The Journal: IP Valuation

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: IP Valuation
* Rider Jones
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“Intellectual property is the oil of the 21 century.” Mark Getty

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” Thomas Jefferson

Topic: IP Valuation

I was going to talk in-depth about IP valuation this morning. To that end, I did a Google search for “IP Valuation,” downloaded a promising-looking PDF document, and clicked a button on the document labeled “Enable Editing” so I could move through the document.

And my monitor went blank. To recover, I had to do a “hard restart” on my computer, then wait until it started, then download Norton Power Eraser and run a full system scan. It quickly identified the culprit and quarantined it, after which I was able to safely delete it. So I’m just saying, be careful what you click on out there.

Then I decided to talk about IP Valuation anyway.

This topic arose in my brain-housing group because a few days ago I assigned a value to my IP. Even knowing that I most often undervalue my own work (always have) I based the value on what I personally consider the fair market value (i.e., the value of each piece of IP over the life of my copyright: the rest of my life plus 50 years).

In other words, how much money would I require if I were asked to sell all rights to each novel, each series, and each short story I’ve written? At best, it’s an objective call and one you’ll have to make on your own.

But when you do, you have to consider the possible value of your copyright over your lifetime plus 50 years. (That’s in the US. Outside the US, the length of copyright might be different.)

Consider, your short story or novella or novel or series will possibly

* become a bestseller
* be made into a movie or television show or series
* spawn a series of games or character dolls or stationery or greeting cards or F&%$#(&*G masks or ….

The sky truly is the limit, so take all of that and a lot more into account.

Then, determine how much money you would charge to forego all of those possibilities and sell them to someone else (in WriterThink, i.e., a traditional publisher). How much would it take for you not to feel bad if the person or company you sold your copyright to made millions on it?

In my own case, I assigned a particular, very low dollar value to each of my short stories. Then I multiplied that amount times the number of short stories in my portfolio.

I also assigned a particular monetary value to each novella and novel separately. And then—because I have so many different series and a series is an entity unto itself—I assigned a separate value to each series as a whole.

So for my novels and novllas, I have two valuations: one for my cumulative novels and novellas (my price for each times the number of novels and novellas I’ve written), and one for the price of each series plus all the one-off novels and novellas I’ve written.

I won’t talk specific numbers here (as I said, value is objective), but suffice it to say a series taken as a whole is worth more (to me) than the cumulative total of the individual novels within that series.

Fun with Basic Math

For an abstract example, if I valued each novel at X and if there are ten novels in a given series, the value of the individual novels would be 10X. But the value of the overall series, taken as a whole, would be worth well above that, maybe 10X + X or 10X + 5X or 10x(2). (Substitute the value of each of your novels for X.)

At the moment, I’ve written 69 novels and novellas (so 69X) and 217 short stories (so 217Y). But among the novels, I’ve also written 6 different series. The series are different lengths so I can’t assign a single abstract value for those. Each has its own value.

All of this would be much easier if we could get a glimpse at a traditional publisher’s spreadsheet and see what value that publisher would assign to our copyright if the publisher bought all rights and then added it to their spreadsheet to increase the value of their company. (That value, not publication, is the primary use of IP for traditional publishers today. If they can buy all rights to your novel for a $10,000.00 or even a $50,000.00 advance but it adds millions to their bottom line, what do they care?)

But that ain’t gonna happen, so we’re basically on our own. So again, to come up with your own IP Valuation, I recommend you value each novel and novella and short story and series based on how much you would require to watch all rights to that bit of IP go bye-bye.

Disclaimer for Detractors

Of course, as always, this is what I do and what I recommend. It is not the only way to value IP or necessarily the best way, but it’s the best and most honest way for me.

If someone offered my asking price tomorrow for one short story or one novella or novel or one series, I would sell in a hearbeat. And if they offered to buy my whole portfolio on condition that I stopped writing… well, I would sell, buy a boat and go fishing. And put a lot of effort into hiding my new pen name.

Rider Jones is still riding. His story is at least a novella now and probably will wrap short of being a short novel, which is fine. Finally had a pretty good day of writing on this one yesterday. I continue to learn that every story writes differently.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Books Don’t Spoil” at

See “Introducing Audiobook Narrator Eve Passeltiner” at

See “This Will Help You Grasp the Sizes of Things in the Universe” at

See “NASA’s bold bet on Starship for the Moon may change spaceflight forever” at

See “How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists” at

See “Jack and the Bean Counters: A Woke Children’s Story” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 1020 words

Writing of The Origins of Rider Jones (novella or novel)

Day 1…… 4293 words. Total words to date…… 4293
Day 2…… 2458 words. Total words to date…… 6751
Day 3…… 3722 words. Total words to date…… 10473
Day 4…… 2144 words. Total words to date…… 12617
Day 5…… 4134 words. Total words to date…… 16751

Total fiction words for April……… 72479
Total fiction words for the year………… 359556
Total nonfiction words for April… 16000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 83400
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 442956

Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 61
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.