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Keep your students reading all summer! The lists for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, include 10 recommended fiction titles and 10 recommended nonfiction titles. Printed double-sided, these one-page flyers are perfect to hand out to students, teachers, or parents. Great for PTA meetings, have on hand in the library, or to send home with students for the summer. FREE Pdf or infographic jpeg.
See the Summer Lists Now!
My bio officially reads like this: Author, blogger, and writing teacher Darcy Pattison (www.darcypattison.com) has been published in eight languages.
How do those foreign language books come about? It depends.
Your book contract included world rights. It all depends on your book contract. If you signed a contract that allowed world rights in all languages, then the publisher has the right to exercise those rights, or not. The easiest way for publishers to do this is to attend the Bologna (Italy) Children’s Book Fair, where publishers worldwide gather to make deals. You’ll find publishers who specialize in children’s books, or larger publishers with strong children’s imprints. It’s here that deals were made for my books in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Spanish, Taiwanese Chinese, German and Arabic for an Egyptian company. Here’s one report on the 2013 Children’s Book Fair. It will be held March 24-27 in 2014.
Generally, authors can’t do much to encourage their book’s translation rights sales; it’s up to the Rights people at the publisher, or to your agent.
Your agent kept world rights. Some agents reserve the foreign language rights and only negotiate contracts for “first North American English Language rights” or some variation of that. That means they can sell each language separately. Often agents will attend the Bologna Book Fair. But sometimes, they work with a foreign agent, a well-respected agency for a certain country. In this case, agents generally split royalties with the foreign agent, so your agent may ask for a larger percentage of these type sales.
Your book contract does not include world rights, but you want to publish in another country. These days, you do have options for publishing in other countries yourself. For indie publishers, or if you are traditionally published, but you want to self-publish in another language, you can use a variety of services. For example, Kindle sells to France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Japan and India. Of course, this means you must have the book translated yourself and that may be daunting because it takes someone with specialized skill to translate a literary work. It’s not just a matter of straight translation, but of making the text sound as good in the second language as it does in English.
The biggest problem with a Kindle version is marketing. Once the book comes out (in English or the native language), how will you market it? Do you know enough about other country’s economies to know how to advertise and sell there? If you merely make it available, with no marketing, sales will dribble in and the project may not be worth your time invested.
IBooks, through itunesconnect.apple.com has one of the widest distribution systems. Using Apple’s free iBooksAuthor program, you can create an iBook version of your story, and upload it to 51 countries. Here’s my book, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS on the IBookStore, which allows a download to your iPad. It is also available worldwide. Sounds cool to say that, doesn’t it? (Well–it’s only available in an English language translation, but hey, still sounds good.)
Just the logistics of translation and marketing in a foreign country scare off most authors. But–it is possible.
STATUS: Meetings every half hour and running on 6 hours of sleep a night on average. Yep, that's Bologna!
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? I PUT A SPELL ON YOU by Bryan Ferry
Three days at Bologna and here's what I can tell you.
On the plane over, people were talking about the next hot trend being about geeks in young adult fiction. Geeks transforming. Geeks not transforming but still winning the girl or the day. Geeks in love.
Do I think it's the next hot trend? I haven't got the faintest idea.
It's definitely clear that foreign editors are feeling the drain of paranormal romance in YA being hot for so long but even with that, they say it's still selling well in Germany, UK, and France. Editors don't seem to be buying a lot of it at the moment though.
Since I'm here with Marie Lu to meet with her very excited foreign publishers (the trilogy has been sold in to 22 territories and counting), we are, of course, asking if dystopian is hot abroad.
The verdict is undecided. HUNGER GAMES fever is definitely sweeping the world but whether that will translate into other dystopian novels also becoming hot has yet to be proven. Well, I've got my fingers crossed for June and Day…
Hands down, for middle grade DAIRY OF A WIMPY KID works amazingly in every country but Russia. Guess they like big burly guys instead of wimps?
Anita and I at entrance of the Fair.
Me with Sara's amazing client Stefan Bachmann and the brand spanking new cover for his wonderful middle grade gothic steam punk: The Peculiar
Marie Lu and her Taiwan Publisher Sharp Point! Marie was a rock star. She did the whole meeting in Chinese. (Marie is second person from right.)
STATUS: Yesterday Angie and I were reviewing one client’s statement and to sum it up. What a hot mess.
What’s playing on the iPod or the XM radio right now? SWAY by Dean Martin
Love of royalty statements.
Yep, it’s that time of year again. April and October are NLA’s biggest royalty periods which means that the month of May and November are consumed by hours reviewing those statements.
So, in an effort to empower authors about their statements (because I promise you that a lot of agents don’t spend nearly the time they should on reviewing them), here’s another tidbit to file away in your knowledge bank.
If your publisher holds World rights and is selling your titles abroad, it’s important to track where the projects are sold to and when they will be released.
Why? Because if you don’t know that info, how do you know when the monies are supposed to appear on your royalty statements? Also, do you have a copy of the licensing agreement and the latest foreign royalty statement from the territory in question?
Most agents insert a clause in the contract allowing the author to receive such info—usually upon request. Without it, it’s impossible to review a statement for accuracy. What, you gonna just take the Publisher’s word for it?
Considering the number of errors we see in EVERY royalty period, that’s a lot to take on faith.
And here’s another facet to this. If Publisher has World, did they sell UK rights to separate publisher or was it done by a sister house in England? If a sister house, then UK royalties are specified in the US contract and should show on the US statement.
You don’t want to know how many times this information as just been plain missing from the statement or just wrong.
Knowledge is power and as an author, you have a right to a copy of those licensing agreements so ask for them. I would say that in the last several years, NLA has recovered well over $100,000 in missing royalties—money clients would never have received if we hadn’t pestered Publishers about info missing from the statements. In fact just last week, a client got $8000 because we argued that the wrong royalty rate was being used to calculate certain sales listed on the statement.And per the contract, we were right and they paid up. But if we hadn’t pointed it out…
Well, that’s a lot of money to leave on the table.
STATUS: All last week I was knocked out of commission by a nasty head cold. Winter hasn't even begun. Like the overachiever I am, just getting it done early.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? MR. JONES by Counting Crows
This week begins the madness that is the Frankfurt Book Fair and guess where yours truly happens to be.
For the last three years, I've made a point of attending each of the main book fairs: London, Bologna, and now Frankfurt. I have a foreign rights person so it's not imperative that I go specifically so you might be wondering why I pursued this goal.
You can't best support someone who is representing your authors until you've seen for yourself what the fairs are all about. It's helps significantly to prepare the rights and press sheets so that foreign editors can best utilize them if applicable to their markets.
Also, if an editor has bought a lot of your clients, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting simply to connect on a personal level.
For this year's fair, I have two authors with me: Gail Carriger and Jamie Ford. Both have sold tremendously abroad and have been bestsellers in several other countries besides the US.
So what does one do at Frankfurt? Lots and lots of meetings in the agents' centre which is about the size of two football fields. And I'm not exaggerating here.
The Fair is so big, it can literally take 30 minutes to walk from an appointment at one hall to another.
To put this in perspective, it only takes me 15 minutes to walk from my hotel to the Fair.
Tonight I attended two parties--one at the German publisher S. Fischer Verlag and the other held by Hachette at the Hessischer Hof.
The Hachette party was so packed, I literally walked in and had to stifle the urge to turn around and walk back out. Elbow to elbow. I thought the chances of my finding anyone for whom I might be looking would be slim but oddly enough, it worked.
STATUS: Went to Frankfurt with a cold. Had the cold during all of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Brought the cold home with me. Truly, I like to hang on to things.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? SHE'S NO LADY by Lyle Lovett
I figured blog readers would get a kick out of this. Agents Agents! As far as the eye can see… Kind of like Water Water everywhere and not a drop to drink.
Jamie Ford, who was there at the Fair meeting with his many foreign publishers, said it looked like a sweat shop and wondered where the sewing machines were. Rather apt.
It's definitely not romantic in any way shape or form. Agents sit down with scouts, territory co-agents, and editors to highlight frontlist titles as well as nice selling backlist titles that are available for translation sales. It's not unusual for a rights person to have 12 to 18 appointments in a day, back-to-back, and in thirty minute intervals. Lunch is often optional.
And Frankfurt is not London, Paris, or Rome (not to offend any German blog readers!) but the downtown area is probably the least charming European city I've been to. I imagine outside of the city centre there are lots of nice spots but considering what was available within walking distance of the hotel, it was slim pickings.
To offset the rather bland Frankfurt, a day trip to Heidelberg was in order! From Left: Jamie Ford, Me, Luceinne Diver (also a client of mine) and Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? HARD TIMES by David Newman
Not to put too fine a point on it. The book selling market in the UK is between a rock and a hard place. Booksellers in trouble. Publishers selling half the books sold at high discount levels, etc. Consequently, UK publishers aren't buying that much. As of late, it's one of the hardest territories to sell into unless a title sold for a lot of moolah in the US.
We are struggling to land a licenses there.
In fact, it's probably why a lot of UK booksellers are buying US stock wholesale and offering it for sale there (and this would maybe show on a royalty statement as an export sale). It would be hard to track down.
So when we sell North American rights only and then request that the US publisher pull down their edition from the UK market, we aren't looking to screw UK readers. It's simply that the author might not get legitimately paid for those copies. If it's not in the grant of rights and not showing up on any royalty statement...
But authors who haven't sold into the UK are getting creative. In fact, some authors are taking matters into their own hands and are making their titles available electronically through the different ebook venues in the UK.
So even though the physical version might be a hard to find, titles can still reach UK readers.
And I’m here to highlight that Nelson Literary Agency really stepped up to the plate this year and is offering a WHOLE page of items to be auctioned off.
Just to whet your appetite, I’m giving away breakfast with me at RWA and a writing critique with a 24-hour turnaround time. I will spend several hours on this critique—editing it just like I would a client’s manuscript.
Sara is offering a query-free submission.
NYT Bestselling author Jamie Ford is answering 10 Questions.
Sherry Thomas, query writer extraordinaire, is offering to help you whip your query into shape.
Mari Mancusi and Courtney Milan are offering opening chapters critiques.
And that’s just a brief glimpse of what is available. You might want to check it out.
But back to my London list as promised. I’m skimming through my notes and typing up what I see.
Germany Looking for upmarket commercial fiction—not too literary Crime fiction Exotic and/or generational saga Boy meets Girl with a literary voice Commercial historical fiction
Finland Children’s Literary fic as the market is strong Fantasy Science fiction is working
France Fantasy Chick lit Historical romance Historical fiction
UK Romantic comedy with lit voice Jackie Collins type novel Literary vampires—like the Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter or literary zombies Books good for reading groups Commercial women’s fiction Mystery that is slightly cozy but has a dark edge Urban fantasy Paranormal romance Horror (must be sophisticated) Big historical fiction Literary thriller
STATUS: I spent four hours on the phone doing a variety of phone conferences. Maybe I should rethink a headset.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? IF YOU’RE GONE by Matchbox Twenty
In this year alone, my agency has done over 20 foreign rights deals. That’s a lot for an agency of our size. After all, we only have about 30 clients.
And here’s an important facet I’m noticing. Foreign publishers are now asking for electronic rights to be included in the translation deal. No surprise given all the recent developments in the electronic field but until this year, almost no foreign publisher asked for eBook rights for a work in translation.
That’s all changing and fairly rapidly. In fact, some foreign publishers are preemptively sending addendums to add the e-rights to their agreements. Which cracks me up enormously. I don’t mind accepting but only after a significant revision of the “addendum” and a negotiation of the rate.
But here’s what you need to make note of. The royalty rates being offered by foreign publishers for eBooks is all over the place. On the higher end, it’s 25% of net receipts. The emerging standard that I don’t agree with and fight it every time seems to be 20% of net receipts. I’ve also seen as low as 10% of net offered (heck no that ain’t happening) and I’ve also seen 15% of net which is way low as well.
So you published authors need to review those foreign rights deal memos you receive (if World wasn’t granted to the Publisher because than the Publisher subrights department negotiates the foreign deals and you probably won’t see the deal memo until after the fact).
Check if eRights are included and if you’re not sure, ask your agent. And if they are included and the rate seems low, you might also want to have that convo with your agent.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? I WILL FIND YOU by Enya
When writers are starting in this biz, they probably don’t think too much beyond that first US sale, but selling translation rights can be as equally important (which is one of the reasons I think that agents will always prove beneficial even in an all-digital publishing world).
I have an author who is selling tremendously abroad. So much in fact that the author’s foreign publisher was contracting for future books even though the US publisher had not committed to those same books.
We ended up being able to use the foreign deal as leverage to get the US publisher to reconsider this author’s series and buy the next book for US publication. Not only did the US publisher buy in, they decided to repackage the books to give them new life in the home market.
Borders loved the new look and decided to take a floor display. Needless to say, this is all helping to build new momentum for a series of books that could have easily been written off.
And all of this wouldn’t have happened except the author’s books were selling so well abroad. The foreign push reinvigorated the US stuff.
STATUS: Sorry about no blog entry on Friday. The whole day got away from me.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? A KIND OF MAGIC by Queen
No doubt, I’ve been on a ranting streak for awhile. For a nice change, how about a blog entry on a midlist series getting a second life. Let’s talk about something positive today rather than more of my righteous indignation. Grin.
Here is Mari Mancusi. Author of the YA BLOOD COVEN vampire series—originally started years ago, before the craze, but now have new covers and a new floor display in Borders.
Never Give Up…Never Surrender!
I know I can’t be the only author who mutters the Galaxy Quest creed every time the publishing industry throws me a curve ball. This particular time was three years ago, when I got an email from a fellow author, published by the same publishing house that did my Blood Coven Vampires series.
“They’re not picking up anyone’s options!” she lamented.
Shocked, I frantically called Kristin and she started to do some digging. Turns out, the author was right. My publisher was basically fading out their YA line and concentrating more on their core business of adult romance.
My series was basically DOA before the third book had even come out.
I was devastated. Though I’d written other books, none meant as much to me as my little vampire series. And I hated disappointing all my loyal readers who, after Book #3 - Girls that Growl - was released, kept begging for more. But what could I do? Kristin went back to the publishing company to ask again and again, but they kept saying no.
Of course, I could have given up then and there. After all, I’d just gotten a new children’s publisher and was under contract for two hardcover books at a much higher royalty rate. I could have easily moved on and said goodbye to my blood coven vampires. To my twin heroines, Sunshine and Rayne.
But the series meant too much to me for that. And it meant too much to my readers who kept begging to know what happens next. So I kept pushing. I started a “Save the Blood Coven” campaign in which I got readers to help spread the word and get bookstores and libraries to stock it. I did videos, I enlisted a street team, I encouraged my readers not to let the big corporations decide what they got to read.
And so the sales continued, slow but steady, over the next two years. And every day I’d have new teens write to me and say they’d just recently discovered the series. But though the publisher kept reprinting the first three books, they also kept refusing to buy book #4.
Then, out of the blue, something strange happened. My editor from Germany wrote me an email, asking about book #4. She said she didn’t care if the US published it or not. Would I consider writing it just for them?
I decided to do it. Namely because it allowed me to continue writing my beloved series. And Kristin and I schemed for alternative ways to get it to a US audience. Maybe a small publisher would see the Bookscan numbers and see it as an opportunity. Maybe we could sell it POD since I already had a fan base. Or I could give it away as an e-book. Somehow – someway – I was determined to get that story to my readers, no matter what!
But before pursuing those more drastic options, Kristin decided to go back one last time to my US publisher, to see if they’d changed their minds. After all, the Twilight movie had just swept into theaters and vampires were hotter than ever.
And low and behold, they said yes. Not only yes to a fourth book, but also that they would reprint the first three books as well, with shiny new covers for a whole new generation of (vampire hungry) fans!
I think I cried when Kristin told me the good news. She, in return, said that
What’s playing on the iPod right now? KIM THE WAITRESS by Material Issue
Well, I do foresee a few problems with blogging this week but I will try my best. I will be spending the majority of my time in the Agents Centre and it does not have wifi. Yes, you read that correctly. Nor can I plug my computer in for the internet. It just doesn’t have it.
And the hotel’s definition of “high speed” internet greatly differs from mine. Working on my network is physically painful it’s so slow. I’ve also looked around for an internet café and geographically they are not handy. So we’ll muddle long as best as possible. In good news, the vino rosso is lovely and the formaggio even more so.
So this morning I’ll be heading over to the Fairgrounds around 11 a.m. to visit the Agents Centre and have my table assigned. I spent 2 weeks trying to figure out when they would send me my table number. At London, you get your assignment when you registered. Finally an agent friend took pity on me and mentioned that the table doesn’t get assigned until the fair begins. Aha. Seems a little inconvenient for the people trying to meet with me but when in Bologna….
Today is the SCBWI Bologna Symposium. I’m participating in a first pages agent panel. This is the workshop where the conference volunteer reads the first page of a variety of submissions and the agents then comment on it.
Hey, writers wanting to be gluttons for punishment is international! Grin. Seriously though, just remember that no matter how an agent responds to your pages today, this is not the make or break moment of your career. The greatest thing about writing is that you can grow and mature in your ability.
Since the fair hasn’t actually begun, I have very little to report but I do have two fun pics to share:
From a bookstore on Via dell’Indipendenza, the Italian bestseller, which is currently sitting at #7 on the list, IL GUSTO PROIBITO DELLO ZENZERO:
The Forbidden Taste of Ginger. Look familiar? Yes, it’s the Italian version of Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet.
And four ladies take a Venetian Gondola by storm. I must say Antonio looks distinctly unimpressed.
From left, author Sarah Rees Brennan, her friend Natasha, and me. Ally Carter snapped the pic. I have other great shots but guess who forgot to bring the cord for her camera so I could download the pictures off of it….
STATUS: Today I worked on finishing a contract (pre-new boilerplates) which did conclude. I really tackled emails in my inbox as well. Now I just have to tackle the slew of royalty statements we get in April.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? GREETINGS TO THE NEW BRUNETTE by Billy Brag
Today is a little potpourri of things.
1. Penguin Australia issued a more formal apology for Cookbook misprint. Sounds like a PR person got a hold of the situation. Grin.
2. Foreign rights co-agent did not make it to London (as you probably have already guessed). On the upside, perhaps more folks will come to BEA at the end of May. As you can imagine, reports from the LBF floor have been quiet. Great for the folks who did make it there though. Will the lack of a robust LBF deter foreign sales? Well, nothing beats conveying enthusiasm for a title in person so that’s the downside for sure. On the whole, I don’t think so. It will be hard to have the “big book of the fair” but I imagine most sales will get done via email and phone.
I don’t envy their journey home…
3. Business has resumed in Poland. We’ve been careful about waiting but today we got emails from folks in that territory so we felt comfortable resuming communication, negotiations, etc.
4. In watching Deal Lunch for the last couple of months, I’m starting to see quite a few more sales listed than I have in the past months. This is a good sign as I take it to mean that editors are starting to get back to buying.
Some days, the forces line up. I whip the lightest froth, mix the proper sugar, & the espresso pours rich and dark. Today was that day. Yes, dear readers--the perfect cappuccino. I ask you, does it get any better than this?
Oh, wait--it does! My agent sold foreign rights to The Summer of Moonlight Secrets! My book will be printed in Turkey! I can't wait to see what the text looks like. HOORAY!
I sold a novel direct to a small/medium press for an advance; I had no agent. It releases soon.
I would like to sell some foreign rights translation for this book; those rights are owned by my publisher but I get a percentage.
Do agents ever represent foreign or sub-rights only for a book if the traditional rights have already been sold? I guess the query would say something to the effect of, "I'm seeking an agent to represent foreign rights only for my recent release..."
Or is that kind of thing too small-potatoes? Lemme guess: depends on the sales of the recent release?
I can't help but feel that if they're not coming to you, it's just not that big. If the writer has to seek representation, then they don't really need it. Because if the book sells a million copies, then the foreign rights people will come running no matter what you do. So, is it a waste to seek representation for that?
First let me clarify that those rights are not “owned” by the publisher. You have licensed them to the publisher to sell on your behalf, and if that’s the case there’s nothing for you to do in terms of selling or licensing those rights. If part of your deal was that the publisher handles those rights, that’s their job to do.
Agents will possibly represent foreign or subrights in a case where the author holds on to them, but typically that’s because the agent also wants to represent the author for other works and not simply the foreign rights for this work.
At this point you have nothing to seek representation for since you don’t hold the rights. If you did, I guess I would worry less about finding an agent for those rights and more about finding an agent for your next book. Once you’ve found an agent you can definitely discuss foreign rights possibilities.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte. New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2007. ISBN 9780399153839
Abundance is a terrible thing to waste, it seemed to me, as my eyes caught the name Arturo Pérez-Reverte on a book's spine. Remembering the many times people--such as La Bloga's Friday columnist, Manuel Ramos--recommended reading this author's other books, "waste not, want not," I told myself, and took home The Sun Over Breda. In a lucky irony, checking this author off my "to be read" list increases the list by two more titles, now that I discover The Sun Over Breda is the third in a series of historical novels featuring the same character, Captain Diego Alatriste y Tenorio.
Alatriste's third story runs only 273 pages that read very quickly in a lively prose that must be a tribute to putative translator Jean Schalekamp's skill. I say "putative" in that the book is dedicated "For Jean Schalekamp, damned hertic, translator, and friend." The translator of this novel gets no other acknowledgment that I could find. It's an odd omission. Unless Pérez-Reverte wrote this one in English, it's disappointing not seeing the translator’s art acknowledged. When one reads a work in translation, after all, the translator is as much the "real" author as the person named in big letters on the cover. I wonder if the translators of the Spaniard's work into 28 other languages labor in similar anonymity?
Give Pérez-Reverte credit for a great summer read with The Sun Over Breda. The narrator, a man named Íñigo Balboa, is recounting hair-raising war stories dating back to when Balboa was still a child yet experiencing all manner of seventeenth century infantry warfare during the Spanish campaign in Flanders: clashing armies shooting one another with harquebus balls, inevitable defeat by repeated cavalry charges, trench warfare, dagger fighting by feel alone in the depths of a Dutch tunnel. This is exciting action that Pérez-Reverte brings into focus in quick succession, hardly giving the reader pause to catch a breath.
Through calmly bloodthirsty heroics, the narrator’s voice remains a bit of a mystery. Is he nostalgically ticking off a few scars to an old friend? Or has Balboa’s tumultuous career brought him to face a board of inquisitors, telling a story that will save his life? There is a suggestion of the latter.
Íñigo Balboa is fourteen as the novel opens. The boy is not a soldier, he's a spear-carrier. In 1624, an infantryman like Alatriste carries into battle his harquebus and a small supply of munitions, maybe six rounds. His mochilero follows literally in the fighters' footprints, weighted down by all the gunpowder, lead shot, fuse cord, water, and food needed in battle. And he’d best be handy with a blade in heat of battle.
For all his derring-do, Alatriste is less interesting than Balboa. During a foraging run—their war was find your own food or starve—mochilero Balboa comes across a Spaniard and a Dutch clergyman frantically saving books from a flaming library. Íñigo helps, expressing understanding of the treasure he’d preserved, choosing books over food. The boy can read and write, reads Cervantes when he can, and is the informant who helps Diego Velásquez get the details just right in Velásquez’ painting of the victory at Breda.
These facts, however, remain lost in what appear deliberate efforts to cleanse the historical record of Balboa and Alatriste. Pérez-Reverte offers a small selection of literary evidence to establish with some certitude the facts of the conspiracy. Most telling evidence, the book’s Editor says in an afterword, is the painted over face of Captain Alatriste in the famous painting. The spot remains for the world to see behind the horse, though art critics disagree, and Alatriste may have been painted over elsewhere in the background.
A reader is left to wonder what Íñigo Balboa and Captain Alatriste must have done. They seem like good guys, too. To have given so much for Spain, yet to have their existence so permanently emended? This is why we have novels.
February ends, gente, August comes. And here we are, Tuesday, 31 July, 2007, a day like any other day, except, you are here. Thanks for reading. Until next week, early August, te wacho.mvs
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STATUS: Contracts and more contracts. I have four total that I’m working on. A fifth one just came in and I just started negotiating a new deal for a current client. Busy.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? DON’T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE by Natalie Cole
Last year the agency did 29 foreign rights deals on behalf of our clients and I have to say that the sales remain unabated into 2008. We are doing several a week for various clients. All great news.
But I had an interesting thing happen last week. I turned down a foreign offer for one of my clients (and obviously with the client’s permission) because I didn’t think the offer was on par with where it should be in comparison to other foreign offers and the client’s current sales etc.
This is a first for me. Because so many of my clients are (or were) debut authors (as my agency is only five years old), most often we are thrilled to get foreign interest at all. And yes, we always negotiate up the foreign advances etc. but you only have so much leverage when the client hasn’t got a sales track record.
But obviously the agency has reached a new level—especially for established clients with success. Yet another threshold we are crossing as we finish up year five and head into year six of our existence.
STATUS: What craziness. Sara just got her wallet stolen and since of course she’s got the company credit card, we had to do some quick phone calling. Lucky for us, the thief was not able to act quickly enough to use the card.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? IF NOT NOW by Tracy Chapman
Okay, this is terribly embarrassing story. Yesterday, we sold one of our client books to be translated into Slovene.
Yeah, I had to look up Slovenia on google maps.
I had guessed former Yugoslavia but the fact that I couldn’t say for sure, well, that shows a bit of shortcoming on my part. Bad agent! If I’m going to sell a translation right, I really ought to know to which country and where it is on the globe…
But hey, maybe we’ll be big in Slovenia! May this be the first of many.
STATUS: I need a good neck stretch or back massage. But TGIF!
What’s playing on the iPod right now? WHAT’D I SAY by Ray Charles
I spent the day working on getting my foreign rights co-agent ready for Frankfurt (which is just a few weeks away).
So what have we been doing? Well, first we establish the list of the clients/titles that will be shopped there. Basically we just make sure that any project we hold World rights for is on the list. We also make a list of projects that the publisher holds World for. We’ll certainly field interest for those clients so we make sure we have the Publishing House’s contact person so we can share with interested parties at Frankfurt.
But the rest of getting ready is making sure that our co-agent has all current info in hand.
On the checklist:
1. Final cover and final flap or back cover copy of any featured title.
2. Final manuscript—in page proof PDF if we have it yet but most often it’s the Word document—final sans copy edits.
3. All reviews, praise, and latest news for any client title. This is the most time consuming. Sara has been putting that together all week but there were literally events happening as of this week—like a film deal I just concluded for one of my YA authors.
I needed to make sure that info had been disseminated.
4. Confirmed release dates for all upcoming titles.
5. Made a list of foreign rights already sold for each title.
6. Made sure the marketing plans for all titles had been forwarded on as well.
There’s probably something more that I’m forgetting but that pretty much sums it up.
STATUS: You know you are having a busy day when your stomach starts telling you that you need to eat lunch. You swear you’ll get to it after just one more thing and the next time you look up, it’s 3 in the afternoon.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? BEVERLY HILLS by Weezer
I don’t often cross reference to another blog post of mine but this story I shared on Romancing the Blog last Friday is too good not to repeat here.
The post obviously hits the target reading audience for that Blog but it’s a good lesson to put here as well. If an award is prestigious or important enough, it’s worth the time and money to enter. You might just win or it might open another door you hadn’t even thought of. Just ask my author Kelly Parra.
Have you been thinking about entering your novel into the RITA awards? Have you been waffling because you’re crunched for time? Let me remind you that the deadline is fast approaching (Dec. 1!) and regardless of how little spare time you have, this is a contest you don’t want to miss.
Why? Because I can tell you first-hand the power of a RITA nomination. It can land you in Hollywood.
I just closed a major motion picture option deal for my author Kelly Parra because of the double RITA-nomination for her young adult novel GRAFFITI GIRL. Yep, you heard that right. My author didn’t even win this year’s 2008 RITA but she’s winning in a whole different way (although she was very sad not to take home that beautiful statue).
This past July, several movie producers decided to check out Romance Writers Of America’s National Conference. Obviously, they gave special attention to any work nominated for the prestigious RITA award. Several weeks later, this producer got in touch with us. One call to my film co-agent and a week later, we had spanking new film option. This in turn is generating new excitement by foreign publishers in Frankfurt (as I write this).
All a year-plus after initial publication of the novel. And to top off the good news, Kelly’s new novel INVISIBLE TOUCH is releasing this month and this film interest is igniting excitement for her second novel. In fact, you should check out her cyber launch on The Secret Fates Blog.
So let me ask this question again. Have you been thinking about entering your novel into the RITAs?
What’s playing on the iPod right now? 1812 OVERTURE by Tchaikovsky [Chicago Symphony Orchestra]
I’d say, on average, our agency does at least one foreign rights deal a week. Hey, we only have about 30 authors total so that’s pretty darn good.
And selling foreign translation rights is just fun. I mean, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see their work published in Slovene? (Exactly, I figured it was in the general area of former Yugoslavian Republic but I did have to look it up). Or in Indonesia (which has an interesting alphabet and great covers). Oops, was thinking Thai! Thanks for the catch in the comments section.
But as good and fun as the foreign deals are the one drawback is the rather untimely payments. I think the word I’m looking for here is glacial—as in the pace of the payments.
If I close a foreign deal today, I can expect signed contracts and on signing payment to come at least 6 months from now. Eight is not unusual. Twelve is ridiculous.
And that’s what I’m currently facing. Sure enough, I have a foreign publisher who has not paid up and the contracts were signed in March 2008. This is too much. Time to get tough.
I’m interviewing big burly guys with Slavic accents and unpronounceable names. Must be fluent in Russian…
STATUS: Just had some wonderful Indian food before heading to bed. 8 o’clock is a typical dinner hour around here.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? NESSUN DORMA by Paul Potts
I heard there was quite a bit of chaos this morning as the fair opened but since I had a breakfast meeting off site, I missed the hoopla. By the time I hit the Fair floor around 10 a.m., everything had been sorted out.
I have to say that I did expect the mood to be rather somber but in the meetings I had, that was not the case. Editors from Germany, Finland, Japan and Brazil, all expressed optimism, were interested in many titles (although admitted that escapism was good) and had mentioned that book sales in their countries had remained steady. Some titles, such as James Hunter's THE SERVANT, had really broken out. Something like 2 million copies in Brazil. That's an eye popping number.
A Japanese editor mentioned that publishers there were aggressively pursuing the mobile phone reader market, which didn't suprise me at all. Where digital is concerned, that country has a lot of early adapters.
I also had one UK editor that popped by my table simply because she was a blog reader and wanted to say hello. That was quite fun.
Here are some pics to tide you over until I can skim through my handy dandy notebad and pick out some tidbits on what is working abroad.
Here is the entrance to the LBF from the Warwick Road Entrance.
The escalator up to the International Rights Center floor.
On the floor of the International Rights Center. Agents, Rights representatives, and publishers hard at work.
View of the fair from above.
Sarah Rees Brennan in the S&S UK booth pointing to her soon-to-be released title THE DEMON'S LEXICON. She'll be signing in the booth on Tuesday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. (13:30)