|French cover of The White Assassin (June 24 2014, Albin Michel)|
When I started down the long road to publishing, I didn't know I'd be published let alone published in foreign countries. The whole idea of foreign publishing seemed confusing, overwhelming, and well--for lack of a better word--foreign. Now this isn't a step-by-step of the process, it's just my own personal experience, but I hope it can give a little enlightenment for anyone who's been wondering how it goes down or may be in the process themselves. Keep in mind, my agent, Marietta Zacker of Nancy Gallt, kept the foreign and dramatic rights of my series, the Nightshade Chronicles. Had my publisher kept them, this would be a different post.
An American agent, in this case, Ellen Greenberg, who handles all of Nancy Gallt's foreign rights, works hand in hand with my agent (Marietta) and several foreign literary agents, who help broker the deals with foreign publishers, hence the percentage markup on foreign rights to agents. The foreign agents are invaluable to the process because they are local, speak the language, understand the culture, know what's trending in the kids' market for that country, and clearly know how kids' publishing works in their sector of the world.
|US cover of The White Assassin (Holiday House, 2011)|
In easy to understand terms, your book(s) is sold to a foreign publisher. You get an advance, just like you would from an American publisher, though generally smaller, ½ on signing and ½ on publication--this will vary obviously depending on the deal brokered.
Usually, you'll have little to no contact with your foreign publishers. I was really lucky I had the opportunity to speak to my editor at Albin Michel. We even Skyped, which was really amazing, and I got to put my fourteen years of French to work, which was...umm...not so amazing. I'm pretty sure my lovely French editor was holding in her grimaces while I butchered her beautiful language!
Though sometimes foreign publishers will keep the American cover, they tend to change the cover to fit their market, as you can see by the vast differences in my two covers from my American publisher, Holiday House, to my French publisher, Albin Michel.
Also, don't be surprised when other changes arise, beyond changing the cover. Albin Michel changed the title of my first book from Nightshade City to Catacomb City, which later became the name of the French series. They had a book with a similar title and Catacomb City made perfect sense for two reasons. One, it's a major city in the book. Two, Paris sits on top of...the Catacombs! Yes, that worked out well, plus I think it's a very cool title. ;)
You'll also notice, the title is in English. This is the trend now in French books. They keep the American worded title. Who knew?
|French cover of Nightshade City, renamed Catacomb City (Albin Michel, 2013)|
When the book is actually published, you'll usually get anywhere from a single copy to a box of books from your foreign publisher. Trust me, it's a surreal thing to see and hold your book in another language. Of note, my first book, Nightshade City, was 260 pages, but the French translation was nearly 400. Imagine a Harry Potter novel in French. That would be one heavy book!
So, that's my short and sweet tale of foreign publishing. Not as complicated as you may think. At least in this case! Anyone else--writers, publishers, agents, indie authors--have anything to add on the subject? I know everyone's experience is vastly different and I'm hoping to have many more of my own! :)