Rights is one of the most interesting and exciting areas of publishing to work in, but for newcomers it can be a daunting area. There is a lot to learn about how rights are acquired, managed, sold, transferred, protected and otherwise handled. The range of rights activity that publishers conduct, from translations to permissions to co-publications to audio to collective licensing and much more, is huge.
It can take a while to appreciate the structures and processes of rights, but it is partly this complexity and depth that makes it such an appealing profession. There is the chance to work on an enormous variety of books and other content, to meet many interesting people across publishing, and to explore other cultures.
Rights is at the heart of a publisher’s operations, and an important contributor to its financial success. Prospective workers sometimes assume that it has cultural or educational rather than commercial imperatives, but rights is very much a commercially driven role, with implications for a company’s profitability. For that reason, strong sales skills and numeracy are at least as important as an interest in books. It is also a clearly defined profession in its own right, rather than a stepping-stone to editorial, marketing or other publishing work.
What skills does it take to start a career working in publishing rights?
How do you get a job in rights? Read our five tips for starting your rights career.
A list of common (and not-so-common) job titles and skills for working in publishing rights roles.