Lizzy Kremer is Vice-President of the Association of Authors’ Agents and
Head of Books at David Higham Associates.
offer the best high discount royalties, or will a UK publisher
pressurise its US sister to escalate the ebook royalty?
Only agencies are expert in–charged with–protecting the
author’s interest in their individual markets and in general,
and unless agencies continue to make the majority of
Although it is the author’s work that is the subject of the
rights agreements made by publishers, the author is not a
signatory to the contract, and their rights and interests are in
effect “agented” by their publisher. We have had many
instances, however, of a publisher not passing on the wishes of
an author’s foreign publishers to the author because those
wishes do not coincide with their own: for example, regarding
the subject matter of a new book, or a publication schedule.
Each publishing territory should enjoy a direct relationship
with the author, not one filtered through another publisher.
And what good is an “agent” who does not consult the
author on all contractual terms, or chase the sub-licencee for
publication plans, or pressurise them to spend marketing
money, and to build a career for the author in each territory
in the long term? The agent never stops working every angle
for their author. The publisher cannot stand loyally and
doggedly at every author’s side in the same way, beyond
publication and into the next year or decade.
When the deal is not a subsidiary rights deal, but instead
consists of one advance for world English-Language rights,
And, with publishers sometimes taking approximately 25%
of translation deals, once you have taken your 15% of net on
top, if your client’s large advance does in fact ever earn out,
your author is effectively receiving only 64% of the value of
the advances and royalties in their book, as opposed to the
80% they would receive on rights deals made by their agents.
Rights-selling is the agent’s main activity; it is our area of
expertise in the same way that publishers specialise in, yes,
publishing, correctly labelling rights as “subsidiary” to
their core business. Once your author’s publishers become
her agent, their role becomes confused: at a cost to your
author and, ultimately, to your business, that of the
professional agent. ■
d hold firm
When a risk analyst uncovers a financial
conspiracy with the potential to over-
shadow 2008’s crash, she races against
the clock—and those trying to silence
her—to avert worldwide disaster.
“A must-read for anyone
who thinks the global
financial crisis is over.”
—Kenneth J. Barnes,
former Fortune 500 executive
Davis Bunn is the award-winning author
of numerous national bestsellers in the
US, with sales totaling over 7 million
copies. He divides his time between
England and Florida.
978-0-7642-1791-3 | £ 8.99
Jordan Hill Road, Oxford OX2 8DR
018 6530 2750, firstname.lastname@example.org