Monday, October 6, 2008

Demonglass Goes International!

Okay, so today, I decided I was going to talk all about foreign rights, seeing as how Demonglass has started selling in some other countries, which is ridiculously excting. But, as I sat down to write about foreign rights, it occurred to me that I actually know very little about them, not that that should be a shock! After all, this is a blog by a newbie writer for newbie writers or aspiring writers (and my friends and family who just wanna know what I'm up to!) So instead, I'll give you some links about foreign rights by people who are experts, such as this one, which is a little dry, but very informative, and there are several posts here by agent Kristin Nelson that are very cool and helpful.

As for my own experience in selling foreign rights (and I cannot even tell you how many times I've already misspelled foreign. Damn, that's a hard word. Thank you, Spell Check!), it's been really fun to note the difference between selling those and the first sale. When Demonglass was all out there in the publishing world, getting looked over by Important Publishing Types, I was beyond stressed out. Every time Agent Holly called, my heart went into my throat, my hands started shaking... oh, it was bad.

With foreign rights, Agent Holly shoots me an email that says, "Country X wants to buy Demonglass and the sequels for X amount of dollars/Euros," and I say, "Sweet!" usually around a mouth full of cereal. So basically, that first sale is like trying to find your book a home. Foreign sales are like your book getting to go on a kick ass vacation to an awesome place. And I'm beyond thrilled at the places Demonglass is getting to go! (I'll be more forthcoming about the actual countries it's sold to after I do official stuff like sign contracts.) It's still very weird to think that a book I wrote on a metal folding table in Harvest, Alabama is going to be read by teenagers in Europe and South America.

So, with all of that in mind, here are the only things I know about Foreign Rights Sales.

1) Not every book sells overseas, and it's really hard to pinpoint why some books sell and some don't. Some of it has to do with your agent and/or publisher and their international connections. Some books are viewed as "too American" for international audiences. I was kind of surprised that Demonglass would appeal overseas, seeing as how it's set in Georgia, and it's pretty entrenched in the Southern Gothic tradition (or so I tell people when they make fun of me for writing a book about witches and faeries and vampires and what have you.) However, London plays a pretty big part in the book as it's sort of "headquarters" for the big wig witches and faeries and vampires and what have you. Plus, almost all of Book 2 is set in England. So I think that might help. Not that I had any idea of that when I was writing the book. I just picked London because A) It is my favorite city in the whole wide world, and B) the evacuation of children from London during WWII played a big part in the history of my characters. So, you know, if you wanna sell your book overseas, throw in some international flava. ;)

2) Sometimes your publisher buys your World Rights when they buy your book. If that happens, any money you get from foreign publishers goes back toward your advance from your original publisher. In some cases, that can be a good thing, but that's why it's very important to really read your contract so that you know exactly what your publisher is buying from you. It's easy to get so excited that someone is going to publish your book that you can end up giving away more than you should. And, of course, talk to your agent about it, and asks lots of questions. I'm all for asking questions. Agent Holly is lucky that I don't email her every morning and ask her how I should wear my hair.

3) Your agent will probably get a bigger commission on your foreign rights, as there are other agents involved in that process, and they need a cut of that, too. Check your agency agreement to see how much more of a commission your agent gets. (This usually applies to film and tv rights, too, and for the same reason: more agents = more money.) Oh, and that reminds me. A lot of the time, people complain about getting an agent because the agent does get a commission (usually 15%, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less), and why should they get an agent when they could just sell to publishers themselves and keep their 15%?

And to these people, I say: DUDE. You NEED an agent. Yes, people do sell to publishers without one, but it's hard, and the author almost always gets screwed. It's much better to have someone knowledgable and awesome on your side to handle all the scary business parts. A good agent is so very worth his or her 15%. Trust me, if you have a great agent, you'll be happy to hand over that 15%. (Not that you actually hand it over. The publisher sends the check to your agent, who takes the commission out, and then sends it on to you. In case you were wondering.)


So there it is. The complete sum of my knowledge of foreign rights. Expect future posts dealing with Stuff Rachel Knows Almost Nothing About, such as rugby, and The War of 1812, and knitting.

15 comments:

Corked Wine and Cigarettes said...

Very informative! Thanks!

Don't you just love London? I went to school in England for a while - and a large portion of my book is based on that time (Northeast - Durham).

Funny thing about being an Alabamian and living in England - usually the first thing you get from anyone you meet is, "You don't sound like Forrest Gump, now, do you?"

Carrie Harris said...

How exciting that you're getting all of these foreign rights sales. You know the most fun thing about that? You can go to Babelfish and speculate about what the title might be when it's translated. Or maybe I'm just weird. :)

Rachel Hawkins said...

That is too cool! I was only in London for a week, and at the time, I was 20, so I was much more interested in drinking legal beer and flirting with cute English guys than really exploring the city, although we did hit all the important, tourist-y places. I'm dying to go back, though, and do more of the off-the-beaten path stuff. I don't know what it is about that city that I love so much, but I'd move there in a heartbeat. You know, if I were rich. 'Cause damn, it is pricey!

Rachel Hawkins said...

Carrie: I know! I'm already calling Demonglass Le Verre de Demon for when it gets all Frenchified. ;)

serenity said...

Great post again. And so true about an agent. I heard of a guy who went straight to a publisher with his first book, and the publisher said, "You really need to get an agent to protect yourself from us." Yikes!

Rachel Hawkins said...

Serenity: Aggh! That IS scary! I can't imagine not having Agent Holly. There's no way I could have done this all by myself!

agent holly said...

FYI hair consults *are* covered in our agency agreement. ;)

Rachel Hawkins said...

Awesome! Of course, since you're a Southern Girl like myself, I'm going to assume your consults will usually require hot rollers and much hairspray.

Prince Balthazar said...

Great stuff. You always have such interesting posts about the biz. And it has to be so cool to see your book and your dream come to life.

So Demonglass is already published overseas? Did I read that correctly?

Rachel Hawkins said...

Balthazar: They're not out overseas yet. Just the rights have been sold. And it will be awhile before Demonglass sees the light of day interntionally (24 months, I think. Yikes!)

cindy said...

rachel, this is SO EXCITING! i couldn't be more thrilled for you! can't wait to see what languages your debut will be in when the time comes to share.

london is also MY favorite city. i lived and worked there for 7 months right after college and my englishman and i had a love nest in london. =D it was lovely.

happy weekend!

Merissa said...

Hmmm, do your characters end up going to Portobello Road? Streets where the riches of ages are stowed?

Jared Smith said...

Wow, everything here is coming to full circle. This is very cool Mrs. Hawkins, though, should I say Mrs. Hawkins? Couldnt i just say Rachel? Anywho, I will be waiting in line with my copy of DemonGlass to get an autograph. This is all very inspiring becuase i want to be a writer as well. So, i just wanted to say I am excited for you, and you were always my favorite teacher, lol. Cant wait for the release. Jared

Anonymous said...

HOLY... I LOVE THE BOOK!

Anonymous said...

I think that if you ever did a movie of this book you should use

Sophie: Phobloe Tonkin
Archer: nick jonas
Jenna: Dakota fanning
Elodie: haley williams
Alice: Amy lee
Anna: keke palmer
Chaston: Chelsea Stub

i only did the main charicatrs i hope u agree