Publisher Bob Dees on selling books in foreign markets GlobeArts
Selling the rights to publish books in other countries is one of the great subterranean aspects of the Canadian publishing business
Do you try to sell foreign language rights for all your books?No. There are certain titles that are clearly North American. For example, if you did a book with the Canadian Diabetes Association, it has its limitations, because there may be very specific information in a book like that that relates to the Canadian or North American market.
You Are What Your Grandparents Ate[by former Globe and Mail columnist Judith Finlayson] had not just an international market opportunity, but it had a market opportunity in Europe that was larger than in North America because of a greater awareness of the subject matter of epigenetics [the study of biological mechanisms that turn genes on or off]. We came across a recent German edition of
National Geographicdevoted to the anniversary of the Dutch Hunger Winter and how it was still influencing the descendants of those who lived through it, subjects that are integral toYou Are What Your Grandparents Ate. Our foreign language rights manager at the time, Nina McCreath, went online to find German publishers who specialized in this intersection of health and science and found four, and based on their responses, she booked appointments for Frankfurt 2018.
Then what happened?We had sales materials prepared, about eight or 10 pages to give an indication of the design, which in this case is unique, and its capacity to attract a readership to the subject. And we had one edited chapter that we were able to share with them both in hard copy and electronic copy. We’re fortunate that English tends to be the language business is done in, even in Frankfurt. Even so, not everyone comes with an equal level of English, and we were even more fortunate there because Nina speaks fluent German. We were able to use that as a tool to create a more successful relationship with these potential publishers. Many publishers may use an agent who speaks the language in question. Having a foreign sales agent with at least a couple of extra languages is incredibly valuable.
Story continues below advertisementHow did this one get done so quickly?We try to be an easy publisher to deal with for foreign language agreements. Big name publishers have a reputation for being difficult to deal with. It doesn’t mean we don’t try to get the best deal, but sometimes the legal departments can be problematic, some will take three or four months to do an agreement, and some publishers don’t want to wait that long. It took us probably about two or three weeks.
When a publisher is motivated, things can happen quickly. Translators can be paid more to work more quickly, that sort of thing. Nina took early retirement to run book clubs right after Frankfurt 2018, so with the help of our new rights agent, Parisa Michailidis, this process took just 12 months. We presented at Frankfurt in October of 2018, the book was in print in Germany by Frankfurt 2019, just three months after it came out in Canada. The usual timeline is probably 2.5 to three years.
How much does selling books into other countries affect Robert Rose’s bottom line?It’s very beneficial for us to sell foreign language rights. There is a government program through Livres Canada Books [formerly known as the Association for the Export of Canadian Books] that provides travel subsidies, hotel subsidies to offset the cost of travel, and this is really instrumental in spreading foreign language rights sales across the world for Canadian books.
We find that just being active in the foreign markets outside of English gives us a much better understanding of trends in the market: subject trends; design trends; author trends. You have to be very careful about being on the wrong side of trends. The same applies to designer clothes and all sorts of things. I’m not trying to equate a book with designer clothes, but to some degree, we’re governed by the same forces.
And with this book, the speed we did the deal gave us an extra advantage. If you’ve done a German deal early in the process, you can say, “Well, we’ve already done a deal in Germany,” and it creates a sense for publishers in other countries, “Oh they thought it was good, I guess it must be.”Read more: The Globe and Mail »
No winning ticket for Friday night's $55 million Lotto Max jackpotNo winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday night's Lotto Max draw. Well that’s a bummer. Maybe I got a free ticket...Wver since super7 was replaced by lottomax I don’t even get a free tkt anymore. More $ to buy & never win even a free tkt. Wish super7 was still around Oh no guess not enough tickets sold in Ontario... I'll be the winner soon Save this tweet 🐦.
Girl Scouts set up cookie stand outside marijuana dispensary in ChicagoCustomers seemed thrilled with the option to buy cookies on their way out, said a spokesperson for the dispensary. Smart move. Thats a gold mine for selling cookies😂😂😂 Veteran move ladies Novel idea!
Trudeau criticized over meeting with Iran's foreign ministerCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing criticism over his meeting in Munich, Germany with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The backlash comes ... I know that face
I Read Canadian Day: 11 exciting new books for young readersI Read Canadian Day, on Feb. 19, will celebrate the richness, diversity and breadth of Canada’s children’s literature. Here are some books to get you started
Oprah holds TV discussion on 'American Dirt' in ArizonaOprah Winfrey's soon-to-be televised discussion about the controversial novel 'American Dirt' is drawing scrutiny for not inviting some of the book's harshest Latino critics. Does Oprah answer why all of her good friends are being convicted for child trafficking? The public would like to know. hey CTV, show the pictures of boy Trudeau cowtowing to the Iranian Foreign Minister. Just in! Justin just realized that the Trumps are headed to India so he is forgoing his stop in Barbados to go to Washington and give Donald, Melania and Barron his advice and tips on how to dress and dance in India. What a true ally. Canadians once again can be proud of their PM
Sold (Bought): Kitsilano townhouse has handy location, two garden patiosLocation offers immediate access to bus transportation and direct routes to downtown and UBC, parks, shopping and schools.