Rights Roundup: Frankfurt in Mind

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Our Rights Roundup features titles from France, Greece, Finland, India and the United States–and some statistics from Germany.

In Hall 3 at the 2016 Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: FBM, Marc Jacquemin

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

German Publishers’ Overseas Sales Rose 2.4 Percent in 2021
It always surprises friends who aren’t in the business that by this time each summer, world book publishing professionals are thinking about Frankfurter Buchmesse, working out what business they can do there and who they need to meet with in October.

And when the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, reported last week on its 2021 numbers for the German market—we have the full report for you here—there were some interesting numbers about translations and international rights we want to share with you today before getting to our Rights Roundup titles.

Translations in the Germany Market, 2021

Image: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

The share of translations in frontlist releases increased slightly from 13.2 to 13.6 percent compared to the previous year but remains constant over the years.

Sales by German Publishers Abroad, 2021

Image: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

  • In 2021, a total 8,703 titles from other languages appeared for the first time on the German book market; in 2020, that figure was 9,164
  • After a slight dip in 2020, sales by German publishers abroad rose by 2.4 percent from 7,597 to 7,777 titles

The two most important product groups in the German licensing business grew significantly: books for children and young adults by 10.8 percent, fiction by 9.9 percent.

And, moving on to today’s roundup, as always, we use some of the sales copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors, editing that copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone, but limiting the promotional elements. If you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.

Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe/Goldmann’s cover for the German edition, which is translated by Katharina Diestelmeier, Enrico Heinemann, and Bernhard Schmid

Putin’s Trolls
(Putins Armee Der Trolle)

By Jessikka Aro

  • Publisher: WSOY, the Johnny Kniga imprint, Helsinki
  • Rights contact: Elina Ahlbäck, Elina Ahlback Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Audio rights, German: Sound Neverrest
  • Albania: Muza
  • Bulgaria: Ciela Norma
  • Czech Republic: Denik N
  • Estonia: Menu Meedia/Stratkom
  • Germany (print and ebook): Goldmann
  • Hungary: Corvina
  • Latvia: Pētergailis
  • Lithuania: Briedis
  • Norway: Mangschou Forlag
  • Poland: Sine Qua Non
  • Rormania: Lebada Neagra
  • Sweden: Sensor Förlag
  • World English: Ig Publishing
  • Audio rights, World English: Blackstone Audio
  • Film and television rights: Onerva Pictures Oy

Jessikka Aro. Image: Nelli Kivinen

Both the German print edition (Goldman) of Putin’s Trolls and the German audio edition (Neverrest) are to release on August 31.

Putin’s Trolls is a chilling account of Russian information warfare, shedding light on the individuals and organizations behind the Kremlin’s coordinated, military-style disinformation operations against the West through social media.

“The journalist Jessikka Aro interweaves her own story as a target of Russian social-media propaganda.”

Aro works for Finland’s public service broadcaster Yle, and having begun investigating pro-Russian Internet trolls in 2014, she became a target of them, herself. She’s a recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award.

Becoming Abolitionists. Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom

By Derecka Purnell

  • Publisher: Astra House, New York (October, 2021)
  • Rights contact:  Marleen Seegers, 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: Fandango
  • English / UK and Commonwealth excluding Canada: Verso
  • Brazil: Grupo Novo Século
  • France: Éditions Syllepse

Derecka Purnell

“A national [United States] reckoning with the problem of police violence is finally underway.

“From community policing initiatives to increasing calls to reform, defund, or abolish the police, more and more people are grappling with what alternatives to policing might look like.”

“Derecka Purnell is an organizer, journalist, Harvard Law graduate, and a rising voice of the Trayvon Martin Generation.

“In making the case for police abolition, Purnell draws from her personal journey, as a child growing up in poverty, where calling 911 was often the only option, as a young woman determined to seek justice from the law, and later as a lawyer and advocate for abolition.”

(Το κίνημα της αυτοκτονίας, To kinima tis aftoktonias)

By Petros Markaris

  • Publisher: Kemena, Athens
  • Rights contact: Susanne Bauknecht, Diogenes Verlag AG
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Albanian: Toena
  • Catalan: Tusquets
  • German: Diogenes
  • Italian: La Nave di Teseo

Petros Markaris

“Athens during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The shops are shut and many people have been pushed to the brink, so it’s hardly surprising that even the elderly are taking their own lives.

“Yet when Costas Haritos hears that a 90-year-old has written ‘Long live the Suicide Movement’ in his note, his ears prick up.

“Is there more to his actions than just despair? Haritos investigates—and gets to know the city of Athens and its inhabitants’ spirit of resistance in a whole new light.”

Petros Markaris, born in Istanbul, is a playwright, who worked as an author with Theo Angelopoulos (director of Eternity and a Day, Ulysses’ Gaze etc.), and has translated the works of German dramatists like Brecht and Goethe. He began writing crime novels late in life, in the mid-1990s, and became an international success. His accolades include the Pepe Carvalho Prize, the Goethe Medal, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Thessaloniki. Petros Markaris lives in Athens.

Everything the Light Touches

By Janice Pariat

  • Publisher: HarperCollins India
  • Rights contact: Maria Cardona, Pontas Literary & Film Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Italy: Salani
  • English / North America: HarperVia
  • English / UK and Commonwealth, excluding Canada: HarperCollins / Borough Press
  • Russian: Eksmo

Janice Pariat

“Pariat’s third novel is her most ambitious one to date—an elegant, multi-layered work, rich in imagination and exquisitely told, that interweaves a quartet of journeys across continents and centuries.

“Drawn from scientific and botanical ideas, it’s a swirl of ever-expanding themes bringing together, with startling and playful novelty, people and places that seem, at first, removed from each other in time and place. Yet as it artfully reveals, all is resonance; all is connection.”

In comps, Cardona’s information about the book reports, “As emotionally resonant as Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, as inspired as Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, as inventive as Louisa Hall’s Speak, and as visionary as David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Everything the Light Touches is Janice Pariat’s epic of travelers, discovery, time, science, human connection, and the impermanent nature of the universe and life itself—a bold and brilliant saga that unfolds through the adventures and experiences of four intriguing characters”—Shai, Evelyn, Linnaeus, and Goethe.

To Be in the Right Place
(Etre à sa place)

By Claire Marin

  • Publisher: Éditions de l’Observatoire, Paris
  • Rights contact: Sandrine Paccher, Elisa Rodriguez, Éditions de l’Observatoire
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sale:

Germany: Reclam

“Claire Marin, the ‘philosopher of life’s trials and intimate catastrophes,’ examines our need to find our right places in a fast-moving world that ceaselessly displaces us while inundating us with instructions on how best to live our lives.

Claire Marin

“With her usual psychological acuity, she speaks to our conflicting desires to belong and stand apart, the workings of our inner selves, our social identities, by navigating today’s heated debates about racism, feminism, ableism, migrants, and class defectors.”

Marin “explores all the places we occupy—daily, voluntarily, or against our will, those we have lost, those we fear losing—and she questions what’s both the formulation of a personal desire and a new social imperative.

“It remains to be seen if we all end up finding a place, or if the characteristic of a place is not rather to constantly move around, or to move those who believe they can settle there.”

Octopuses Have Zero Bones

By Anne Richardson
Illustrations by Andrea Antinori

  • Publisher: Tra Publishing, Miami
  • Rights contact: Florence Pariente, Ttipi Agency, Nantes
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – German: Christophorus (Bruckmann group)
  • Simplified Chinese: Hsinex
  • Complex Chinese: Hsinex
  • Korean: SpringSunshine
  • Spanish: Zahori de ideas
  • Catalan; Zahori de ideas)
  • French: Saltimbanques
  • Italian; Scienza

Anne Richardson and Andrea Antinori

“Do you wonder how many bones an octopus has? How many breaths you take a day? How many miles a trip to the moon and back is?

“The answers to these questions appear in this book—along with many more amazing facts that celebrate the numbers zero to nine and powers of 10 numbers 10- to nine-billion.

“Starting with zero instead of one, this whimsical, fact-filled counting book is an unconventional one for curious minds.”

From ‘Octopuses Have Zero Bones’ — two and 200. Image: Tra Publishing

Submitting 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

Getting images to us. Please don’t send us images by Google Drive if the system will require us to ask your permission to retrieve those images. (It can take too long for our deadlines before that permission request reaches you.) Likewise, please don’t send us images by WeTransfer or a similar service. (Those expire, often before we can download your material.) If for some reason you cannot get images into our submission form, feel free to just drop them to us in an email (Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com) or in a Dropbox folder (non-expiring access) and send us a link to that folder in the submission form.

Categories. We get more submissions in children’s books than in others, and while we enjoy children’s books in the industry as much as anyone—please do keep sending them—we’d also like to see more of the following to help us balance our roundups:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Nonfiction – particularly narrative nonfiction, political, historical, biographical, memoir, and philosophical categories
  • Young Adult

Repeat submissions. We receive great submissions from many parts of the world and once we’ve carried a title, we’d like to give other work a chance to be featured rather than repeating that title–unless there’s major news developing around that previously used title that makes it a good candidate for a second listing. If one of your titles has previously appeared in our Rights Roundups but there’s a good reason you think it should be listed again, please be sure to drop us an email and let us know (Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com).

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.