Success Stories:
Buying and Selling Rights

Dr. Ruth and Life After 50

Four or five years ago, I introduced my friend Steve Mettee of Quill Driver Press to Dr. Ruth at a Playboy party during BookExpo America in Chicago. He was hoping to ask her to write a book in his Life After 50 series. Well, after a lot of persistence and negotiating, he finally published her book, with Dr. Ruth signing copies at last year’s BEA. I love watching Dr. Ruth work a booth. She’s quite a promoter. And she isn’t shy about pulling people into a booth to talk about her latest book.

Sometimes, even with a break and a good introduction, it still takes time to bring a project along and make it work. The key, as always, is persistence. Keep plodding along, fully focused on your goal, and eventually you’ll get what you want — if you deserve it. Steve deserved it.

Book Club Sales

“I know that independent publishers wonder, when sending galleys off to Bookspan (Book-of-the-Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, etc.), if the galleys are really being looked at and considered. Since there is usually no response whatsoever, it can feel like you are sending a book into a black hole. But we just sold a second title, The American Directory of Writer's Guidelines, to BOMC, QPBC, and two other Bookspan clubs simply by sending in a galley (and, of course, accompanying information like a pub slip, media release, advance title information sheet). That's how they bought the first one from us, too.

“And, thanks to you, Dr. Ruth is writing Dr. Ruth's Guide to Making Whoopie after 50: Romance, Passion and Sensational Sex for the Best Half of Life Series.

“And, after insistent promotion to the buyer at B & N, they asked us to participate in a four-month-long Career Success Library promotion with If You Want It Done Right, You Don't Have to Do It Yourself by Donna M. Genett, Ph.D. Their opening order was for 4,600 copies, a big sale for a small press. Paradies, a chain of airport bookstores is using the same title as their Business Book of the Week promotion complete with belly bands.” — Stephen Blake Mettee, Publisher, Quill Driver Press

Selling Movie Rights to Nonfiction Books

Director John Woo just optioned the For Dummies brand for a film called Espionage for Dummies. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “The project revolves around a high school vice principal who is forced to rely on the Espionage for Dummies manual when his identity becomes crossed with that of a U.S. superspy. Armed only with the superspy version of the manual, he must try to save the world.”

Hey, I'll go see that movie. Heck, I'll even act in it if someone asks. I think it would be fun to write a screenplay around one of the Dummies books. I could see doing a series of movies around the book series if the first book does well. I think a Cooking for Dummies or Parenting for Dummies movie could be just as interesting as an espionage movie. All three, of course, will have to have a good dose of humor to make the movies work well.

There have been a few cases in the past where a publisher has bought the rights to the title of a bestselling book -- and nothing else. The most famous case is the movie Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask. The movie told a story revolving around sex, but had nothing else to do with the actual content of the book. As I think of this, I'm surprised that no one has ever made a movie about The Joy of Sex.

“Just wanted you to know that one of the many reasons that I have sold thousands of books, and will continue to do so is because of power-packed info that you send out to authors. This e-mail alone has given me at least four new ideas to get my books into even more hands.” — Kevin Wayne Johnson, Writing for the Lord Ministries.

Books Increase Speaker Income: Survey

Several months ago I asked the National Speakers Association to survey their membership on how publishing a book affects speaker income. To see the full results of their survey, see Summary.asp?SID=2445452&U=244545285316.

46.4% of respondents reported getting more than 50 extra speaking engagements since publishing their books. 18% got 1 to 10 speaking engagements. Another 18% got 11 to 20 speaking engagements.

How many of those speaking engagements were directly linked to the publication of the book? Here are the results: 39.3% reports 1 to 10 more speaking engagements; 18% reported 11 to 20 more; and 25% reported 50 or more speaking engagements! Wow!

How much did their income increase? 18% reported an increase of $1 to 5 thousand; 10% reported an increase of $6 to 15 thousand; 32% reported an increase of $16 to 30 thousand; 10% reported an increase of $50 to 99 thousand; and 21% reported an increase of more than $100,000! Again, wow!

Now, these are professional speakers already, but you should be able to increase your annual income by as much.

Rights Sales: Where the Money Is

My friend Steve Mettee of Quill Driver Press just made a truck load of money (his 50% of rights sales) when he sold reprint rights to his latest bestselling book, Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet (as well as an additional related title, Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook) to Warner Wellness. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say how much he got for those rights, but there are at least a few of us who could almost retire on what he got. Count in potential additional royalties, and most of us would definitely retire on just this one subsidiary rights sale.

If you don't already have an active program to sell subsidiary rights, you should establish one now. If you want to make real money publishing books, you have to sell rights to book clubs, other publishers, audio, video, movies, TV, reprints, online, merchandise, etc.

Copyright © 2010 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571