Keller Media Blog

By Wendy Keller, Literary Agent

If you wrote a book and it has been published or self-published in the last ten or so years, chances are YOU and/or your publisher are leaving a lot of money on the table.

In your publisher’s case, if you have one, it’s just not that high of a priority.

In your case as the author, chances are you just don’t yet know where the money is.

I’m a literary agent. I’ve sold hundreds of “secondary rights” all over the world, including NINE international best sellers. Here’s how what I know can help you:

“Secondary Rights” are the non-book rights to your content. There are about 132 of them at last count, but the main money-makers are these:

  • Audio
  • Film
  • Merchandising (when some object is created from your book, for instance a calendar, t-shirts, a board game, etc.)
  • Foreign Translation (your book in French, Polish or Thai, for instance)
  • Foreign Distribution (when your book is for sale in English in another country, like the UK, Canada, Australia for English language books published in the USA)
  • Course Adoption(when your book is adapted into a course taught live or online, or becomes required reading for one)
  • Product Premium (when your book becomes the “free” giveaway for customers who buy a company’s product or service)

Of course there are many, many more. But here’s a weird truth: Smart marketing of these and other secondary rights usually earns the author as much or more money than the advance paid by the US publisher! And it isn’t that hard to do.

If you’d like to explore the many ways you can earn money from your book’s secondary rights, you’re invited to my upcoming 90 minute long training on the topic. Here’s a link to register for it.

Some authors get a kick out of seeing their book in another language.

The world’s a big place, and even if your topic is past its prime in the extremely competitive market, there are certainly people – perhaps even entire countries – still interested in what you have to say. Fiction and nonfiction!

My opinion is this:

You put all that work into your book. Why not give the greatest number of people the chance to benefit from it?

Audio books are preferred by some people, blind or not. An online training, once set up, could make you money for decades to come. Film rights could make you, your book and the story famous all over the world. Not to mention the money!

You may not even know which secondary rights in your own book. Many authors and authors-to-be don’t. (P.S. – If you’ve already sold some of these rights prior to approaching publishers, it will make them believe you’re an even hotter commodity!) Your publisher, if you have one, usually gives up on placing secondary rights after bout 6-12 months of effort. That’s where this powerful online training comes in: I can help you find and exploit all your viable secondary rights.

Here’s the crazy bit – I’ve seen books that are six, nine and once, even eleven years old, get snatched up by international publishers! Sometimes, a boon in secondary rights sales resurrects a book in the US market. All kinds of wonderful things can still happen for your book – self-published or not, long ago or not, soon-to-be-released or only mostly written.

You will never know how valuable your secondary rights can be until you explore all your options. Peek into what’s possible now.

Wendy Keller is the Chief Talent Launcher and senior literary agent for Keller Media, Inc. in Los Angeles. Her company has placed +800 secondary rights deals worldwide, including 9 international best-sellers and 17 New York Times best-sellers.

Query her agency here.

Sign up for the Secondary Rights Online Live Training here.

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