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

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.