Rights, FAQ and Imprints

Following the last news post a few days ago, here is some more information on the new imprint and how rights will work going forward. At the end I will also try and explain my reasoning for why I have chosen to go this route.

So, firstly, there will be ‘Lyra’s Press’ which began with ‘Stardust’. This imprint will focus on modern titles. Here the plan is to create more modern style bindings and, where we can, get author signatures. The second, and new, imprint will be called ‘Lyra’s Classics’. This imprint will focus on classic titles, most of which will be public domain. My initial plan with this imprint was to create a series of matching books on the shelf but, now we’re deep into developing the second one, I think this may not be the case. Often, different titles require a different creative approach and I don’t really want to back myself into a design corner. They will all be the same size though.

I have created another imprint so that I can cater for different kinds of collectors. I know some people love the classics, some people just want modern titles. But, perhaps the key reason is that I have discovered that getting reprint rights for modern books can be a frustrating task. It can literally take years. I think big publishers are simply not all that interested in the ‘small fry’ of fine press and, as such, we (or at least I) keep getting shoved down to the bottom of the pile for correspondence. It’s not especially that they don’t want us to do it, more that they have more important things to deal with! Having a public domain imprint means that I can keep publishing projects coming through while we wait for the permissions to deal with modern titles. Having this additional imprint, and the rights working the way I want them to, will hopefully mean that people don’t feel like they have to buy books they don’t want. I want to provide people with choices and variety.

The next book I publish will be from the ‘Classics’ imprint and will be the first of that line. As I mentioned in the previous post, this title will be ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde. Both imprints will have separate rights tracks and will have a mixture of rights and non-rights copies within the Numbered limitation. 

Rights

For those of you not in the know, having ‘rights’ or ‘matching rights’ essentially means that some customers will have the rights of first refusal on the next book. They will be given a window of time in which to make their order before the books go on general sale and thereby matching their current number/letter.

Please have a careful read through the FAQ page and take a look at the helpful flowchart. These will explain much more clearly how everything will work. 

Let me try and briefly break it down for you here –

Rights for Lyra’s Classics

  • The first title will have a limitation of 250 Numbered copies and 26 Lettered copies.
  • There will be no Standard edition for any ‘Classics’ title as far as I can see.
  • The owners of Numbered (formerly Leather) edition 1-100 and Lettered edition A-Z of ‘Stardust’ will have first refusal on the first ‘Classics’ title. If that customer decides not to take up this offer, their rights for ‘Lyra’s Press’ will NOT be affected and that ‘Classics’ number/letter will go into the pool.
  • There will be a mixture of rights and non-rights copies within the Numbered limitation.
  • I will be increasing the number of Numbered copies that have rights attached to them. This will increase from 100 to 150 out of a limitation of 250. These additional 50 rights copies, plus any that are not taken up by Stardust owners, will be randomly allocated to people who order within the first 24 hours of open pre-order. Numbers 151+ will remain as non-rights copies going forward, meaning there will always be books available to everyone at every title.
  • Any available Lettered copies will be via lottery only.
  • Rights are not transferable.

Rights for Lyra’s Press

  • The next title will have a limitation of 500 Standard copies, 200 Numbered (formerly Leather) copies and 26 Lettered copies.
  • The owners of Numbered/Leather edition 1-100 and Lettered edition A-Z of ‘Stardust’ will have first refusal on the next title.
  • There will be a mixture of rights and non-rights copies within the Numbered limitation.
  • When the next title is announced, I will be increasing the number of Numbered copies that have rights attached to them. This will increase from 100 to 125. The additional 25 rights copies, plus any that are not taken up by Stardust owners, will be randomly allocated to people who ordered within the first 24 hours of open pre-order. Any copies over and above 125 for this and future titles will be non-rights copies, meaning there will always be books available to everyone. It is possible, depending on a few things, that I may increase the limitation to 250 and thereby increase the number of rights copies from 125 to 150 before we put these books on sale.
  • Any available Lettered copies will be via lottery only.
  • Rights are not transferable.
  • There will be no rights for the Standard edition as there may not always be one. This edition will be dependent on the title and whether we can get reprint rights for this many books.

I am going for a mixture of rights and non-rights copies within the Numbered edition because I think this approach offers the fairest balance for existing Numbered/Leather holders, new and occasional customers, and those that feel upset that they missed out on ‘Stardust’. As fair as it can be anyway. By adding a significant amount of copies and giving people another shot at rights, I hope this goes some way towards making amends for that. What I want from this method most of all, is for people not to feel pressured into buying everything I publish just to maintain rights. That is not healthy at all and I have no desire to see people get themselves into debt over a book. There will always be copies available at every release and those that do not wish to continue with rights can simply relinquish them, while still having a fairly good chance at getting another book a bit further down the line if they wish. Anybody who wants to purchase a book with rights will only be able to do so directly from me and at issue price. Those copies will be allocated entirely at random. If you don’t wish to have rights, once you place your order you can let me know and I’ll allocate you a higher number. Outside of the rights copies, I will also try and match numbers for people to the best of my ability. 

I know this is not perfect and there will doubtless be some people who feel this does not work for them. There are flaws with every approach. Every angle you come at this from has it’s pros and cons. The arguments for and against rights are complicated. Nobody agrees what the best way forward is and it seems to cause a lot of heated discussion whenever it is brought up. As a publisher, you can imagine this makes things very tricky to navigate. Every time you think you have come up with the perfect solution, there is always something else that makes you think again.

Really it comes down to this – I do not want to tie up all copies with rights, at least not the Numbered edition. But at the same time, I do want to offer that opportunity of an early pre-order to those that want it. I said very early on, to people who asked me directly, that I would probably be having rights in some shape or form and I wish to see that through. What you see here is a kind of middle ground attempt to cater for as many people as possible, while still making it easy enough for me (a team of one, who does all the admin, accounting, email, social media… and the actual work of designing and binding etc) to implement and oversee.

As for people who may have already sold their copies of ‘Stardust’ with rights – I will honour any transfers of rights up to this point. There haven’t been many in all honesty and since I hadn’t made any announcements about how it would all work until now, I think it’s only fair. Please, if you have sold and transferred rights already and haven’t let me know, do so now. 

That’s all for now. Like I said, please have a read through the FAQ page to familiarise yourself with how this will all work. Hopefully any questions you might have after reading this will be answered there. You can either click the link above or find it under the ‘Discover’ menu at the top of the page.

I will be posting more updates on the project as the weeks go by. Keep an eye out for those. 

Thanks!

Rich

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