Signing off your audio book rights. Yes or No

Is it a good idea to say yes to offers of making your work into audio book deals? Do publishers later say we want the audio rights or forget it? And then we miss out if we do audio book deal with a publisher and try to have print or ebook deal with another…

My view is any opportunity is good. We can go self publishing route I guess if worse come to worse… But is it a fact publishers want audio rights too always?

Audio rights are hot right now, and trad publishers have added them to the list of rights they won’t negotiate. Michael J Sullivan parted with his publisher recently, because he wasn’t willing to license audio rights to them, and they weren’t willing to publish him without them.

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According to a couple of literary agents (and some pro SF authors) yes, the bigger publishers are demanding audiobook rights now and apparently it’s non-negotiable. Audiobooks are booming, and they want to capitalize on it. Luckily, it’s easier for indie authors to publish their own audiobooks now (at least compared to, say, five years ago).

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Ok. Thanks for the reply… So its best not to go with an audio book publisher and wait for publishing deal? But thats the thing its risky… Some people may never get the chance to get publishing deal and may be self published… So I think in that case its worth taking the chance…

Thats interesting to hear a publisher allows an author to walk away… Were they actually planning on making the audio books or they just wanted to hold the rights?

I love audiobooks girl. I would contact an author who did this with wattpad on twitter. Get the real details.

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Some authors prefer to keep their audio rights so they can make a separate deal for audio books.

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I agree. But I hear publishers do insist on getting them

I like the idea of it. I think audio books can expand

That’s what I heard too yeah

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I think publishers may not even make audio books but they may like to sign them just in case which is unfair on author…

I think I’d prefer to publish my own audio books, and skip the publisher.

That works if you self pub. If you want a publisher you’ll find they will dig their heels in over the audio rights. I had to make a choice and signed the contract.

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They were going to make the books. But he had made SO MUCH off his past audio book deals that he knew it was a sucker deal to accept the low royalty rate.

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I absolutely do not want the agent that usually comes with it.

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Yes, and yes. Audiobook rights are very lucrative these days. I was just talking to an author friend who received $400,000 for his next series. I have multiple six-figure contracts for audio and one that is seven digits.

But signing those contracts WILL cut you out of the big five. There have been recent changes where they will ONLY sign contracts when audio is available - no exceptions. I suspect you’ll be able to find small smaller presses that will still take on print/ebook. Or you can self-publish.

If you DO sign your audio to the publishers you should know that (a) your royalty rate will be considerably less (depending on how the right is exercised it can be anywhere from 3.5% to 7.5% whereas when you sell directly to an audio producer you can expect 7.5% to 15%) and they won’t increase the advance in the same amount to offset the loss of advance that the audio producers are offering. For instance, say you can get $10,000 for your audio rights, you MIGHT get a regular publisher to give you $15,000 but that is probably 100% attributed to their P&L based on ebook and print and they SHOULD have raised their advance to $25,000 if audio is attached, but they won’t. They MAY up it a few thousand, but that’s a low-ball offer given audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing landscape.

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Oh, they were definitely going to make the audiobooks (not sit on them) they are worth a lot. But they would have likely sold them as a subsidiary right, which means they do no work other than signing the contract and for that they would get 50% of the author’s income if the author instead sold that right on their own.

So, that WAS a possibility in the past, but the boat has sailed on that front.

Again, outdated information. In the past, yes publishers would sign audiobook rights and “sit on them,” but these days the audiorights are hot and they want to exercise them ASAP.

Yes, and no. My prior contract with THIS publisher did not have the audio rights, so when I went into negotiations on the second half of the series it SHOULDN’T have been a problem. But times had changed and we couldn’t even talk since the audio was gone.

But yes, with OTHER prior contracts where I DID sell the audio rights I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars (publisher took 1/2 of everything earned for doing nothing more than signing a contract) And I coudn’t afford to continue operating that way. Well, I COULD have, but I didn’t want to :wink:

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