The Hollywood Reporter
We can’t get enough of our vampires. Whether you’re into the blood-dripping fangs of Stake Land; the slutty, sultry ones from “True Blood” or the sparkly kind from Twilight, we all love our vamps. Now there’s new info on how Bram Stoker got the whole thing going.
A new version of Dracula will soon be released and this one will contain images and details from Stoker’s actual 1897 publishing deal. Apparently, aside from being able to spin a wicked vampire tale, Stoker was pretty savvy at the bargaining table as well. The new book reveals that Stoker landed a deal which granted him 20 percent royalties on Dracula. Anyone who’s in the publishing business will tell you that’s one helluva deal…about double what an author could get by today’s standards. Although he never practiced law, Stoker studied it, giving himself the skills to work out this honey of a deal.
In an article published in The Independent, Nick Robinson, chairman Constable & Robinson, publishers of the new edition of Dracula, said “Stoker wrote the contract himself, which, from a publisher’s point of view, is rather extraordinary. The terms – roughly 20 percent royalties – are, again from a publisher’s point of view, pretty tough. But he clearly knew how to frame a contract and was able to dictate terms.” Bazinga!
However Stoker had less luck trying to swing a deal stateside, struggling with copyright laws that required serialization of work before going into effect. In the same article in The Independent, Bram Stoker’s great-grand-nephew, Dacre Stoker, explained, “The book wasn’t published in America until 1899. However, Dracula was serialized in American newspapers for a couple of years because there were very strange copyright laws in the US that required authors to serialize their work prior to them publishing. He then signed a contract with the publishers Doubleday, but they still won’t reveal the contract to this day. It’s one of those mysteries: why did Bram lose the copyright to the book? The party line is he apparently didn’t fulfill all the requirements, but he certainly didn’t have all the rights he should have had.”
Obviously these odd dealings didn’t sit well with Stoker, but it seems he was even less a fan of agents. The Independent quotes an interview with Stoker given around the time of the initial publishing of Dracula where he said, “Some men nowadays are making 10,000 a year by their novels, and it seems hardly fair that they should pay 10 or 5 per cent of this great sum to a middle man. By a dozen letters or so in the course of the year they could settle all their literary business on their own account.” And Hollywood shuddered.
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