Welcome to the next exciting installment of the Real Fast Results podcast! If you are an author, self-published or otherwise, and you want to get your work out to a much larger audience, the way to do that is via foreign language rights. There’s a bit of a myth among small press authors and self-published authors that it’s difficult, if not impossible to sell your work in this way. The fact of the matter is that this isn’t correct. In this episode, you’re going to learn why and how you should go about selling your foreign language rights to your books and other works.
Today’s expert, author Elliott Katz is going to share this information with us today. He has a long list of accomplishments when it comes to selling foreign language rights to his own works.
What we’re promising, and we’re going to deliver, is how to sell foreign language rights to your books to publishers all around the world, and really build your credibility in your home market, and build your market in other countries within every continent.
Selling foreign rights to your books really builds your credibility. Have you ever noticed that when the big publishers promote a book, they’ll translate it into 20 languages? Or sell it in 30 countries? When you see this you think, “Well, a big publisher can do that. I can’t do that.” But, now a person who is self-published can do it. If they have a good book they can sell it all around the world. I’ve sold my book Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, to publishers in 24 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
The first thing is you have to ask yourself, is your book right for a foreign rights sale? At first, I didn’t think my book was. I really thought it was for men in the United States and Canada, a North American thing. But ask, “Does your book appeal to human nature?” If so, you probably can sell foreign rights to your book. The next thing, in the past publishers went to foreign rights fairs in places like Frankfurt and London (and those fairs still exist). For big publishers that’s great. But now, with email, you can also reach out to those publishers.
So, the first step is, once you decide you want to sell foreign rights to your book, develop a really exciting email describing your book. You can include a link to a television interview or reviews of your book, and of course, a summary and why you think it appeals to a wide market. Then, get a list of foreign rights agents in countries around the world. There are literary agents that specialize in selling books from other countries to publishers in their own country. So, all you’ve got to do is Google “foreign rights agents”, and those lists will come up.
Then, of course, send out the email, and one of the beauties is, just think, in the past, if you did this you would have to mail a copy of your book to each of the foreign agents. That would cost you a fortune. Now, you send an email, and the ones that respond and are interested in seeing your book are the ones you spend the postage on to send them the book. Then, agents that are interested in representing you will sell and market the book. They know the publishers in their market. That’s their business. When they make a deal, they negotiate a contract, and it’s a great thing.
Can you make a lot of money selling foreign rights to your book? If you’ve got a big book, yes. But, generally, you don’t make a lot of money, you might get a penny. Of course, it depends on the size of the market, and it depends on the wealth of the country. A wealthy country’s publishers pay more than those in a small country. I can tell you, the advances I made ranged from a few hundred dollars from India to several thousands of dollars from more-wealthier countries where they charge more for books, such as countries in Europe or some countries in Asia.
It all adds up. For the amount of time you put into it, it’s a deal. I mean, you’ve written the book already. You don’t have to write a new book. This is just extra money. And, it’s not just for the money, but also for the credibility it gives you. When you say, “My books have been published in 24 countries,” that gets people to pay attention. It must be a book worth reading. So, it really helps. It can give you a lot of credibility right here in the United States.
Most deals are the traditional publishing deal. There’s an advance on royalties, and then once the book earns back that advance, the publisher then send you royalty payments. But, you know what? Most people say just take the money and run. I’ve had some publishers to do that, and with other publishers, you’ve really got to chase them and keep asking them for royalty statements. They just think they’ve paid you the advance; they’ll send you the 10, 3 copies. You really have to chase them to get royalty sales statements, and then there are additional royalties to be paid. So, just take the money and run.
No, I do. I always follow up. It’s just been my experience that a lot of these publishers, if I don’t follow up and ask them, to send me a report on sales like you’re required to do in a contract, it doesn’t happen. Like, how long does it take to send an email? If you can get additional payments by following up with them, that’s great. But, what is hard about it is that they’re on the other side of the world and your ability to force them to send a sales report is limited. What are you going to do? Hire a lawyer? Hire an accountant to go audit them? It can be a challenge. But, you did get an advance upfront, and it gives you a lot more credibility in selling your book than if you had sold it in just the United States and Canada.
For a single title author, it really depends on the country you are selling to. From India, I got a few hundred dollars. But, in richer countries, like in Europe where they pay more for books you can get a few thousand dollars.
Step by Step – How to Sell Foreign Language Rights to Your Books
Step 1 – Is my book suitable for foreign rights sales?
The first step is to look at your book and think, “Is it suitable for foreign rights sales?” If it’s something that you think, “Well, this will only appeal to Americans,” maybe it’s not going to sell in China. However, if you look at it and it’s something that appeals to human nature, it might sell to a broader market. For example, my book is about realizing that men in this generation weren’t really taught how to be men. There’s a lot of confusion, and we hear all of these different messages. Men weren’t taught by their fathers and other older male role models how to be a man. That’s really what my book is about, being a man in the way men used to be taught.
I thought this is really just a North American situation, like you see on the sitcoms on TV. It doesn’t really apply to all these traditional countries where men may still have their traditional roles. But, I tried it anyway, and there was a lot of interest. The first offers I got were from Mexico and Poland. Then I got an offer from a publisher in Brazil, and that was fascinating because isn’t Brazil where ‘machismo’ originated? So, I thought, “Well, you know what? Let’s just try.” And, I approached these agents in different countries. I guess what I realized was that cultures may be different, but human nature is the same. So, if you think it’s something that would appeal to people in other countries, definitely try it. It’s worth the effort.
In the old days, publishers went to book fairs, and they still do, and for big publishers, that’s great. But, now with the Internet and email, you can just sit at home and send out 20, 30, 50 emails to foreign rights agents. That doesn’t cost you anything, and you can do it all through email. And then see if there is interest. Are agents interested in your book and asking for you to send them a copy? The cost is nothing. You can just send the email out and your only cost comes when they say, “Yes, send us your book. We want to look at it.” There’s no flying to Frankfurt, no paying for hotels. You’re saving so much money. Give it a try.
If you’ve written something that would appeal to only people in the United States, it might not be right for foreign sales. If you had a book of poetry, it might not sell in various countries. Also possibly picture books or coffee table books might not be right for this. But, it really doesn’t hurt to try. Now, just being able to do it all with the Internet, there are no barriers. There’s no “Well, I’ve got to travel to Frankfurt. I’ve got to stay in a hotel.” That’s like thousands of dollars. It’s not worth it, but if you do it yourself from home, it’s amazing. Give it a try and see what the response is.
Step 2 – Write an Exciting Email About Your Book
The second step is to develop a really exciting email about your book. Give your book a summary, and you can include links to reviews and links to television reviews you have done. If you’ve sold rights in other countries, absolutely include that in the email because that gives it credibility. Just sell them the book. Just tell them why this book is a good book, how it really benefits people, and that it’s gotten a lot of really good feedback. Just sell it like you were talking to a person one-on-one, trying to convince them to buy your book. Just tell them how great it is and why you think it would be right for their market, and anything else that you think would be relevant.
Then, if you think about it, you can send in an email more information than just explaining your book at a booth, at a fair. You can link to media coverage, link to television coverage, or a radio interview. Basically, you’re writing an email that is, in essence, a sales letter, and you’re basically making the case that your book is really good, has a lot of potential, and is already being recognized with reviews, or any media interviews that you’ve done, or even sales figures in your current country. Anything to make them say, “Hey, I need to look at this book.”
If you’ve already sold foreign rights in other countries, that also gets their attention and tells them that it’s not just stuff that appeals to a North American market. If you have good reviews on Amazon, include those reader reviews. Include anything that makes the book look interesting. They’ll say to you, “Yeah, okay. Send us a copy of the book.” They’re not committing yet; they’re saying, “Okay, you’ve got our interest, now let’s see your book.” The book is what has to sell, and it’s got to be a good book.
Step 3 – Find a List of Foreign Rights Agents
The third step is, where do you get a list of foreign rights agents? If you just Google “foreign rights agents”, what will come up is the big publishers. They already have arrangements with foreign rights agents, and on their website, they’ll have a page of all of the foreign rights agents. So, when you Google “foreign rights agents,” those are all the agents that will come up, from big publishers and big literary agencies. They include their email address on their site. Just click on their email, and send them your email, which includes all this exciting news about your book, and offer to send them a copy of your book. And then, wait for a response.
Note from Daniel: After this episode was posted I was talking to my long time friend and frequent joint venture partner John Kremer and he told me that he had put together a resource with a nice database of foreign language rights agents and it was only $6. Here’s the information that appears on John’s website: Literary, Subsidiary Rights, and Foreign Rights Agents — This mini-guide includes more than 1,425 literary agents, including 325+ agents that sell foreign rights, 400 that have sold a first novel, and another 50 or so that handle subsidiary rights sales. This mini-guide also includes a sample foreign rights book contract. Ebook download, $6.00. You can >>> grab it by clicking here <<<
Again, you can send like 100 emails, and it doesn’t cost you anything. Just imagine if you had to pack 100 copies of your book in envelopes and mail them? It would be a few hundred dollars right there. This way, you send out 100 emails for free, and then you’re narrowing the interest. The ones that are interested will write back to you, and then you can send them a copy of the book.
You might be thinking, “Can’t I just offer to send these foreign rights agents a PDF?” Actually, a lot of the agents will ask for a PDF because then they can just forward it to publishers. I’ve had people write to me with this question, “When I send a PDF, am I losing control of the book?” For example, a person sends it to a friend of theirs, “Oh, you should read this book,” and then that person sends it to 100 of their friends. That’s my concern, and other authors have that concern also. I mean, if you’re comfortable with it, you could send a PDF, and then you don’t have any postage cost. My policy is that I’ll send you as many hard copies of the book as you need.
Step 4 – Receiving an Offer
The fourth step is, the agent will approach different publishers, and if they get an offer from a publisher, they’ll send it to you. Usually, what you should look at is the number of copies they’re going to print, the retail price in their market, and the royalty rate. Often, because they’re going to translate it, there’s a cost element. In the United States, Canada, the royalty rate might be 10%, but because we have to pay for the cost of translation, usually the royalty rate is like 6%-8%. It just depends. Figure out the total number of copies from the first printing, the royalty rate on the retail price, and figure out what would be the total royalties for that first printing. It’s reasonable to ask for the royalty on the first printing as an advance.
Just run the figures, and that way you don’t have to pursue them for royalty payments. If they do a second printing, they’ll have to pay you royalties again. Also, make sure that the copyright is in your name, and just review the contract. One thing that you have to include in the contract is that they have to publish the book within 12 months or 18 months, and if they don’t, the contract is automatically cancelled. Because that happens sometimes. The publisher will buy their rights and then decide not to publish it. So, it’s better to establish that if they don’t publish it within 18 months, the contract is cancelled, and you keep the advance and look for another publisher.
That way, the rights aren’t granted to the publisher in perpetuity. Also, a contract should have a term, such as 5-7 years. The contract should say “This contract expires,” and you’ll have a date of 5-7 years, whatever you decide and can negotiate with the publisher, so it’s not forever. Also, one thing that I do is I keep these agents up to date. If you get a good review in a newspaper or magazine, send it to them. If you get on television, send them the link to the taping and say “Please send this to the publishers that are considering the book.”
Keep them up to date. If you make a sale in another market, tell them, “Please inform the publishers that are considering the book that I just sold rights in this other country.” Everything is added, giving you more credibility because the publisher wants to be assured, “Hey, people will buy this book.” If you show them that other people in other countries like the book, it carries credibility.
The In’s and Out’s of the Advance
The idea is, when they give you an offer, it should include the size of the first printing, the number of copies they’re going to print, the royalty rate, and the retail sales price. For example, let’s just say the book promos for $10 in the US, and they are going to print 10,000 copies, and they are going to give you a 10% royalty. A 10% royalty on a $10 book is $1. If they are going to print 10,000 copies, that’s $10,000. If it were 5,000 copies, it would be $5,000. So, that’s a reasonable amount to make as an advance for the first printing. That’s a pretty common approach, to ask for an advance, and most publishers seem to agree to that.
“Can’t I just offer to send these foreign rights agents a PDF?” Oh, yes. Absolutely. It’s like with any negotiation in business. When you make your first offer, they think they’re paying you too much, right? Obviously, with any advance, if you feel like you could ask for more, ask for more. If they come with a counter offer, maybe you just accept it.
Really, when I get published, the amounts aren’t that great, usually. I actually remember with one publisher, I figured out what the advance should be for the first printing, and I added a little more to that, just for some negotiating room. He accepted it, and I’ll tell you, I feel like I didn’t ask for enough.
Usually, the publisher makes the offer. It’s just in that case, the publisher asked me how much I wanted and what terms I wanted. He accepted everything, so I just felt like I didn’t ask for enough.
Step 5 – Promoting Your Book
The fifth step is, once the book gets published, they’ll send you your 10 copies. I always offer to help them promote the book in their country. Maybe a print reporter can interview me in English and then translate it into their language. You show that you are there to support them, and like anything, that is additional coverage you send to the agents who are still trying to sell your book. And, all of this builds and builds. I’ve sold the rights to my book to 24 countries. When I started this process, I said, “Well, okay. I’ll try and see what happens.” But really, with this process, it’s really not that difficult.
Write a good book. Write an exciting email, send it out and see what happens. If they respond, just send them the book however you want, either a hard copy or a PDF. It’s really so much easier now than it was in the past. It’s all about getting credibility to your book in North America. Like you, my goal in writing my book was to share these ideas.
My book is about how to be a man in a relationship with a woman, and it’s showing that all the ideas people have today aren’t working, and you can see they’re not working. So, it’s really about those traditional ideas that fathers used to teach their sons about, you have to show leadership, and make decisions, and take responsibility. You can’t avoid these things and think you’re being such a nice guy. And the response I get from women is they tell me, “If my husband had known this, our marriage wouldn’t have disintegrated.”
My whole point is that you really try to get your ideas out into the world and make a difference. That’s really my point. If you want to change the world, you can go beyond North America. You can really change the world. That’s been very rewarding for me, to see emails from people saying, “Hey, this book made a difference to me,” or “If I had had this book a year ago, my marriage wouldn’t be broken up.” You see, we’re making a difference, and that’s part of it.
In business, it’s nice to make money and be successful. But at the same time, if you’re helping people and trying to eliminate the pain of divorce and children being from broken homes, it’s very rewarding to make that kind of a difference. And, this way, you get to share your ideas with the rest of the world. Much to my surprise, the rest of the world was interested in my ideas because it seems like this whole generation of men aren’t really taught what a man should be.
Connecting with Elliott
I have a website. It’s www.ElliottKatz.com. You can email me through there. My book is available on Amazon as a paperback, and as an eBook on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and iBooks. It’s also available in bookstores, but the bookstores sold out this last time I ordered. Like I said, it’s available in 24 countries, in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa, and it’s very exciting to say, “Hey, I’m making a difference around the world.” It’s really rewarding.
Daniel’s Real Fast Results Tips: Foreign Language Rights
Here’s a sample email that Elliott sends to prospective foreign language rights buyers:
Email Subject: Foreign Language Rights Available for Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants
Dear [Name of Prospective Buyer]
I am a bestselling author and write to inquire about your interest in buying foreign language rights.
Rights to my book Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants have already been sold in 24 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The English edition is sold in the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
There is extensive media interest in my book and thus I have reason to believe that sales would be robust in the languages that you handle.
I been interviewed about the book on more than 200 radio and TV shows in the US, Canada and Singapore.
Sample TV interview: Here is link to TV interview on Breakfast Television, the morning show with the largest audience in Canada.
Winner of the USA Book News Best Books Award for books on men, the book is receiving wonderful reviews:
“For all those sensitive New Age guys out there who want to improve their love lives and themselves.” The Edmonton Sun
“The wisdom is remarkable.” The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City
“Full of useful examples on how to be a better man” Clarence Bee, Buffalo NY
“A minuscule investment for improving, much less saving, a marriage.” Lazer Brody, Lazer Beams
It’s a book written for men that women buy and give it to the man in their lives and say, “This is all I have been trying to tell you all these years!”
Read the reviews on Amazon —
Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man (see http://amzn.to/290QnJL)
The book is 128 pages and retails in the US for $12.95 US.
If you’d like a reading copy, please reply with mailing address. I look forward to hearing from you.
Review: Yes-men shirk responsibility?
by Kasia Iglinkski
Dating Jungle – A single woman’s adventures through the dating jungle
Metro newspaper, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal
He’s the guy we think we all want to date. Smart, handsome and says yes to everything — from giving us back rubs to taking out the trash.
Then we date him and that wanting-to-please manner we first thought so charming makes us want to hit our heads against a wall. Instead of a straight answer to questions like where to go for dinner, we’re left with a frustrating “it’s up to you.” He’s a “yes” man, no matter how big or small the decision may be. He’s whipped. We’re annoyed.
But it doesn’t have to be that way says Elliott Katz, author of Being The Strong Man A Woman Wants.
“They think they are being nice guys,” says Katz on why many men leave the decisions up to women. “But what they are really doing is shirking responsibilities.”
Instead, both partners need to take control and deal with the challenges that occur in their relationship. Part of that ownership of a relationship comes from getting rid of that “yes dear” mentality some men have.
“It’s not about being domineering. Women want a guy who knows what he wants,” says Katz, who came to this realization soon after his own marriage ended several years ago and he wanted to know why. His answer lead him to such sources as Dr. Benjamin Spock’s philosophy that men should be leaders and models for their children. He began to understand that many men today are too passive about their relationships.
“We respect people who take charge,” says Katz. “We don’t admire people who stand back and wait for others to solve the problem.”
A dating blunder Katz often hears from men is they are always asking their date where she would like to go for dinner.
“Instead of asking, suggest a place,” says Katz. “This shows you are capable of making a decision.”
What can a woman do to help her man become more decisive? Katz recommends buying his book.
Table of Contents
A woman wants a strong man,
by Robert A. Glover Ph.D. (author of No More Mr. Nice Guy)
The story behind the journey
To women reading this book: How to encourage a man to be stronger
1. If you don’t lead, I can’t dance
2. Being strong
3. Knowing what you want
5. It’s not being controlling
7. Being worthy
8. Being entitled
9. Taking full responsibility
10. Growing stronger
11. Being manly
13 Setting goals
14. Knowing what’s going on
15. Think before you act
16. Making decisions
17. Watch men who are strong
19. The big house
21. This is what it’s meant all along
Key steps to becoming the stronger man a woman wants