View Full Version : As an agent would you ever take on *just* the subsidiary rights of a book?

10-13-2014, 10:31 PM
Hi everyone,

I have a somewhat odd question -- do agents ever take on just the subsidiary rights of a book that has already been sold to a US publisher?

The reason I ask is this: I have had, from the beginning, a "challenging" relationship with my agent. (I've posted about this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=281875) before). After sitting on my manuscript for more than three months, and after some extensive and uncomfortable prodding and pushing on my part, she did find it a good home, for which I am very grateful. Since that time, however, she has become even less responsive -- even my editor complains about this -- and though I signed with her over a year ago has taken absolutely no initiative in doing anything with the book's foreign/film rights. She had made repeated promises about taking certain steps in advance of the Frankfurt Book Fair about the foreign rights, steps that I learned last night that she never followed through on.

Since she has done nothing with the foreign/film rights, I wanted to see if, assuming I can get out of our representation agreement, a different agent might be interested in representing them instead. Do agents ever take on "part" of a book in this way? Or is it pointless to represent a writer whose book has already been sold in the US market by someone else?

Please note that I am not at all seeking legal advice or any other advice about the termination of my representation agreement. I am asking only if, were I to reserve these rights, if an agent would ever take these on, or if these rights are essentially dead in the water.

Thank you so much for any insight you can provide. Bookishjen

10-13-2014, 10:37 PM
From what I've read, I'd guess that a new agent would take on those rights, but only if they were representing you for a new projects at the same time.

I mean, say you sever your current agent-author relationship, then you'd want to find a new agent. However, you won't be able (most likely) to hook a new agent without a new book, but once they take on that new book, they would have every interest in making as much money for you (and for themselves) as possible. If your previously published book looks like a good sell via foreign rights, I don't know why they wouldn't try to exploit them.

Also, you have my sympathies for your current agent relationship. That is a crappy position to be in.

Old Hack
10-13-2014, 11:29 PM
You're going to struggle to find another agent interested in this book now.

Write another book, find another agent for the new book, and then see if that new agent will consider working on selling rights to the first one.

10-14-2014, 09:29 AM
Thanks to you both, this advice does make good sense, and is probably the push I need to put pen to paper on something new.