Aim high and sell your book to the world
Aim high and sell your book to the world
by Elliott Katz
If you wrote your book to influence people with your ideas and sell a lot copies – aim high and sell it to the world. If you think your book wouldn’t sell outside of North America or will only sell in a specific market– you may not be aiming high enough. You may be missing out on selling a lot of books and communicating your message to many people who want it.
If your book helps people improve their lives, your market is the world. There are people all over the world who need to learn the lessons in your book. One of the lessons I learned while marketing foreign rights for my book Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man was that human nature is similar in very different cultures. I had thought that today’s man who needs to learn to be strong, show leadership and make decisions was a North American phenomenon. I soon learned there are man all over the world who need to learn these insights.
Though I initially aimed Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants for men in North America, I soon realized I wasn’t aiming big enough. I targeted the world and the book is now being translated into 20 languages by publishers in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The English language edition is also being sold in the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and South Africa. I also broadened my aim to include women – many of whom complain about the lack of quality men. I learned that many women buy the book for husbands, boyfriends and sons – one woman told her husband that after he finished reading the book, she was waiting for him in the bedroom in her negligee.
Translated into 20 languages! grabs your attention. When a book is also selling in foreign markets, it also helps increase sales in North America.
Here’s how to aim high and sell your book to the world:
1. Prepare an exciting email pitch. Include details that will make an agent or publisher enthusiastic about the book, such as:
• the book’s successes, sales figures, foreign-rights sales and distribution agreements;
• an offer to send a copy of the book, ask for agent’s mailing address;
• short summary of the book;
• published reviews or links to them;
• link to the book’s Web site and its page on Amazon;
• endorsements the book has received;
• links to radio and TV interviews you’ve done on the book;
• the table of contents
2. Compile a list of foreign-rights agents. Good literary agents know the publishers in their markets that may be interested in your book. Editors usually pay attention to submissions from agents they know. To find foreign literary agents:
• Consult International Literary Market Place, available in the reference section of many libraries and online at literarymarketplace.com/lmp/us/index_us.asp.
• Google “foreign rights agents” and “foreign rights,” results include major the web pages of publishers and agents with lists of names and contact information for their foreign rights agents in countries all over the world.
• To find agents that specialize in a certain genre, such as children’s books, go to the sites of major publishers of that genre and look for the lists of their foreign rights agents.
3. Send selected agents the email about your book.
4. When an agent asks for your book, send it, a media kit, reviews and anything else that agents can send to publishers to encourage interest. Most foreign-rights agents receive 10 percent commission on the advance and royalties. Some foreign-rights agents represent a book on a nonexclusive basis. Some agents ask for exclusivity for their market. If you agree to exclusivity, make sure it is for a limited period, such as six months to a year and that this is renewable by mutual agreement.
5. Support your agents’ efforts. Send updates on other foreign-rights sales, reviews, interviews and other media coverage of your book. Suggest the agent send this material to publishers.
6. If you receive an offer and more than one agent is marketing the