Rights Roundup: Elephants, Mice, Aliens, and Agatha Christie

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Titles in this roundup were originally published in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Uruguay, Spain, Sweden, and Norway. There’s suspense, children’s books, historical nonfiction, a graphic novel, and more.

Authors and illustrators whose work is included in this Rights Roundup include, top row from left, Tracey Turner; Aaron Cushley; Helle Helle; and Mercedes Rosende. And on the lower row from left, John Marrs; Jimi Macías; Agneta Pleijel (image: Göran Segeholm); and Terje Tvedt

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

How Many High Jumps to the Moon?
We’re coming to you with a spoiler in a moment, so shut your eyes.

In the topper to our Rights Roundup today from Michele Young at Macmillan Children’s Books in London, kids are asked How Many Mice Make an Elephant? Answer: 240,000.

Image: ‘How Many Mice Make an Elephant?,’ Macmillan Children’s Books

See how educational Publishing Perspectives is? We’ll even teach you a new word, the title of a graphic novel from Spain by Jimi Macías—Intransextellar. It’s a story of abduction by aliens whose mission “is universal male transsexualization,” and eventually gets to a point at which a wife finds herself pregnant by the person who was her husband and now is female.

Image: Detail from a page of ‘Intransextellar’ by Jimi Macías

And we’ll end with a story not by Agatha Christie but about her. And Oskar Kokoschka.

As in each roundup, we use some of the promotional copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors, editing that copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone. If you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.

How Many Mice Make an Elephant

By Tracey Turner
Illustrated by Aaron Cushley

  • Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, London
  • Rights contact: Michele Young, Macmillan Children’s Books
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Simplified Chinese: Beijing Guangban New Century & Media
  • Turkish: Kultur
  • Castilian: Ediciones SM Mexico
  • Italian: Il Castello

How Many Mice Make an Elephant “introduces children to math by stealth, making tricky concepts such as size and distance fun and easy to understand.

“Covering a wide range of subjects, including animals, the human body, engineering, Earth, and space, this original approach brings math to life and is packed with STEM content and information.”

We’ll give you a look inside at this one. Here’s Turner and Cushley on how many high jumps it takes to reach the moon. (Don’t stop doing your knee bends.)

Image: ‘How Many Mice Make an Elephant?,’ Macmillan Children’s Books


By Helle Helle

  • Publisher: Gutkind, Copenhagen
  • Rights contact: Winje Agency AS
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Norway: Forlaget Oktober
  • Sweden: Norstedts

Helle Helle’s new novel Bob is described as being about “waiting for adult life to start.

In the book–which begins ““Out moves Bob and I with him to Vanløse,” Bob has work at the Seamen’s Home “when he’s not doing up their new bed-sit and losing himself in Copenhagen street names.

“Most of all, he wants a future with her.

“She’s the novel’s narrator. But all she talks about is Bob’s life–especially the bits that don’t involve her.”

Crocodile Tears
(El miserere de los crocodrilos)

By Mercedes Rosende 

  • Publisher: Estuario Editora, Montevideo
  • Rights contact: Vito D’Onghia, Ampi Margini Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Film and television rights, Germany: Kordes & Kordes Production (includes a third novel by Rosende)
  • Italian: S.E.M. (two-book deal: Crocodile Tears, Wrong Woman)
  • World English: Bitter Lemon Press, London (Crocodile Tears)
  • German: Unionsverlag (three book deal: Crocodile Tears, Wrong Woman, and one more)

Mercedes Rosende’s book is described as “a hilarious caper in the style of Fargo with inept criminals failing miserably at even the simplest dodgy tasks.

“Among the incompetence emerges the vengeful Úrsula, the novel’s anti-heroine—an amateur criminal with an insatiable appetite—and her rival, Captain Leonilda Lima.

“They reveal themselves to be the true protagonists in this classic low-life crime story with a message: never underestimate the women.”

What Lies Between Us

By John Marrs

  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing, London
  • Rights contact: Hatty Stiles, Amazon Publishing
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Ukrainian: BookChef
  • Brazilian Portuguese: Editora Globo
  • Chinese (Complex ): deal in negotiation
  • Czech: Albatros
  • German: Amazon Crossing
  • Polish: deal in negotiation
  • Russian: Exmo
  • Turkish: Ephesus Publications
  • Vietnamese : Nha Nam Publishing
  • Film rights: Optioned with MGM

In descriptive copy about John Marrs’ What Lies Between Us, we read, “They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

“Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they’re finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there.

“Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she’s paying the price.”


By Jimi Macías

  • Publisher: Bang Ediciones, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Stephanie Barrouillet, SB Rights Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sale:

  • World French: Bang Ediciones

“At night, a car inexplicably stops in the middle of the road, only to be hit by a powerful beam of light that engulfs the car and the man inside.

“After a month, he returns. But the aliens, whose mission is universal male transsexualization, have transformed his body and mind into those of a woman. This is the story of a couple who must learn that love goes beyond sex or gender.”

Macías is a winner of a bronze prize in the Japan International Manga Awards and you can see more of his work here.

World History: With the Past as a Mirror

By Terje Tvedt

  • Publisher: JM Stenersen Forlag, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Hans Petter Bakketeig, Stilton Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Sweden: Bazar
  • Estonia: Rahva Raamat

About the book, we read, “With an infectious enthusiasm, Terje Tvedt, a professor of history, geography and political sciences, shares his effort to understand some of the long lines of world history.

“He also makes it clear how such insights affect how we understand our own time and who we’ve become.” The book is reported to have been a top seller in Norwegian nonfiction.

Double Portrait

By Agneta Pleijel

  • Publisher: Norstedts, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Linda Altrov-Berg, Norstedts Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Turkey: Epsilon
  • Denmark: Batzer & Co.
  • Germany: Urachhaus
  • Estonia: Varrak
  • Russia: Gorodets

Double Portrait is described as a fictional take on the 79 year-old Agatha Christie’s (1890 to 1976) meeting with Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886 to 1980) during a handful of painting sessions in London 1969.

“Their encounters,” we read, “turn into a conversation about art and fiction, passion, emotional pain, and the power of memory, about life, death and aging.

Agneta Pleijel, a high-profile literary author in the Swedish market, “captures both the spirit of the time, as well as two elusive characters.”

Submit Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and rights directors can use our rights deal submission form to send us the information we need. If you have questions, please send them to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com

Titles we choose to list must have both cover images and author images available. If there’s an illustrator or translator, we’d like that person’s photo as well. We prefer color.

In supplying these assets to us, please don’t use WeTransfer or other similar links–they may expire before we can process a submission.

In a sale listing, we require not only the language/territory into which the title has been sold but also the name of the publisher to which the title has been sold in that territory. The correct format is:

  • Country, Language or Territory: Publisher

If we have used a submission from you in the past, please do not submit that same title again to us without an explanation of why you think it deserves another look.

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on international rights trading is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.