Self-Published Books and Foreign Rights Deals

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Best practices for working with self-published authors to secure translation rights.

By Edward Nawotka

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Today’s feature story on “The New Midlist” — which discusses self-published e-book authors who are earning good money — notes that numerous authors have been able to attract attention from foreign publishers. One author, Michael J. Sullivan has produced more than $150,000 worth of foreign rights deals. The opportunity is there for foreign publishers to discover new voices — and potentially pick up the rights to their works for much less money than they might when working with a traditional publisher or agent. (Though this, too, may be changing as more agents are also getting into the game of consulting with self-published authors.)

Self-published Authors: Have you pursued foreign rights deals? Have you sold any of your titles for translation? If so, what best practices would you suggest to other authors? For example: Did you have a sample translated into another language? Did you work with an agent or directly with overseas publisher? And if so, how did they find you?

International Publishers and Readers: Assuming that a self-published e-book has attracted your interest, is there a base level of sales where you begin to consider it as a serious prospect? Is it 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 sales? Do you take solicitations for rights deals directly from self-published authors and do you handle them differently than those coming from publishers/agents/scouts? Are you impressed or dissuaded by self-published authors who aggressively pursue your interest?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.