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Literary Agent Q&A: Clare Wallace, UK

As part of our ongoing series of Q&A’s with the world’s leading literary agents, scouts and rights managers, Publishing Perspectives talks to Clare Wallace, Head of Rights at the Darley Anderson Agency in London.
Clare Wallace, literary agent at the Darley Anderson agency in London

Clare Wallace, literary agent at the Darley Anderson agency in London

What has been your biggest success over the past few years?

We get excited about every foreign rights sale. We aim to translate our titles into as many languages as possible. Four of our authors have been sold in 30 or more languages, and ten have been sold in up to 25. Most recently, Lee Child reached his 42nd language, and 97th territory when we sold Mongolian rights.

What is the greatest challenge you face in selling rights?

The current economy. It’s tough.

Which international markets do you think offer the greatest opportunities?

The German publishers are still incredibly quick to read and put together an offer. For us, almost always, they are the territory that acquires first after the UK. And we’re seeing growth in Poland and Turkey in children’s and YA.

Over the course of the last five to ten years, how has the digital revolution changed the rights business?

It’s only now that digital markets are beginning to emerge in translation, and so it’s still very early days. Although the digital revolution is definitely happening, we’ve yet to see its full impact. The challenges we face are different. We have had problems with piracy, and that’s something we need to all work together on in order to protect our authors. Also, occasionally publishers tell us that they no longer see the same significance of the fairs because everything is done digitally. We think this is a great shame as we still really value meeting in person and think it’s essential for forging new and strengthening established relationships.

Do you see more opportunities in more cross-platform rights deals — whether for digital mediums, books to film, etc.?

Yes, publishers in translation are looking to exploit more and more elements of the titles they acquire, for example, the development of apps based on the characters or the world created in the narrative. We now meet with some digital-only publishers to discuss rights including audio, e-book, website development and apps. It’s a really interesting and innovative time to be working in this industry.

Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. As the Head of Rights, she negotiates deals for translation rights all around the world for all the agency’s authors. Clare is also scouting for new talent and is looking for commercial and accessible literary general fiction and all types of women’s fiction. Clare represents authors both in the UK and the US including Kerry Fisher, Rosie Blake, Martyn Ford, Cesca Major, Kim Slater, Polly Ho-Yen, Dave Rudden, Caroline Crowe and Adam Perrott and illustrators Jon Holder, Clare Mackie, Loretta Schauer and Lorna Scobie.

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