Independent publishers face unique challenges in the international licensing market. Helping IBPA’s independent publisher members maximize the potential for translation rights sales for their titles is a goal shared by IBPA, DropCap, and our independent publisher members.
What (and Who) Is DropCap?
Terry Nathan, IBPA’s chief operations officer, has been representing IBPA publisher member books at the Frankfurt Book Fair for decades and knows members of the DropCap team from there. “I have known Allison Olson and her team at DropCap for many years and have always been impressed with their professionalism and knowledge of the international marketplace.” Nathan says. “I’m excited we are now working together to bring their expertise to our members.”
DropCap combines the elements of a traditional rights agency with a robust software platform that helps it identify and create more rights opportunities for authors and publishers. DropCap’s agents, Olson and Monica Meehan, are experienced rights professionals who interact personally with their many publishing partners. Helping them sell more rights in more languages is DropCap’s rights management software, which assists in the marketing, monetization, and management of publishers’ foreign rights.
IBPA members who would like to leverage exposure to DropCap’s more than 2,400 buyers (representing 120 countries and 180 languages) are encouraged to sign up for the IBPA DropCap Indie program.
What Does DropCap Indie Do?
- DropCap actively matches titles to prospective buyers.
- DropCap’s agents pitch those buyers. (Note that US sales numbers are used as part of DropCap Indie’s algorithm that determines how, when, and to whom a title is pitched. Titles are guaranteed being pitched once they reach a minimum pitch threshold of about 60 copies sold in a three-month period. Titles that have not reached the minimum pitch threshold may still be pitched and matched to buyers.)
- DropCap creates a customized sell sheet for each title in its program.
- DropCap handles all aspects of the licensing process for a 20% commission of the gross license amount (advance and royalties). Details: publisher/author earns 80% of advances and royalties (less international taxes and fees). DropCap collects and distributes advances/royalties within 30 days of receipt. Sales and royalty reporting is provided via spreadsheet or web service along with the advance/royalties payment.
- DropCap will also list each title on its TranslationRights.com platform for additional discoverability.
DropCap Indie Setup
DropCap Indie applies a one-time setup fee to all its first-time new clients. DropCap explains, “This fee encompasses the fact that DropCap is not just a traditional agency; we have developed proprietary software that helps us customize pitches for each buyer based on their licensing history and current needs. Since launching our platform, sales have doubled in 2019 and even doubled again in 2020. Sales for smaller publishers (those with under 50 titles) are up more than 450%.” Additionally, DropCap’s software tracks and collects all advances and royalties, displaying information for each title on the publisher’s dashboard.
As an IBPA member benefit, we have negotiated with DropCap for a one-time setup fee of
$299 for one to nine titles; $499 for 10 to 49 titles; and $1,000 for 50+ titles.
The Big-Picture Opportunity
One of the coolest things about the IBPA DropCap Indie program is that DropCap handles the entire licensing process from start to finish. Publishers sign a DropCap Representation Agreement and then things are off and running. DropCap exclusively represents all titles in all languages other than any pre-existing deals, and they generally only accept advances of $500 or more per title.
Current IBPA member and former IBPA board member Christopher Robbins, owner of Familius, calls DropCap “A fantastic partner in every way.” Robbins adds, “I started with Allison Olson eight years ago to help us license international rights. She then co-founded DropCap a couple of years ago. We’ve now done hundreds of thousands of dollars in rights. My recommendation is that you work with them, as they will make your books more discoverable, the number one challenge we all have.”
IBPA member Lily Coyle, owner of Beaver’s Pond Press, says “Allison and the whole DropCap team have really taken our publishing company to the next level. We have gotten so much bang for our book bucks!”
Former IBPA board chair Peter Goodman agrees, saying, “We’ve just started working with DropCap, and they’ve been terrific. Very forthcoming about all the details, and they clearly know the business and have loads of useful connections. Plus, their online dashboard is an amazing tool that puts our books out into the world and makes it easy for other agencies and publishers to find. So, we are very happy!”
IBPA is very pleased to add this new international/translation rights opportunity for our members. More details can be found on the IBPA website ibpa-online.org under store > for publishers > international rights.