the 411 on the 011

Dear Miss Snark,

I clearly understand the process of selling a book to US publishers, through an agent.

Does the writer's agent automatically work to sell the book overseas for foreign rights (assuming that the novel is of the type that would translate well) or does the writer have to request the agent specifically to look into translation rights and foreign rights?

Thanks for your information.

It depends on what rights you sold to your US publisher. If you sold "world rights" the US publisher will be ferreting out the deals in Dubai. If you sold them "North American", your agent might be canoodling with Kirabati OR she may have a relationship with an agent who will canoodle on her behalf. And there are a lot of projects where we do a little of both.

Your general question though is "should I prod the old girl into telephoning Tonga for me" and the answer is "Malo e lelei!". If your agent hasn't mentioned shopping foreign rights, go ahead and ask what's being done. This is your agent, and your book. You don't need permission to speak to her or ask about the status of your project.


Maya Reynolds said...

My agent actually had buyers for the foreign rights before settling on a U.S. publisher, and the publisher we went with is well-known for having a terrific foreign rights department. The list of foreign rights took up an entire legal page of the contract.

HawkOwl said...

Mss Snark: what percentage of novels that sell to US publishers end up selling to foreign publishers as well?