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Old 08-22-2015, 09:15 AM   #1
Novelist
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Default Relationships between agencies...

I've been writing a long time and I'm finally at the point where I'm talking to lit agents and thinking about publishing contracts. Currently, I have a very mainstream genre-fiction novel being considered by some pretty serious literary agencies. It's always been part of my vision that this particular book would be a terrific movie.


I know writers that have had books bought by the 'Hollywood' movie machine. When I look at them in the DDP database, I sometimes see their lit agency listed there with the big time agency (WME, Creative Artist Agency, etc) listed above as 'Agency.'


If I have a book repped by a lit agent pitching to legacy publishers, how does the relationship between a lit agent and a giant Hollywood agency work? Would a WME type agency just buy out the lit agent?


With this particular manuscript, the movie rights are very important to me and I want to make sure that any print/ebook publishing deal leaves me with control over any potential movie deal. Is there any advice from the veterans on how to be sure that my book won't be turned into a musical starring Justin Bieber.


I've also heard horror stories about the 'no-net-profits-left-for-the-writer-to-share-after-the-movie-made-millions-for-the-producers-and-actors' type deal.


Thanks for any insights or experiences you want to share,
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:36 AM   #2
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: Relationships between agencies...

Hollywood usually gets interested not when you've got an agency for your novel, but when you've got a sale.

A major lit agency will have relationships with Hollywood agencies. My old agency had a department that was connected to a couple of publishers, and we could get a look at their "book list" of stuff that was coming out in the near future, and get galley copies so we could prepare pitches to take around town. I don't know if they still have that relationship, however, and I don't know the details of how it worked.

We didn't have any rights, though, they'd have to be negotiated once we found a buyer interested in our pitch.

Yeah, net points are often worthless. If a deal happens, you'll need a lawyer who can negotiate you a favorable definition. (Not all net points are created equal). But, for example, JK Rowling didn't have a hard time getting a favorable deal because a) she was willing to walk away and b) she had something they REALLY wanted.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you can negotiate at the time of the sale.
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:17 PM   #3
Dixon
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Default Re: Relationships between agencies...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Novelist View Post
If I have a book repped by a lit agent pitching to legacy publishers, how does the relationship between a lit agent and a giant Hollywood agency work? Would a WME type agency just buy out the lit agent?
Most NYC-based literary agents have relationships with the major agencies in Hollywood. I forget how the commissions work but I'm pretty sure it's the same if you sign with a NYC lit agent and their associate at a different company sells the film rights versus signing with the New York-branch ICM or WME. If that's what you're asking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Novelist View Post
With this particular manuscript, the movie rights are very important to me and I want to make sure that any print/ebook publishing deal leaves me with control over any potential movie deal. Is there any advice from the veterans on how to be sure that my book won't be turned into a musical starring Justin Bieber.
Any literary agent who can walk and chew gum at the same time will retain the complete film/TV rights for the client with the book sells. At that point you will have complete control. If you are fortunate enough to have interest in the film/TV rights from Hollywood, then it's all about what you can negotiate. Speaking from my limited experience, you most likely won't have any leverage other than your ability to walk away. I've always looked at any film/TV option as nice but small amount of money and a way to generate more book sales.

Good luck!

~Dixon
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Old 08-28-2015, 02:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Relationships between agencies...

I should have read Ronaldinho's answer before posting. He pretty much nailed three hours ago.

~Dixon
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