What happens when the media leaks out vital information contained in a nonfiction book before the book is available for sale in bookstores?
Learn about book embargoes, excerpt rights sales, and media exclusives with authors of sought-after nonfiction books, and what happens when these agreements are violated.
Imagine that you have unique information that is of high interest to the media. You decided to write a book, got an agent, and had your choice of several book deals with publishers eager to capitalize on presenting your unique information to the world for a nice profit.
Excerpt Sales and Exclusive Interviews
The publisher you signed with was really excited about your book, lining up all sorts of wonderful deals for you, like exclusive author interviews on TV and in the print media, and lucrative excerpts sales for individual chapters printed in a major magazine just before the book was available in stores. The excitement is growing as your book’s release date is near.
Building a Bestseller
Your books are shipping with an embargo, which prohibits all stores from selling any copies until the official release date. This allows your excerpts to be published prior to the book’s availability and to coincide with all the great interviews you’ve got lined up. Book reviewers are also subject to the embargo, signing nondisclosure agreements that prohibit them from publishing their reviews until a certain date. Your agent tells you that your book is not only bringing in good rights sales money, but the strong interest in it should garner enough copies sold in the first week to land you on the nonfiction bestseller list!
And then someone got an early copy of the book and leaked out your most revealing information to the press. It’s all over the print and broadcast media, stealing the thunder from your book’s unique revelations.
* Being scooped angers the folks at the big magazine who contracted to pay you a lot of money for the first ever publication of your information as an excerpt. They may decide to cancel the excerpt deal, or perhaps demand a reduction in the big bucks they contracted to pay you for that excerpt.
* Being scooped angers the top TV journalist who was promised an exclusive in a live interview with you. Everyone wants to be the first with your story. Second-place is old news.
* Being scooped angers bookstore owners who have had to turn away customers who want the book prior to the official release date.
* Being scooped upsets your publisher because the media revelations may detract from the number of book copies sold as well as jeopardize your lucrative excerpts deals (of which they get a percentage), and the stories may run too far before your book’s lay-down date (official day of publication) to maximize sales.
Learn more about this problem in my articles below.
Copyright 2006 by Barbara Doyen. All rights reserved.