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Thread: Delacorte Press Contest

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Can I get an agent if . . .

    I've entered the Delacorte '07 YA contest. The rules say that I can not be represented by an agent. However, if I don't win (and I don't have an agent), but they want to publish my manuscript can I contact an agent at that time? Would I have to wait to contact an agent after the 31st of April? That's when the winner will be announced. Even though an agent usually gets a better deal, wouldn't an editor rather work with an agent than with someone who has never published? Sometimes a winner isn't chosen for the contest, but I've heard that sometimes they still publish from the entries.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW BrookieCookie777's Avatar
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    That's a good question for Nathan Bradsford. That forum is all the way at the top of ASK THE AGENT forums. I'm sure he will have more knowledge of that than any of us.
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  3. #3
    Crypto-fascist Soccer Mom's Avatar
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    When you enter Delacorte, you are agreeing not to sub your book anywhere for the duration of the contest. If you choose two and get taken on by an agent, you can always withdraw your ms, but you will have pissed off the editors.

    Once the contest is over, you can do what you want and if they decide they like you enough to offer publications, you can always seek out an agent.
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  4. #4
    Author Nathan Bransford's Avatar
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    It depends on the fine print -- I haven't seen the rules for this particular contest, but take a close look to see if it covers this scenario.

    Of course, the likelihood of not winning the contest but having them want to publish your book is extremely small, so I'd just cross that bridge if/when you get there.

  5. #5
    Crypto-fascist Soccer Mom's Avatar
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    The rules are very specific. The website says:

    MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS
    1. Manuscripts sent to Delacorte Press may not be submitted to other publishers or literary agents while under consideration for the prize.
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Question Delacorte Press Contest

    I found this on a blog about the Delacorte Press contest. Is it a common practice for an unpublished writer to be expected to give away all world rights on a first novel?

    Kimberley Griffiths Little said...I know two writers who sent mansucripts to the Delacorte contests. One did not win, but her novel ended up getting an offer from them, a MG. The other friend submitted, but did so at the last minute, hadn't read the contest rules very closely, didn't know much about it, and then got a phone call saying she was THE WINNER for the YA category! Since she was so green about publishing and ignorant about the contest, when they told her about the contract and she found out she was giving away all world rights, she balked and wanted to talk to an agent first. They withdrew the winnings and the offer. Her novel went on to get agented and sold somewhere else. The contest is a great way to get your work publicized in a bigger way than most first novels because they make a big splash about it in the catalog, etc. My opinion is that it's definitely worth submitting to. But be sure you understand the rules and the contract!!!
    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    "Giving away world rights"? What does that mean? Surely Delacorte were offering money (advance & royalties) in return for world rights?

  8. #8
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torgo View Post
    "Giving away world rights"? What does that mean? Surely Delacorte were offering money (advance & royalties) in return for world rights?
    It was a surprisingly low advance--$9,000 for all world rights, according to the website.

    The Amazon book contest is the same way--the prize is a $25,000 advance for all world rights. If you can write a book that wins one of these contests, you should be able to do better than that in the open market, I would think.

    The thing about wrapping world rights into a contract is that it's not the usual practice for US publishers. You usually sell North American rights and then sell world rights separately. What these contests are awarding is what would be a low-ish advance for NA rights alone.

    As for the "well, you get the publicity, too" I'd answer that you can't eat publicity.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW MargueriteMing's Avatar
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    Well, if the book earns out then you will get paid. If the book doesn't earn out then it wasn't worth the advance in the first place.

    A big advance does guarantee that the publisher will support the book. They are commited to selling a lot of copies in order to earn back the advance.
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  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I guess I still don't understand about "world rights". Did I read somewhere that you should never give away all rights? Here's what it said on the contest site:
    The prize of a book contract (on the publisher’s standard form) covering world rights for a hardcover and a paperback edition, including an advance and royalties, will be awarded annually to encourage the writing of contemporary young adult fiction. The award consists of $1,500 in cash and a $7,500 advance against royalties.

  11. #11
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camille View Post
    I guess I still don't understand about "world rights".
    The problem with the Delacorte Press contest is that it sells North American rights and world rights together for an advance that wouldn't be considered more than "moderate" for North American rights alone.

    The usual procedure in the US is that your advance covers North American rights, and then world rights are sold separately. So Delacorte isn't offering the contest winner as good a deal as other authors expect.

    Does that answer your question?

  12. #12
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    It was a surprisingly low advance--$9,000 for all world rights, according to the website.
    Ah, not such a great deal. I can see why they offer that in this contest scenario, but I wouldn't sign the contract...

  13. #13
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post

    The usual procedure in the US is that your advance covers North American rights, and then world rights are sold separately.
    It's the same in the UK. You're better off with an agent who can negotiate foreign rights on a country by country basis.
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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I did a little more research and saw that "world rights" is something that is usually negotiated and an agent is usually involved. It means more money for the writer and then of course more for the agent. I haven't published anything and I don't have an agent so it would be bittersweet for me. The Delacorte contest is a good way to get your foot in the door (for a pat on the back). On another thread I asked (the agent) if I didn't win the contest, but they wanted to still publish my manuscript (I've heard this happens), could I then contact an agent and tell them I have a publisher that wants my manuscript and I'd like to be represented. I didn't know if the "rules" applied to contest winners only. I know I'm putting the cart before the horse, but I'd want an agent watching my back. I wrote the manuscript for the contest and didn't try to send it anywhere else. It's polished and well written and I feel I have a good chance. They may not want it, but I think someone will.

  15. #15
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Hi Camille,

    You haven't signed a contract with them and looking at the rules just sending them your MS doesn't seem to constitute any sort of contract either. (Disclaimer: I AM NOT A LAWYER.) I'd say you're free to accept or reject any offer they might make.

    If you have a contract offered to you by anyone and you don't have an agent, that's certainly a good moment to find one. An agent will be able to tell you whether the publisher is offering you the right sort of advance for the rights they want to buy. ($7,500 doesn't seem like a lot for world rights, IMHO.) You are a more attractive proposition for an agent when you have a firm offer.

    However, that's not to say that you should reject any offer for world rights out of hand. Your agent might be able to get you a better deal shopping your rights around piecemeal - a different publisher in the UK, a different one in Australia, foreign language sales here and there - but on the other hand someone like HarperCollins or Penguin might be just as able to do that having bought world rights (and will already have paid you while they beaver away selling your sub-rights.) So in fact your agent might advise you that that's the way to go, if the price is right.

    I'd say don't get too worried about this stuff now until you're looking at an actual contract offer - that's the time to seek professional advice. For now, just sit tight and keep writing.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks Torgo! I just like to know what I'm getting into and my options. According to the above blog, getting an agent won't be an option.
    "Since she was so green about publishing and ignorant about the contest, when they told her about the contract and she found out she was giving away all world rights, she balked and wanted to talk to an agent first. They withdrew the winnings and the offer."
    No agents before the contest or after.

  17. #17
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    Sometimes 'giving away' world rights is not necessarily a bad thing. Some houses have major distribution in other countries, and so your book might be better off staying 'in house'. Of course, this is always something to discuss with your agent. But if your publisher already has a big plan for marketing in England or Australia, it's certainly not the end of the world to let them have World English.
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    Passion in full bloom talkwrite's Avatar
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    World rights and foreign rights are the sale of your manuscript to publisher (s) that will translate it into foreign languages. Therefore it is the translated version of your book. As a literary translator those are the publishers who pay me to translate books.
    No you should not give your world rights away anymore than you should give the original manuscript away. An agent can educate you on rights negotiation because that's what they do. Negotiate a fair price on your standard rights and explore the possibility of negotiating or even retaining the foreign or world rights separately to get a better deal.
    I am also examining contests very closely for the rights they retain .
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  19. #19
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    You do realize that even if your publisher has 'World Rights' you still get paid for them, right? Just making sure that everyone realizes that.
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  20. #20
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irysangel View Post
    You do realize that even if your publisher has 'World Rights' you still get paid for them, right? Just making sure that everyone realizes that.
    You still get royalties.

    If you don't wrap world rights into your original contract, you get royalties AND a lump sum.

    These folks are taking advantage of contest winners by offering less generous terms to them than they do to other first-time authors.

  21. #21
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the contract.

    That being said, I've heard somewhere that some publishers (admittedly a small number) refuse to give up world rights, and will break a contract rather than negotiate. So there's always that bugaboo to think about too. Could just be rumor, but...
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  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    giving away all world rights

    [quote=Irysangel;2121117]I think it depends on the contract.


    This is the contract:

    The prize of a book contract (on the publisherís standard form) covering world rights for a hardcover and a paperback edition, including an advance and royalties, will be awarded annually to encourage the writing of contemporary young adult fiction. The award consists of $1,500 in cash and a $7,500 advance against royalties.

  23. #23
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irysangel View Post
    I think it depends on the contract.

    That being said, I've heard somewhere that some publishers (admittedly a small number) refuse to give up world rights, and will break a contract rather than negotiate. So there's always that bugaboo to think about too. Could just be rumor, but...
    It completely depends on the business they expect a given book to do. Let's say I am buying rights to publish something for the mid-list of my publishing house TorgoCo. TorgoCo operates mainly in the UK and Ireland but also has overseas interests - TorgoCo Australia, say - and does well selling sub-rights to foreign-language publishers. If the author says, I'm only prepared to sell you UK rights, I'm probably going to pass on it; I'm only allowed to trade in a small market, I'll sell fewer copies, and they'll be more expensive to produce. As the scope of the rights shrinks, so do TorgoCo's profit margins.

    In other words, it isn't that I have a fetish for world rights, particularly, just that I've run various different sales scenarios through my spreadsheet and have an idea as to what configuration of rights makes the book viable. (And then I've asked for as much as I think I can get away with.)

  24. #24
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irysangel View Post
    I think it depends on the contract.
    Neither the Delacorte nor the Amazon contest offers a generous contract, in my opinion.

    That being said, I've heard somewhere that some publishers (admittedly a small number) refuse to give up world rights, and will break a contract rather than negotiate. So there's always that bugaboo to think about too. Could just be rumor, but...
    Again, the thing with these particular contests is that both publishers ordinarily auction world rights separately. So the contest winners are getting a less advantageous contract, at least in that respect, than other first-time novelists with the same publishers.

  25. #25
    Procrastinating, clearly Carrie R.'s Avatar
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    I know plenty of authors with reputable publishers for whom $7,500 would be a solid advance. I'm not saying it's stellar (and a most of the advances I know are in the romance world) but I've seen a lot of advances for a lot less.

    That being said, you do generally get paid a higher advance when world rights are involved -- the publisher pays for those rights. Also, someone mentioned that selling world rights is not the norm, but I'm not sure this is the case anymore - I feel like it's about 50/50 with people selling world or world english to their publishers or retaining to sell themselves. It really comes down to who you think is better equipped to handle selling your book into foreign markets: your publisher or your agent (or you if you're unagented and I think someone said the contest entry has to be unagented).

    There's a big difference with selling your world rights to the publisher, though, and that's that anything you get from the sales of those books to foreign markets (advances and I think royalties as well but I could be wrong) go towards paying off your US advance -- not to you.

    So if Random House sold your contest winning book to a publisher in France for 5k, they would take whatever split stipulated in the contract and the rest would go towards paying off your 7.5k US advance. The nice thing about this is that you can actually earn out your advance before your book hits the shelves. The downside is that the publisher takes a cut and you don't get the money right away -- again, depends on what it important to you as the author.

    My own disclaimer is that I'm published with Delacorte and I sold them my world-rights -- I thought it was advantageous for me to do so. I have no idea what an average advance from Delacorte is, though. BUt something else to consider is whether a winner of the contest would get a lot of great publicity which is also a key factor (I'd rather take a lower advance with huge publisher support than a higher advance with little publisher support).
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