my dream publisher.