What Does It Mean to Sell Your “Book Rights”?

When you sell your “book rights,” you are selling the right to print, duplicate and/or make spin-off products based on your book. If you work with a traditional publishing company, you are usually selling your book rights to allow them to print.

It is also possible to sell your book rights to make it into a TV show, movie, foreign language, e-book, audiobook or a number of other book spin-offs through a process known as licensing.

Learn More About Selling Your Book Rights and Licensing

  • Book Rights And Licensing: An International Overview For Authors by Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn blog. This post offers a great overview of the opportunities available to authors who are willing to investigate selling their book rights.
  • Subsidiary Rights on WritersServices.com lists and explains many different types of book rights. It is written by a former employee of a traditional publishing company who worked in the subsidiary rights department.
  • The Book Deal: Territorial Rights by Andy Ross on his blog for his literary agency. This post warns that even when you sell your book publishing rights to a traditional publisher, you should focus on negotiating territorial rights that benefit both you and the publisher instead of taking their first offer which will likely strip you of the income you deserve.
  • Selling Your Book’s Movie and TV Rights-What You Need to Know. The title of this Writer’s Digest article says it all.

Final Thoughts

Traditional publishing companies often rely on the sale of foreign book rights, movie/tv/performance rights and licensing into other products as a significant part of their income for each book they publish. So if you plan to partner with a traditional publisher, pay attention to this part of your contract. If you are a self-publisher, don’t neglect this part of your on-going publishing education.

Image is Leadenhall Market by Eduardo Skinner/500px Creative Commons License

Danielle Fetherson

Danielle helps aspiring authors become published authors. She believes that everyone has at least one book on the inside of them that can make a positive impact on someone else's life. If you have been thinking about writing a book, learn how to start your book today with the free resources at DanielleFetherson.com.