View Full Version : Question about percentages

03-25-2010, 02:25 PM
If you and your agent get an offer from a domestic publishing house, and it's for world rights plus a 90/10 author/publisher split on dramatic rights, how does an agent typically calculate his/her cut of the proceeds -- given that you originally agreed to hand over a higher percentage to your agent for foreign rights, dramatic rights, etc.?

Meaning, does the agent have to count the whole thing as one big domestic sale (getting a 15% cut for all income - regardless of source - once the contract is signed), even proceeds that later come in from the publisher having the book released in the UK? Does my agent give up his/her higher percentage that we agreed on for foreign rights? If the publisher has someone in mind for dramatic rights, and we sign over dramatic rights at a 90/10 split to the publisher, what happens to the percentage I agreed on with my agent for his/her sale of dramatic rights?

I'd ask my agent but (a) he is very busy right now (in a good way), and (b) I like getting multiple opinions.

03-25-2010, 03:22 PM
Agents charge a higher percentage for foreign sales *they* make. That's because they have to share the commission with a second agency located in the other country.

In the case you gave (sale to domestic publisher for world rights), there is no second agency involved, so the agent takes the usual 15% commission, not the higher one. It's probably the same for film rights, but that one I'm not sure about.

03-25-2010, 09:41 PM
To the best of my knowledge (smarter people correct me if I'm wrong here), your agent's cut comes of of what you get paid. So if you get 10K, they get their 15% of that 10K.

If you sell World Rights, you don't have the option of selling it to any other foreign markets because the publisher owns all the print rights. Your publisher has the option to sell the book on their own. You don't get an advance for those sales, as any foreign sales sold by your publisher are counted as book sales for you and help earn out your original advance from that publisher. (still with me?)

If you sold both World Rights and dramatic rights, I believe the publisher also controls who they sell the dramatic rights to as well. Your agent couldn't sell those either.

Your agent would still earn their 15% for all royalties earned by the book, no matter where it's printed or sold. So if the publisher sold UK rights, after you earned out your advance and got royalties for the UK sales, they'd get 15% of that.

Does that all make sense?

03-26-2010, 01:31 AM
Thanks, both of you; that helps!