What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS by John Denver
Even though as an agent I rarely grant World rights in a deal, I occasionally do if the monies are right. If the agency sells UK and translation rights, it’s easy to track the deals/monies as all info will be moving through the agency.
However, if a Publisher holds World, then all the info and monies move through the Publishing House’s subrights department. Sometimes editors are good at staying on top of the info and sometimes they aren’t. That’s why when I do grant World rights, I make it a point to contact the subrights person in charge of selling the rights for my author’s title.
It’s absolutely essential to know what foreign rights have sold and the terms of the deal. Why? If the royalty statement comes in and the subrights sales aren’t on it, then it’s clear something is amiss with the statement.
Case in point for a royalty statement I was reviewing today. We had on-file the deal memos and dates of all foreign deals done so far. Now foreign monies can often take 6 to 12 months to show on a statement so we don’t expect them to show immediately. However, if more than 12 months have elapsed since the close of the deal, it’s time to start asking questions.
In our case, the subrights monies were there but tied to a dummy ISBN that was created when the books first sold and not to the actual ISBN. This glitch kept them from showing on the statement.
Easy as pie as one phone call fixed the problem, but the issue can only be fixed if an agent or author knows to ask the question—which is why one should always track World right sales when the publisher holds those rights.