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Apologue
02-13-2015, 03:11 AM
How is it handled when two authors, both of whom already have agents (at different agencies) and solo projects somewhere in the publishing pipeline, co-write a book they'd like to sell? Who shops it and how are profits split between agents?

Becca C.
02-13-2015, 05:54 AM
This is probably worked out on a case-by-case basis with the authors and agents involved. I doubt there would be a single, standard way to deal with this.

Neegh
02-13-2015, 05:59 AM
One thing's for sure: both agents will get their commission. ;-P

cornflake
02-13-2015, 06:09 AM
Duel to the death in Bryant Park.

Two agents enter. One commission leaves.

They sell tickets and stuff - the best Halal carts come; it's an event.

Putputt
02-13-2015, 09:44 AM
That's a really good question! Last year, there was a short story anthology featuring several agented and published writers, and I wondered fleetingly how their agents split the commission. I don't believe each agent would have taken the usual 15%, because there were so many authors involved, if every agent takes 15%, there would be none left for the various authors!

*buys a hot dog and settles down in the corner to watch*

Old Hack
02-13-2015, 12:09 PM
This is probably worked out on a case-by-case basis with the authors and agents involved. I doubt there would be a single, standard way to deal with this.

You're right.


One thing's for sure: both agents will get their commission. ;-P

If they don't do any work on the book then why would they?


That's a really good question! Last year, there was a short story anthology featuring several agented and published writers, and I wondered fleetingly how their agents split the commission. I don't believe each agent would have taken the usual 15%, because there were so many authors involved, if every agent takes 15%, there would be none left for the various authors!

*buys a hot dog and settles down in the corner to watch*

The agents concerned would only get their commission on their author-clients' payments or royalties, not on all the royalties for the whole book.

But for short story deals, an agent would probably not get involved so it wouldn't be an issue.

Putputt
02-13-2015, 12:25 PM
The agents concerned would only get their commission on their author-clients' payments or royalties, not on all the royalties for the whole book.



Oohhh, duh. Sense, this does make.

Old Hack
02-13-2015, 01:39 PM
Some things do look obvious once you know them, Putputt. But how is anyone meant to know this stuff if it's not been explained to them? It's what AW is here for, I think.

BethKLewis
02-13-2015, 05:39 PM
Cassandra Clare and Holly Black co-wrote the Magisterium series. They each have agents for their solo work and for the joint project they found a new agent. This seems to be the industry norm.

thisprovinciallife
02-13-2015, 05:44 PM
It seems like it happens on a case-by-case basis. I have a PM membership right now and I've seen it a few ways. For example:


Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, told in alternating chapters of he-said/she-said, as Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for just five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, which unfolds into much more, to Nancy Hinkel at Knopf Children's, for publication in summer 2006, by Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at William Morris Agency (world).

Two authors, one agent. OR


Bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare's first full-length collaboration, a five-book fantasy series starting with THE IRON TRIAL, about a twelve-year-old boy who grown up knowing three rules by heart -- Never trust a magician; never pass a test a magician gives you; and never let a magician take you to the Magisterium -- but is about to break all the rules, and his life will change in ways he can't possibly imagine, to David Levithan at Scholastic, in a pre-empt, for publication beginning in 2014, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary (for Holly Black) and Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency (for Cassandra Clare) (NA).

Two authors, two agents. Not sure what this means as far as profits go.

BethKLewis
02-13-2015, 06:12 PM
It gets more complicated when you take into account different territories. Holly and Cassie have a single UK agent representing their joint venture. In the US, I guess it's different.

Silly publishing, far too complex!

heza
02-13-2015, 09:22 PM
I'm assuming if I co-authored something, I'd probably go with the agent who had the best connections for selling it... like, if my agent were more focused on MG and we'd written a YA but the other author's agent was strictly YA.... I guess it probably doesn't break down that nicely all the time.

Barbara R.
02-13-2015, 10:29 PM
The agents arm-wrestle. Winner takes all.

Old Hack
02-13-2015, 10:51 PM
There's this whole underground thing where agents, editors and publishers cage-fight each other. Sometimes authors get involved too, but you're only allowed in if you're a best-seller.

suki
02-13-2015, 11:32 PM
As others have said, it's usually on a case by case basis. A lot depends, I'd assume, on the agents. And the authors' contracts with the agents. ;) But the first step would be to talk to your respective agents. Hopefully, they respect each other, and it will be worked out. And then I'd assume each agent would vet the contract and get their commission from their client's share of the advance and royalties.


That's a really good question! Last year, there was a short story anthology featuring several agented and published writers, and I wondered fleetingly how their agents split the commission. I don't believe each agent would have taken the usual 15%, because there were so many authors involved, if every agent takes 15%, there would be none left for the various authors!

*buys a hot dog and settles down in the corner to watch*

Actually, anthologies are often edited by one of the contributing authors, and often, that author's agent will shop the book. It's then between each author and his/her/their own agent whether the agent will review the contract and take a cut of their client's share of the typically small advance/royalties earned for anthologies.

~suki

Aggy B.
02-14-2015, 06:02 AM
It gets more complicated when you take into account different territories. Holly and Cassie have a single UK agent representing their joint venture. In the US, I guess it's different.

Silly publishing, far too complex!

Usually international sales are coordinated through a separate agent. So their US agents may have been able to find a single agent they were both comfortable working with for the UK deal.

Old Hack
02-14-2015, 12:56 PM
Agents usually work with sub-agents in other territories. So if one of the two authors' agents takes care of the first sale I'd expect it to be likely for that same agent's sub-agents to take care of foreign rights sales. It would make accounting etc. a lot simpler.

Jamesaritchie
02-14-2015, 07:01 PM
It's not complicated, and where money is concerned, the situation is exactly the same as one writer, one book, one agent. Peter Straub's agent gets fifteen percent of his writing income. Stephen King's agent gets fifteen percent of his writingincome. This does not change because the two co-wrote The Talisman and Black House.

Jamesaritchie
02-14-2015, 07:09 PM
That's a really good question! Last year, there was a short story anthology featuring several agented and published writers, and I wondered fleetingly how their agents split the commission. I don't believe each agent would have taken the usual 15%, because there were so many authors involved, if every agent takes 15%, there would be none left for the various authors!

*buys a hot dog and settles down in the corner to watch*


The agents don't split anything. Agents don't receive commission like that. The writer is the one the publisher pays, not the agent. The publisher sends each agent her writer's share of the money. She takes out her fifteen percent, and sends the rest on to the writer.

Agents get fifteen percent of what a writer makes, not fifteen percent of what the anthology makes.

Look at it this way. Every fiction magazine is essentially an anthology. If a magazine buy ten stories from ten writers who each have an agent, each agent gets fifteen percent of what her writer was paid for the story.

If the magazine pays a dime per word, and writer one sells a 1,000 word story, he get a hundred bucks, and his agent gets fifteen bucks, taken out of his hundred. If another writer sells a 10,000 word story, he gets a thousand bucks, and his agent gets a hundred and fifty bucks, taken out of his thousand.

An anthology works the same way. The writer is paid, not the agent. The publisher pays the writer, and the writer pays his own agent.

Debbie V
02-19-2015, 12:11 AM
In any case, the first step, once the manuscript is ready, is for both authors to have a chat with their agents. Take it from there.