We talk about subsidiary rights fairly often, and most of the time what we focus on are foreign rights and movie/performance rights. But this question reminded me that there’s a lot more to sub rights than we often talk about with the author.
I have an agented, illustrated non-fiction book out to several big houses. My book could easily spawn a line of other merchandise–greeting cards, calendars, coffee mugs, etc. I see it as eventually being a “brand.” What control, if any, will the publisher have over my venturing into other merchandising with the book? How would/could my agent fit into this plan?
Any agent worth her salt will retain what are called merchandising rights, especially with nonfiction. These are the rights to make your book into calendars, greeting cards, and other merchandise that are not books. How much control the publisher has depends on how much you give them. As to how an agent can fit into this plan, I am right now actively submitting calendar rights for at least one book project.