Business Affairs for Literary Agents
EXECUTION DONE RIGHT
To say that the members of Trident's Business Affairs Department are highly motivated would be an understatement. Sara Pearl, the director of the department, says it best: "Our goal is to make sure that our clients obtain the business terms that the literary agents had bargained for and that the other terms of the publishing contracts are consistent with Trident's position as the leading literary agency in the business." This objective is accomplished in several ways.
Trident Media Group has negotiated with all of the major book publishers' standard "Class A" terms that are applicable and unique to all our authors after the specific business terms have been negotiated for an author. This enables Trident's literary agents to focus solely on the business terms that have been negotiated for an author while ensuring that every author gets the benefit of the best contractual provisions in the business. Sara adds, "We endeavor to have a collaborative, not adversarial, relationship with all publishers but we do not give up points that we believe belong to our authors."
The department also handles the myriad complexities of reviewing contracts with foreign business publishers around the world. In addition, since Trident takes a creative, entrepreneurial approach to the business, there are always agreements to be prepared that do not fit within the standard terms, such as license arrangements and rights acquisition contracts.
Trident's Business Affairs team has a comprehensive "360 degree" understanding of the publishing business, its nuances, twists, and turns, and now the evolving e-book business. Sara has worked as in-house counsel at major book publishers and a nationally distributed magazine. Contracts associates Anna Scheithauer and Stuart Waterman have years of experience working on the publishing side of the business.
Robert Gottlieb, chairman of Trident Media Group, and Dan Strone, CEO, say, "Trident has made a significant investment in our Business Affairs Department. To do otherwise would be to shortchange our clients. When we take on new clients, we unfortunately have to tell the authors that their existing publishing contracts are restrictive and do not cover many important business terms."
Trident's agents have developed a close working relationship with the Business Affairs Department. And what gives the team great satisfaction? "When we can tell an agent, 'Don't worry, we have that covered.'"