Great Opportunity for Authors: Foreign Right Sales

15 Mar


Part 1:   A potentially lucrative market that self-publishers often overlook are Foreign Rights Sales. Foreign Rights Sales and royalties are one of the best deals a writer can get.  Sometimes a foreign rights deal is more lucrative than what your books could earn in your home country.  Even smaller deals can make a big difference in your finances and profile.  And you don’t have to write a single new sentence.

The right to translate and sell a book in another country falls under the umbrella of sub-rights, which include film, merchandising, audio and electronic version, enhanced e-book and multimedia.

For most self-published authors, determining what kind of books sell best in which countries, which publishers are most reputable and which contractual terms are reasonable is pretty difficult. Get the help of an intellectual property attorney who specializes in publishing matters and who drafts one that suits your needs.

A foreign rights agent who has detailed and specialized knowledge is another option. They are attending major international book fairs, especially the Frankfurt, Germany Book Fair, and are in constant contact with international agents and editors to discuss deals and work out contracts.

Royalties can greatly vary from country to country, which makes it important to know what kinds of books will sell in each area. A business or science book has tremendous potential in Asia. Literary fiction does well in France. Italy is good for women’s fiction. Brazil loves dogs and inspirational books, and they have been buying early and aren’t shy about six-figure advances for the right book.

Even if you self-published your e-book you can offer the manuscript to a literary agency for consideration of international rights. One prominent literary agency, Folio Literary Management  has an active foreign rights department that does hundreds of deals for their clients every year.

Foreign rights sales can be complicated by the fluctuating currency exchange. But for most authors, the advantages of foreign sales far outweigh any drawbacks. And for authors exhausted by the seemingly endless presence at social media sites, book signings, interviews, blog tours and other non-writing activities that have become an essential part of book promotion, foreign rights sales are the more attractive as their foreign editions are promoted by the publisher who bought these rights.

Being successfully self-published opens the door to foreign sales and also provides a better chance of being signed by a major publisher since you already have an established audience – which is so important in publishing today.

Another option is to translate (if you are bi-lingual), or let your book translate by a professional (give it to an editor afterward in order to have it polished) and sell it directly through Amazon in these countries – generating totally new markets for your book. As of this writing, outside of the USA, Amazon books and Kindle Readers / Tablets are available in Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, Austria as well as in Japan, Australia and China.

Find and pitch your book to a foreign rights person.
Contact agents or publishers for foreign rights / translations in your home country or attend the world-biggest and most important annual Frankfurt (Germany) Book Fair and establish connections to publishers / agents from all over the world.

To find names, addresses and other information about publishers worldwide refer to

The listings are sorted by country, language, subject etc. and you can contact these publishers instantly and without incurring high cost or set up an appointment with them at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Foreign publishers have the opportunity to discover new authors and potentially pick up the rights to their works for much less money than they might when working with a traditional publisher or agent.

Benefits of an agent
Publishers rely on them to sort through all the contract work and know that books sent to them by good agents are worth their time considering. But most importantly, agents know what a book is worth and will negotiate the best deal for you. There are instances of publishers working directly with authors, but it’s a long shot. Publishers know authors are inexperienced in negotiating and desperate, so it’s highly likely the authors didn’t get the best deal possible.

Agents work on a commission basis, usually 15% of advances and subsequent royalties. The author pays nothing up front; the agents only get paid if they produce.

Most foreign agents work with a co-agent in the author’s country, who feed them books to market, which already have a proven sales track record in the author’s country. In these cases, the two agents usually split a 20% commission.

Don’t miss Part 2 within the next days



Hyper Smash


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