What Is an Exclusive

Glossary > Exclusive

💬 Definition of Exclusivity:

An exclusive is a situation where an author or agent makes an offer to a particular publishing house before sending the manuscript to anyone else. The offer is usually made based on successful past collaborations.

Related questions about exclusivity: 

What's the connection between exclusivity and publishing rights?

When an author chooses the exclusive situation in publishing, they're giving the publishing rights to one particular company or platform. Authors or their agents should always negotiate the exclusive period in case they'll want to switch to another publisher in the future. 

Since the book sales affect a publishing house or platform, they'll advertise the books for exposure. This means exclusivity can be beneficial for authors. But the same situation limits the author for a certain period to publish anywhere else.

Is there exclusivity in self-publishing?

Self-publishing agreements with online retailers like Amazon KDP, Apple Books, Google Play, IngramSpark, and aggregators like PublishDrive are non-exclusive by default. However, Amazon has KDP Select, which is a 90-day exclusive period. Authors who choose KDP Select cannot self-publish with another platform during the exclusivity period. This can help newbie authors who don't know where to start or how to advertise their books. However, choosing more platforms or an aggregator that distributes books worldwide is the safest option.

What are the risks of exclusivity?

There are potential downsides to exclusivity. If an author grants exclusivity to a single publisher or platform, they may miss out on sales from customers who prefer to purchase books from other retailers. Or they simply won't get the kind of exposure more platforms or an aggregator could give them. Moreover, exclusivity limits an author's options if a publisher or platform decides to change its strategy. Even if the author disagrees with the changes, they may have to stay as long as the contract asks them to.

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