Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Confusing World of Foreign Rights

Do I need multiple agents if I want to sell my translation rights to my novel in different countries? Or should I find one agent in my own country who can do this all for me? How does this work? I've just sold the Japanese rights to my first novel and was represented there by a Japanese agent. Would it be smart of me to ask them to represent me worldwide? This is all so confusing!—Anna Mara

Yes, it is confusing, for sure!

First, congrats on your sale. I admit I'm mighty curious how you found a Japanese agent to sell your book but you don't have a US or UK agent.

Traditionally, you would find a US or UK agent first and then that agent would sell your book in the US or UK and then that agent's Japanese agent would shop the book in Japan. It is highly unusual to have a sale from an English-language writer in Japan before a US or UK sale.

There are UK agents who also sell in the US and US agents who also sell in the UK, but I haven't heard of any deals by Japanese agents selling to US or UK publishers, so my advice would be to seek out a US or UK agent, being sure to mention that you already have representation and a sale in Japan.


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