Creator-owned publishing question
I'm in discussions with a small comics publisher right now about ELEANOR, a book I've been working on this year. (I've posted some sample pages in the work-in-progress forum.)
I know there are several artists/writers on this forum who have their own creator-owned properties. As I'm working through the contract details with the publisher, is there any advice or warnings you might be able to share? Any big warning signs or roadblocks I should look out for?
Thanks in advance!
Make sure the contract expires... that's an good one that's easy to miss or forget. And the publisher's licensing agreement should only extend to a particular media (like print), and not into any other areas of development without your permission or involvement (assuming that's what you want). If the publisher tells you that it's "standard" to license your property for distribution and development across media, tell them it's "standard" for you to sign contracts by kicking the other party in the balls. If they want a multimedia license, especially a development license, you're getting paid for that.
Okay, do not threaten to kick your publisher in the balls. But a publishing license does not extend into ownership of the IP, or the license to develop the IP across media. It's a license to publish (i.e. print and distribute) a single property within a single media, for an extended period of time, full stop. There are some publishers, especially in indie comics (which has been ripe territory for media development lately) would like you to forget that. They want to be media property owners now (see Tokyopop), but developing content is so darn hard... easier to buy someone else's.
Try and catch up with creators in other media as well as comics... novelists are good to talk to, their industry is similar in practice and has been chugging along a lot longer. And honestly... try and get a lawyer to look over whatever contract is finalized. Ask some of those book authors to recommend someone with a background in publishing law. If you've dropped a couple years in developing a book, you want the best deal you can get for that.
Last edited by Inkthinker; 04-26-2011 at 12:41 PM.
Thanks for the advice, Ink! Each of those points has been a topic of discussion with the publisher so far, which is reassuring.
Don't forget to spell out the region: North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Middle East. You will want to retain the option of selling the publication rights in these other regions for additional money. Comics are sold around the world. Don't sell everything to one party unless you are getting paid for the additional rights. Normally you sell only the North American rights in the U. S.