This is topic Ha! Let's just fall for this one... in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by JeanneT (Member # 5709) on :
I got a Publisher's Weekly alert about Bob Miller, longtime president of Hyperion, leaving for a new post at HarperCollins. Made me wonder if HC is still doing the rights grab thing about hanging onto rights they initiated some time back. Then as I perused the article I ran into THIS little tidbit:

The studio will also look to move away from traditional advance/royalty deals with authors in favor of profit sharing agreements.

Apparently now book publishers are dying of envy of Hollywood never actually having to pay on the profits that somehow magically disappear in the accounting office. *rolls eyes*

Suuure. Sounds like a good deal for authors, right?

Posted by annepin (Member # 5952) on :
As icky as it sounds I feel like that's where we're headed. I've read on several published authors' sites that they're being told more and more to do their own marketing and so forth. From a publisher's pov, profit-sharing is a great way to ensure the authors participation, and, of course, hand off the marketing.

Posted by JeanneT (Member # 5709) on :
And how can we be assured that they will actually PAY a percentage of the profits. Do you know of a single instance in Hollywood where this has been paid? I'm told that it hasn't.

When it comes to royalties on book prices the bookkeeping is fairly straightforward. Book publishers have a reputation of paying what they owe. But profits are easy to fudge.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited April 03, 2008).]

Posted by annepin (Member # 5952) on :
Yeah, I don't know. Profit sharing is pretty sketchy. I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm just saying I expect more people to do it in the future.
Posted by JeanneT (Member # 5709) on :
I can't say you're wrong--but as is so often the case, it won't be to the benefit of authors, I fear.
Posted by Lynda (Member # 3574) on :
Possible instance of Hollywood profit-sharing (don't know this for sure, but I'm pretty confident it's true): JK Rowling Yes, the films are made in England but it's Warner Bros. in Hollywood that owns them. And JKR seems to make quite a nice profit from the films, the product licensing, all that.

[This message has been edited by Lynda (edited April 04, 2008).]

Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
On the downside, the Tolkien estate is suing over not getting their fair share of the profits from their films.

It's said in Hollywood that everybody should have two hits (format your choice). The second hit pays for the lawsuits over the first hit.

I think I'd avoid this sort of publishing deal, assuming it was ever offered to me.

Posted by Igwiz (Member # 6867) on :
I have often wondered when this would show up in writing. I'm wondering whether it could be re-structured to be "revenue sharing" rather "profit sharing." In my opinion, I'd be happy for a sliding scale revenue sharing, something like 15% for anything less than $3,000,000, and 8% on anything above that.

Because revenue is revenue, but profit is net. And I agree with JeanneT that, it isn't hard for Harper Collins to "net" zero on a book that made $15,000,000 in revenues.


Posted by JeanneT (Member # 5709) on :
She didn't get money from profit sharing. The very canny Ms. Rowling got her money UP FRONT. That is the trick in making money on movie deals from books--make them pay you up front. NEVER think that they will pay you on profits because they are experts at seeing that profits don't show on the books. Every movie in history has ended up Net Zero.

And among others, the Tolkien estate is indeed suing because the studios claim that LOTR lost money. *snorts*

Getting money from the sale itself and from product licensing is quite different from profit sharing at the back end.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited April 04, 2008).]

Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
the Tolkien estate is indeed suing because the studios claim that LOTR lost money. *snorts*

Right to snort at it. Hollywood accounting practices would land its practitioners in jail in almost any other industry but the entertainment field. Get your Hollywood money upfront.

I'd like John D. MacDonald's old deal---the publishers paid him a royalty on every copy they printed. Fat chance of anybody nowadays ever getting that kind of deal...

Posted by JeanneT (Member # 5709) on :
And don't make the mistake of thinking agents aren't paying attention to what I suspect may be in part an attempt to cut them out of the loop--since you want to tell me where this would leave agents? And where would it leave authors with no one to be (even for pay) on our side?
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Agents make out fine in Hollywood, so I suspect they'll make out fine if this comes out in straightforward publishing.

Besides, agents, literary and the other kind, have evolved from getting ten percent to twenty percent to...what's the standard now? I don't know...anyway, I suspect agents will get theirs the old fashioned way---they'll get the check from the publisher, and take theirs off the top.

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