1. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3

    Self Published and Option Bound

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Teiwaz, Jul 25, 2019.

    Hello,
    New guy here. I’ve been looking for an answer to two questions and hope someone here can help.

    I self published a few books over the last decade and next month I will sign an Option contract for a novella I wrote in 2013.

    My first question is; what happens to the royalties of any new sales? Logic seems to suggest the Option holder gets any new royalties, but I’m not certain. This is reason number 1001 why I need an agent! Which brings me to my second question.

    Should I still send queries to agents about the aforementioned book, if it’s going to be Optioned? I’m spinning my wheels on this, getting nowhere.

    I hope someone can help soon, I’m about to sign a contract without any representation. (Can’t afford a literary attorney right now.)

    Thank you for any assistance or advice!
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    13,260
    Likes Received:
    15,314
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    That's a lawyer question really (Paging @Steerpike for a more in depth answer)

    the short version is that it should say in the contract whether you have to withdraw it from sale.

    My strong advice is not to sign anything you don't understand, and saving money on a lawyer is penny wise but pound foolish

    On your second question - yes you can still query agents. Mentioning that you already have an option should make you more attractive to them.

    Also I moved this thread to publishing because its not really a self publishing question, and you'll get better advice from those that know the trad industry
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    12,970
    Likes Received:
    7,465
    Location:
    California, US
    If it’s an option why would the holder of the option get royalties before the option is exercised?

    As @big soft moose said, you have to read the agreement carefully. I’ll send you a PM.
     
    Teiwaz likes this.
  4. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3
    Okay, and thank you!

     
  5. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3
    Using my phone to make my replies and getting weird code where the reply should go. So I apologize if I didn’t thank you yet Big Soft Moose.

    Thank you. :)
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    2,822
    Maybe I'm missing something, but when you're book is optioned doesn't that mean someone is buying the movie rights? Why would that get any royalties from the book? I have two friends who have sold the movie rights to their stuff and neither one used an agent. Also, neither of their books have become movies. One friend got $20k when his book was optioned. The other got $5k. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to get an agent to step in and take 20 percent for doing very little. I don't know. Maybe it would help in some way. I'm not optioning anything, but I am talking to a publisher about my novel and at this point I'm thinking I'll do it without an agent (assuming it all goes through). I've signed contracts when selling my stuff, but I've never found them too hard to understand. There was one contract that didn't sit right with me. I tried discussing it, but I wasn't going to win that battle so I walked away. I will say that I mainly write short pieces, but there are still contracts to sign when selling your work. However, I've never thought it would be worth it to hire a lawyer for any of that. I'm not sure what sort of deal you have on the table or how much money you're being offered or what you think an agent would really do at this point. Are there parts of the contract you don't understand? That could be the case if you thought they would get money from your book sales. I don't believe that's typical when a book is b being optioned.
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    13,260
    Likes Received:
    15,314
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    options can be for various things - it could be just for publication, it basically just means we pay you x so that you have to offer us the book first

    its usually more encountered by people who already have succesful series
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    2,822
    That's called first refusal or being in a stable. I've never heard of a book being optioned for anything other than movie rights. I'm pretty sure if that's not what the OP is talking about and he starts contacting with the word option, it's going to cause some confusion and he might come across not knowing what he's talking about.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    13,260
    Likes Received:
    15,314
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Options emphatically do not just mean movie rights - this clearly illustrates why people shouldn't get legal advice from the forum - except from people like @Steerpike who actually are lawyers.

    one source on option rights in publishing
    https://www.freelancewriting.com/self-publishing/the-option-clause-in-a-book-contract/
    and another
    https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/option-clauses-shouldnt-hold-authors-hostage/
    and another
    https://kriswrites.com/2016/05/11/business-musings-long-term-thinking-the-option-clause-contractsdealbreakers/
    and another
    https://www.bookcontracts.com/2012/08/when-should-my-option-clause-start/
    and another
    https://nelsonagency.com/2006/07/agenting-101-option-clauses-part-eight/

    I could go on - not one of these deals with film rights... any right can be be optioned pretty much, but if the OP starts talking about film rights unless they've already been specifically mentioned he will definitely sound like he doesn't know what hes talking about

    ETA one more link - this one nicely summarises the difference between an option and the right of first refusal

    http://www.fictorians.com/2014/03/24/option-and-right-of-refusal-clauses-in-book-contracts/
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  10. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hello Big Soft Moose, (And deadrats)
    After reading the previous posts it seems some clarifying is needed. My original post was before I was able to clarify the details of the option myself, hence the reason I posted the question in the first place. For instance, I thought the option was for my four story novella, but it’s actually for only one story from my book. And yes, it’s for an indie film, thus I’m no longer concerned about any royalties.

    I still plan to let steerpike take a look at the contract, (if still available) my meeting for the contract was moved to September 25th. I have not received it yet. I’ll be happy to update as this progresses, and hopefully it will. And by the way, I’ll be getting less than $5,000.

    John P.
     
  11. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,700
    Likes Received:
    2,373
    Location:
    Australia
    Film options are not a sale. They're exactly what it say on the tin: an option to buy. It gives the Option buyer the exclusive right to buy the script once they have the finance within a certain time-frame. Buying a script if you're not going into production is risky and expensive. But you need it reserved while you look for money to guarantee that you can actually buy the script for a pre-determined amount once you have the funding, without first needing to outlay the usual 3% of the production budget to buy it or getting screwed over by a greedy writer who ups the fee once you're reliant on them for the green light. Options usually have a limited time frame and set sale price with first right of extension built in for a considerable fee. When the contract term expires without a renewal the copyright holder can simply sell them again to whoever they want.

    You cannot take a script to market that has been optioned.

    BUT

    Options are usually bought to get titles out of the market. Most options are what I call 'shelf options'. You buy the right to buy the script with no actual intention to ever make it, and then park it on the shelf so no-one else can buy it. Companies do this to stop similar productions being made to one they may be working on or planning to work on. Another tactic is to buy up cheap options just in case a similar film gets made and you want to make one too, or simply to have a few ideas in your pocket for later. The options market is HUGE and selling an option does not (and rarely does) mean you'll actually go into production. I don't have an agent and don't put my work out there but still I've sold about 5 options with only one production coming out of it (and not a very good one at that). A mistake beginner writers make is getting excited by selling an option believing the film is just down the road. 99% of the time it isn't.

    I assume the same goes for books.

    PS: Film rights from books are not called an Option but, funnily enough, Film Rights. Just like a script, Film Rights can either be sold outright or optioned (selling the right to buy).
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    Teiwaz likes this.
  12. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks Selbbin.
    Well, they’re referring to it as an “Option” and “Film Rights”, and I will be getting a check, so maybe our situations differ. Maybe because I know this person and she is adamant about paying me? If I can, I’ll post a pic of the check, to show what I’m saying is real. Also, thanks for the downer about how an option rarely becomes a movie production. I realize it’s a sad but true statement, but I prefer to focus on the positive and hope the low budget indie film proposed will be released next year. Even if it isn’t a great movie, I’ll still appreciate seeing my story come to life.
    Thanks again for your info.
     
  13. Teiwaz

    Teiwaz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3
    Sorry, her emailed message said she would send a contract for the film rights for one story only. I thought she said it was an option for the entire book. I apologize for the confusion, it’s been exciting but truthfully all new to me.
     

Share This Page