File this one under “Things I Did Not Know About Dick Clark.” Apparently, he owns a one-bedroom Flintstones-inspired home in Malibu, and the LA Times reports that he’s selling it for $3.5 million, though the asking price doesn’t reflect the value of the home so much as it does the 23-acre plot of land it sits on. If you’re curious, here’s the full home tour in all its stone-age goodness.
(via Laughing Squid)
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Post tags: Dick Clark, Hanna Barbera, Real Estate, The Flintstones
Happy New Year!
It wouldn't be New Year's without THE New Year's icon, Dick Clark. We rang in 2008 with Dick, Ryan and all those other people in the Big Apple. While we were waiting for the ball to drop, before the one minute countdown, we kept switching back to Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Nothing like a little post nuclear holocaust to foreshadow the new year.
It's been such a great holiday season--I'm not ready to return to normal doings, are you? It's still Christmas in my house, at least until this weekend's over, anyway. Then I'll take off my hat.
Let's say a new author signs a two or three book deal. Are books two and three for the exact same terms (advance, print run, percentages, etc.) or is everything renegotiated upon acceptance of the second MS.
I would like to think if the first novel sold well that at the very least there would be a larger print run for the second. Or maybe even a tiny bit of the elusive marketing dollar would go to promote book two or three.
What a great question! It’s been a while since I’ve gotten something that I was really excited to answer.
The answer . . . they are on the same terms. For the most part a multi-book contract will be three books (or two or six or whatever) on one contract. Which means that they usually have the same royalties, the same subsidiary rights, the same everything. The only thing that frequently differs in this case is the advances. Oftentimes you’ll see an advance escalation—Book #1 might be for $5,000; Book #2 for $7,500; and Book #3 for $10,000, for example.
Print runs are not a contractual issue. Sometimes an agent will negotiate bonus money based on a print run, but at this stage of the game (sometimes one, two, or even three years before a book is published) a print run and marketing dollars can’t be determined. And yes, absolutely, if the first book sells well then you will get a larger print run for the second book. Conversely, if the first book doesn’t sell well at all you will likely see a smaller print run for books two and three. Print runs and marketing dollars are based on a book’s sales performance and (with a first book) estimates of its sales performance. The final decision on print runs is usually made by the booksellers. If they don’t order the books it’s unlikely your publisher is going to have them printed.
So what are the pros and cons of a multi-book deal?
You get a little more cash up front (you’ll have a higher payment when you sign the contract) and you’re guaranteed that more than one book will be published.
If your first book does phenomenally well you’ve likely been underpaid. Granted, you’ll still get the money owed to you in royalties, but you might regret needing to wait for the money to come through.
When a multi-book deal is offered I often discuss these pros and cons with my clients. If we were hoping for more money, for example, we might want to accept a contract with fewer books. If, however, the author likes the security net of knowing exactly what her schedule is for the next one to two years, then I say go for the multi-book contract. Remember, in the end you will get the money you’re owed in royalties. If they underpaid you, you’ll just have more to negotiate the next time around.
I hope that answers your great question.
I received a couple of great questions on my first Contracts 101: Advances post yesterday that I think are worth a follow-up. One reader pointed out that while agents will tell you to get the highest advance you can, publishers will go on and on about how that can be a mistake. Let me clarify that while I think it’s important to negotiate the hell out of an advance, I’m not always in the camp of getting the highest advance of all time. Maybe it’s from my years as an editor, but I think that all too often agents do authors a disservice by selling that big six-figure deal when everyone somehow knew it should have only been a nice mid-five-figure deal.
So let me try to explain a little of what everyone’s thinking is on this . . .
Agents: The reason most agents will shoot the moon on getting you the highest advance possible is twofold. The first is that authors often judge how effective an agent is based on the advance an agent gets for you. In other words, when talking about the amazing things your agent has done for you, what most people focus on is how your agent was able to get you that big advance. Few authors look at the fact that your agent was able to negotiate a better royalty rate or stronger option clause. So in order to get street cred, or build a big reputation, it somehow comes down to advance. A bigger reason, though, is that very, very few books earn much in royalties. So the goal is to make as much as possible up front, therefore guaranteeing you are at least making money on the book.
Publishers: Publishers obviously want to keep the advance as low as possible because they don’t want to pay up front. In other words, you are making your money at the same time the publisher is and it’s not coming out of their pocket.
Basically both camps are trying to eliminate their own risk as much as possible. By getting a bigger advance the agent lessens the risk of making little to no money on a project. By keeping the advance small the publisher lessens the risk of losing any money on the project. Get it?
Authors: The truth is that you want to be somewhere in the middle. Ideally you want an advance that does earn out in the first year, but not necessarily in the first week. You want to make enough to pay for what you’ve already done, but not too much that it takes five years before you actually see your first royalty payments. Because yes, if you make a $10,000 advance, but only earn $6,000 of it out in the first one to two years, it might be difficult for the publisher to really get behind you for another book deal. Why? They’ve already lost money on you and they don’t necessarily want to do it again.
The question was also asked why agents don't focus more on negotiating the royalties rather than the advance. They do, and often they can’t. Most royalties are pretty well set in stone. My first negotiating technique is always to hit the money first, and that means advance, royalty, and the territories I sell (or keep), but few publishers are willing, especially with a new author, to budge even a percentage on those royalties.
For an unpublished author this is essentially a guessing game. No one really has any idea how well the book will or might do. The publisher knows how much they are willing to put into it and can base the advance on that, and the agent hopes that by increasing the publisher’s investment they will be willing to put even more into it. How much negotiation can an agent do at this stage? That really depends. It depends on how many publishers are playing. It depends on the author’s track record, on sales of other similar books, on the author’s platform, and yes, it depends on the publisher’s enthusiasm for the project.
Below Evan Schnittman shares his personal opinions on royalties and advances. This isn’t Oxford University Press’s official stance - but represents just one of the many opinions floating around our office on this very tricky subject. We hope that by sharing his views an open dialog can be initiated.
In his blog post Royalties Macmillan CEO Richard Charkin, posits that trade publishers and authors/agents would be well served if the standard for paying authors switched from a percentage of retail price to a percentage of gross earnings. He writes, “How about agreeing new equitable royalty rates based on real money not a notional recommended retail price?
Charkin also points out that, “The percentage is linked to a price which applies in only a minority of cases. It doesn’t apply to all sales overseas; it doesn’t apply to nearly all sales made in supermarkets, Internet bookshops and many bookshop chains.” In other words, paying on the percentage of a price that isn’t applicable to the majority of income isn’t logical or easy – which may lead to wildly confusing royalty statements.
As expected, within hours a series of rebuttals hit the comments field by individuals and groups rejecting Charkin’s notion as folly; stating the view that the retail price is the only thing that is transparent on publishers’ royalty statements, which are notoriously mysterious and murky at best.
While the debate will continue, it misses a far more important problem. (more…)