Keeping Your Books Available

Posted April 9, 2015

Nicole Cabrera and Jordyn Ostroff

That book you published a few years ago is no longer selling like it used to, but it still contains useful information. Why don’t you ask your publisher for your rights back? You may be surprised to know that your publisher might be quite willing to give you back your rights if you ask. In fact, your publisher might also be quite willing to work with you to increase your book’s availability.

Don’t worry if you are unsure about how to approach your publisher. A new guide created by Authors Alliance will help you through the process, each step of the way.

Today, Authors Alliance releases Understanding Rights Reversion: When, Why, & How to Regain Copyright and Make Your Book More Available, a guide that arms authors with the information and strategies they need to revive their books. This guide is the product of extensive outreach to the publishing industry. In the process, we interviewed authors, publishers, and literary agents, ranging from a CEO of a major publishing house to contracts and rights managers of trade and academic presses, editorial assistants, novelists, and academic authors.

We were happily surprised by the consistency of publishers’ responses: across the board, publishers told us that they want to work together with their authors and that they are often willing to give authors their rights back if its in the books’ best interests. Publishers share the desire to “do the right thing” by books that would otherwise languish out of print. Time and again, we received a warm reception from the publishers, authors, and agents that we spoke with during our outreach, all of whom saw the value in a guide that would help authors keep their works available to readers.

Today’s technologies offer tremendous opportunities for authors to make their out-of-print or otherwise unavailable books more widely available. Some authors want to revive their books by creating e-books, while others may want to use print-on-demand technology or deposit their books in openly accessible repositories. We hope that the guide empowers authors to advocate on their own behalf to make their works more widely available, and we believe that many authors can work with their publishers to increase their books’ availability by following the strategies articulated in the guide: Be Reasonable, Be Flexible, Be Persistent, and Be Creative.

Page through Understanding Rights Reversion, and consider the ways you might make your book more available to your readers. This new guide will help you take an active role in your book’s future.

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