Last week, we covered the basic aspects of rights reversion, what it is, and how it works. That article can be found here: Introduction To Rights Reversion. This week, as promised, we’ll be talking about how an author can open a dialogue with their publisher to reacquire full rights to their work.
It is vital for authors to understand the process behind reclaiming the rights to their books from their publisher. After all, authors have invested a lot of time and effort into their work, and there are many reasons why an author may want to have full control over their content after publishing. Writing a rights reversion letter is the best way to accomplish this.
REASONS FOR WRITING A RIGHTS REVERSION LETTER
Authors should write a reversion letter when they want to reclaim the rights to their work from their publisher. An author may wish to do this to pursue other opportunities with the work, when the publisher is not following through with author expectations or contractual obligations. Whatever the reason may be, it is important to make sure that authors try to reclaim the rights to their work in a professional manner.
Writing a rights reversion letter also ensures that the publisher is aware of the author’s intentions. A well-crafted rights reversion letter, when signed by both parties, will ensure that the publisher relinquishes all legal claims to the work and the rights are officially reverted back to the author.
A rights reversion letter does not have to result in burning a bridge with the publisher. In fact, it can be an opportunity to strengthen a relationship if the process is done with care and professionalism. This is especially important if the author plans to work with the publisher in the future.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A RIGHTS REVERSION LETTER
When crafting a rights reversion letter, there are several important things to include, such as the title of the book, the publishing date, and the publisher's name. This ensures that the publisher knows what work the author is reclaiming the rights to.
Second, the author should clearly state the reasons why they are requesting their rights back. Most commonly, a rights reversion letter is written for Out of Print works or low sales volume, but there can be many reasons besides these.
Third, the author should include the date on which the terms of the rights reversion letter are expected to go into effect. This is an important step, as it ensures that a paper trail exists for any future communications with the publisher if any complications should arise from the original request.
Finally, the author should include their contact information, even if the publisher already has it on file. This ensures that the publisher can contact the author if they have any questions or concerns regarding the rights reversion.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR WRITING A RIGHTS REVERSION LETTER
Writing a rights reversion letter can be a daunting task, but there are a few tips and tricks to ensure that the process runs as smooth as possible.
Be professional and courteous in the language. This will help ensure that the publisher does not take offense to the letter and will be more likely to respond favorably. Publishers (not all of us) can be fickle.
Make sure the letter is concise and to the point. This ensures that the publisher has all the necessary information to process the reversion, and it will increase the likelihood they will respond in a timely manner.
An author doesn’t need a reason to ask for their book rights back, but if they include one, they are more likely to be successful in their quest to get their rights.
If an author does not receive a response from the publisher within a reasonable timeframe, they should query the publisher. Publishing is a very hands-on industry, and emails are likely answered by a real human being who is diligently working on many different things at once. Sending a kindly worded follow up email after a period of time has passed without a response reminds the publisher that the author is waiting and that the rights reversion request is still important to them.
SAMPLE RIGHTS REVERSION LETTER
Below is a sample rights reversion letter which can be used as a template.
I am writing to inform you that I am requesting the rights to my book [Book Title] to be reverted back to me. The book was published on [Publishing Date] by [Publisher's Name].
I am requesting the rights to be reverted back to me on [Date].
My reason for this request is because [Reasonable Reason].
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the rights reversion, feel free to contact me at [Email Address] or [Phone Number].
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
RESOURCES FOR RIGHTS REVERSION
The process of reclaiming the rights to a work from the publisher may seem a bit fuzzy, with no clearly defined method, but with a bit of time, patience, and sometimes a bit of help, it can be done. Fortunately, there are some resources available to help make the process easier.
The Author's Guild, provides guidance and advice to authors on how to reclaim the rights to their work. Additionally, they furnish assistance to writers with their helpful legal team in various aspects of Publisher-Author relations.
Depending on their situation, it can be a challenge for many authors who are stuck in a contract that is no longer serving their interests to get their rights back on their own, but it isn’t always so. Sometimes, getting rights back can be as easy as “1,2,3.” The simple guidelines and the template discussed here can be used to create a short and professional rights reversion letter to a publisher.
If you are an author and your circumstances are more complicated than what has been discussed here, let it be known that you are not alone. Many authors just like you have been in the same place and have emerged with all their rights at the end of the day. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Ask another author or ask for help from some of the above listed resources. Rights reversion can be a difficult subject to wrap your head around and it never hurts to have a little bit of help.
Thanks for spending your time here with us this week on the HIP Weekly. We hope you learned something from this short article and we look forward to seeing you next week. In the meantime, stay positive, productive, and stay safe out there!
Huntsville Independent Press
ABOUT HUNTSVILLE INDEPENDENT PRESS
Huntsville Independent Press is the premiere publishing imprint of the Southeast United States, and we want to help you, the author. HIP provides, at no cost to our signed authors, a better solution for the publication of your story. Our contracts are non-restrictive and offer higher royalties for our authors. No HIP advance is taken out of royalties. Your advance from us is a one-time payment for the privilege to publish your book and is not a loan. Our passionate team of editors work diligently to ensure that the uniqueness of your story is preserved through the editing process. While you’re here, feel free to look around to see if Huntsville Independent Press is the right home for your work. We are always happy to have talented authors find a publishing home here with us.