This is great news for the self-publishing industry, as foreign rights might have been an area self-published authors steered clear of – and that could have meant missing out on huge audiences, as well as increasing sales at home.
The article by writer Elliot Katz highlights what happened to him when he published a self-help book aimed at North American men (Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man) and he started receiving emails from publishers in Mexico and Poland who were interested in the book.
He has sold the foreign rights to publishers in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The Huffington Post article details how he did it:
- Firstly, he prepared an email about the book, including a summary, reviews, endorsements, and links to the book’s website and media coverage.
- He researched foreign markets – in many countries there are foreign rights agents who specialise in selling books from other countries to publishers in their own country. He found the agents through Googling “foreign rights agents” and the list included publishers and literary agents’ web pages with contact details of those agents.
- He sent those agents an email and when he received a positive response, he sent the book with copies of reviews and other media coverage.
- The offers he received (a foreign rights contract) granted the publisher only the right to publish the book in that country’s language. The author retained all the other rights. What he learned was to negotiate an advance, asking for royalties for the first printing and to calculate this, he included the number of copies in the first printing, the planned retail rate and the royalty rate.
- As he sold the foreign rights, he kept promoting in in the book’s publicity – just as the big publishers do.