Making Foreign Rights Sales
Representing my small independent publishing company, Summit Crossroads Press and its fiction imprint, Amanita Books, I am a long-time member of the Independent Book Publishers Association. This association has made a
tremendous contribution toward gaining acceptance, opening markets, and improving the quality of books published by self-published authors and small publishers. It has offered invaluable advice and assistance to us newbies as we learned to navigate the complex and competitive field of publishing.
One important area in which IBPA helped is in its exhibit at the Frankfurt Foreign Rights Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. When we were new in publishing, I looked into foreign rights sales and wrote to foreign publishers about our book. Nothing resulted from that. Through participaitng in the IBPA exhibit at Frankfurt, our company landed eight foreign rights contracts with publishers in Foreign countries. On our part, this involved paying IBPA for exhibiting our book, sending or emailing the prospecdtive foreign publisher a copy of the book, negotiating an agreement, and sitting back for the money to roll in. IBPA also provides information on the pitfalls, the royalties, the contract or agreement, and other aspects of working with a foreign country.
This year, because of covid, the Frankfurt Show will be virtual, and IBPA offered webinars discussing various aspects of foreign rights sales.
Here are a few pointers from the IBPA webinar.
To find foreign publishers to approach, look at your competition. Are they being published in other countries? Where? By whom? You can also ask other U.S. publishers, i.e. your competitors, what their experience was like with the foreign publishers. You can ask the foreign publisher for references or a list of publishers they used.
Look at the offerings of foreign publishers. Contact the ones publishing books like yours. Select or define a territory
Offers can come from publishers, agents, coagents, rights managers, scouts, book fairs. The book fair is only the beginning.
As for royalties, larger market countries (France, Germany) usually offer advances with royalty. Advances usually start at $500, usually in local currency or Euros. Royalties vary from 10 percent of local retail price.
Smaller markets (examples: India, Central America) with limited print runs may only submit a flat fee. One suggestion is to request the royalty for the entire print run as an advance upon signing the agreement.