How to negotiate Book Publication Rights for Translation
Thread poster: ROCHA-ROBINSON

ROCHA-ROBINSON  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:46
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Aug 5, 2004

I've just finished the translation for a book soon to be published and marketed abroad and now have to negotiate percentages on the copies sold.

I would welcome thoughts, suggestions and information as to how best to go about this from those of you who have already done this before.

Is it better to go for a fixed fee now or a percentage over future sales?

Is a percentage over future sales EVEN a viable option?

What are the translation rights on a book which will be printed in both languages?

Many sincere thanks for any pointers on this issue - meeting with editor on Monday 9th August.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
English to Tamil
+ ...
Are you sure your sequence of action is advisable? Aug 5, 2004

You wrote: I've just finished the translation for a book soon to be published and marketed abroad and now have to negotiate percentages on the copies sold.

Should it not have been the other way about? Translation of a full book is no joke and should you not have tied up all the loose ends beforehand?

Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:46
French to English
+ ...
Would have to agree....... Aug 5, 2004

I have a friend who recently had this kind of problem (not in the translation industry, but in a completely different area). He had to travel up and down to Oxford for business 5 days a week for 3 months on the grounds that there would probably be a bonus for him in it. He didn't get anything in writing or agree on anything until he had finished his secondment, and was then told that there was no bonus. He basically didn't have a leg to stand on, but luckily enough was able to talk his way round to getting some kind of bonus.

Basically - this was a warning for me. Always agree to terms and conditions before starting any kind of job - if not, then you risk losing out!!!

Sorry I can't offer any concrete advice on the issue, but I'm sure some other fellow Prozians will be able to!

Good luck!

Paul


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ROCHA-ROBINSON  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:46
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not quite the problem suggested... Aug 5, 2004

In actual fact, my question relates to the following:

I was initially offered a fixed fee for the work based on straightforward word count but I've now been offered participation in future sales volume.

It is coffee-table style book, intended for global release and as a kind of 'calling card' as it were for local govt. etc...

I was wondering if anyone can provide an insight into my rights to copies sold abroad as it will be marketed as a book in a single volume with two language versions side by side.

The author has offered me participation as above and beyond the initial fixed fee. Just wondered if he has the freedom to offer such terms when the book is being printed through a publishing house. They've asked him to ask me to sign permission for my translated version in order to go to print.

Does that explain the idea a little more clearly?

Anyway help etc... more than useful.

Many sincere thanks!

Steve
www.proz.com/pro/78313


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
English to Tamil
+ ...
Now you are talking like a pro Aug 5, 2004

Sorry for having misunderstood but you have to agree that your original posting led one easily down the way I reacted. Now that your fixed fee already in hand, you can definitely negotiate for more. What sort of a book is it? Will it sell? Does it have mass appeal? You would do well to consult a lawyer about drawing up an ironclad agreement. If you are paid royalty on the copies sold, do you have means at your disposal to monitor the sales? Or you have to depend on the say-so of the author or the publisher about the number of copies sold?

Regards,
N.Raghavan
Steven Robinson wrote:

In actual fact, my question relates to the following:

I was initially offered a fixed fee for the work based on straightforward word count but I've now been offered participation in future sales volume.

It is coffee-table style book, intended for global release and as a kind of 'calling card' as it were for local govt. etc...

I was wondering if anyone can provide an insight into my rights to copies sold abroad as it will be marketed as a book in a single volume with two language versions side by side.

The author has offered me participation as above and beyond the initial fixed fee. Just wondered if he has the freedom to offer such terms when the book is being printed through a publishing house. They've asked him to ask me to sign permission for my translated version in order to go to print.

Does that explain the idea a little more clearly?

Anyway help etc... more than useful.

Many sincere thanks!

Steve
www.proz.com/pro/78313





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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:46
German to English
+ ...
What is subject/print run? Aug 5, 2004

Steve, can you tell us the subject area and, especially, the initial print run? That would give me an indication how "serious" the project is. If it's not something only a few people would be interested in, i.e. you think it might sell a few copies, I would tend towards a fee up front plus a percentage of sales; otherwise cash out up front. I have some experience at least in the German book market; feel free to email me privately.

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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Something hidden Aug 5, 2004

I was initially offered a fixed fee for the work based on straightforward word count but I've now been offered participation in future sales volume.


The author has offered me participation as above and beyond the initial fixed fee. Just wondered if he has the freedom to offer such terms when the book is being printed through a publishing house. They've asked him to ask me to sign permission for my translated version in order to go to print.


I am not an expert on this field but I feel there must be some kind of hidden reason if they were going to pay you a fixed rate and that was it and suddenly they are so good that they want to offer you a participation/royalties. I would suggest that you get legal advice since this may have some consequences that you may not be aware of.

Good luck.


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ROCHA-ROBINSON  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:46
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
further information - print run etc... Aug 5, 2004

Ok...

Subject: Brazilian Pantanal - 2nd Edition. First edition had a terrible English translation (not mine!)

Type: Educational/Reference/Institutional

1st Edition - sold out (even with terrible English version)

As far as I am aware - print run of 10,000 - which is pretty high for Brazil.

Full colour plates - 88 pages at least - perhaps A3 format (large size) coffee table format.

Backed by two local governments for delivery to foreign consulates, embassies, schools etc...

Probable shelf price: 35 USD (Brazilian market)

===============================================

Is there a difference when a book is printed in two languages - ie: left page (Portuguese) right page (English) - in mirror fashion? - compared to say, separate copy marketed as such in English?

Is the author obliged to offer me a percentage on sales? I don't wish to touch on this subject unless it is common practice to do so.

Since I have to sign a 'release form' for the publishers to accept printing my version of the book - I will obviously consult a lawyer on the terms contained within such a form.

Anyway - a thousand thanks for all your help on this!!

If I can ever be of service... let me know.

Cheers

Steve Robinson
www.proz.com/pro/78313


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