What to do When Rights Revert

By Voirey Linger

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I’m examining choices and trying to determine the best course of action for having a book reverted. My first thought was to just slap a new cover on it and self-publish it as soon as possible, but I’m having a change of heart. Just a little. I’m considering a reedit and expansion, make the book bigger, flesh out some things I may have skimped on in the first go-round.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had rights revert. I had a story come back to me when an anthology dissolved last year. At that point I immediately turned around and sent it to my other editor at my other publisher. Because I was already a house author, they accepted the book. In many cases, publishers aren’t interested in picking up reverted rights, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if you already have a working relationship with the publisher. In my case, the house was happy to take the existing book with a few minor revisions. Looking back, reselling the rights to another publisher was probably not the best choice for me as an individual. It was an easy choice, one made at a stressful time for me.

Now that I’m in the process of getting another book back, I’m looking at seriously expanding my self-publishing efforts. I’ve been experimenting with platforms under a different name, and am honing my self-publishing skills. While I love working with a publisher, right now, I think it’s in my best interest to get some independent works up. There is a certain stability in being the one responsible for the content and the one in charge of the fate of the books.

Of course there are more options for reverted rights books. They can be made into free reads, sent to a boxed set or anthology collaboration, repackaged and published under a new pen name, or you can do nothing at all, just let them quietly slip from the market. I’ve considered these options, but I don’t think those are for me.

So, my sights are still set on self-publishing. I’m nervous despite my previous experiments. It’s a lot of work, and rewriting will require me to revisit a world I left behind long ago. But I’m also feeling very optimistic. Added to my current WIPs, the reverted books should full my schedule very nicely.

Have you ever considered post-reversion options? Any tips to share?

One thought on “What to do When Rights Revert

  1. I’ve experienced this. It’s a golden opportunity, for sure! I’m sitting on some of my titles, but I recently re-released a short story with edits and a new cover. I think it depends on the work itself and the branding of the author. For instance, the works that reverted to me are in another genre than the one I write in now. I may wait for the best timing in the market before I bring those titles back. Great post!

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