I was thrilled recently to hear that my first foreign rights deal for The Night Rainbow has been made, for Dutch rights, by auction! The rights have gone to Jacqueline Smit at AW Bruna/Orlando whose wonderful enthusiasm for my novel matches that of my agent and my UK editor. How exciting is that? (Really exciting!)
I hadn’t really been thinking much about foreign rights up until now, and now I do I’m aware how little I know about this aspect of the publishing world. Twitter is also ablaze with people talking about various book fairs…so I decided it’s time to find out more.
Congratulations on landing a job at Darley Anderson! Can you tell us what your job title is and what it involves?
Thank you! And massive congratulations on getting an agent, getting a UK deal and selling translation rights! Wow! It’s incredible news! My job title is Rights Manager which means I negotiate deals for translation rights all over the world for all of the Agency’s authors.
For anyone reading who is looking to work in publishing, what skills and characteristics would you say are important to be a rights manager?
I’m still new to my role and I’m learning all the time but I would say you need to be very organised, methodical and good at multitasking – which also means you need to be able to handle pressure. You need to like building lasting relationships with people but also enjoy negotiations and making deals. You need to be driven and incredibly passionate about your authors and their work – you want to build every author in every territory and create internationally bestselling books!
Are there big differences between selling a book to home publishers and selling foreign rights?
Not really. The process is the same; you select the editors that you think would want to publish a particular author and then you submit the author’s manuscript for consideration.
My editor told me recently that my manuscript had been read by “lots of literary scouts…who were now writing favourable reports to their clients.” I have to admit I didn’t know these people existed! Do you have contact with literary scouts? Do they contact you, or vice versa, and at what stage of the game?
I am in constant contact with literary scouts. Having literary scouts writing favourable reports for your novel is the best position to be in because literary scouts act as a filter and a matchmaker for the publishers that they work for – it really has an impact if a literary scout recommends your work to their clients. At the Darley Anderson Agency scouts get in contact with us if they hear about a manuscript they think their clients might be interested in, and when we send a manuscript out on submission all over the world it goes to scouts too.
You’re very busy at the moment getting ready for the London Book Fair and for Bologna. What kind of preparations do you need to make? What will you be doing during the actual fairs?
At a book fair the Darley Anderson rights team have back-to-back appointments with publishers. The rights team pitch their rights list to publishers and talk about their debut authors, pitch existing authors’ backlists and describe their big titles. We prepare for every appointment by looking at what has previously been bought and by having an idea of which titles might fit each publisher’s list. It’s a lovely opportunity to actually meet all the people you work with face to face because most of the deal making and negotiating I do is via email. And it’s the perfect place to make new contacts, learn more about the different markets and talk to editors about what they are currently looking for.
Does your busy lifestyle leave you any time to write? What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, because I’m fairly new to the role and because Bologna is closely followed by London Book Fair there isn’t much time to do anything except work and read. But I still love writing and don’t ever want to give that up. There’s an idea for something lurking around and I hope I’ll have a bit more time to work on it over the summer . . .
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Before I go, I just wanted to say that at the Darley Anderson Agency nearly all of our authors are found in the submission pile – we are always on the lookout for new talent and the next bestseller – so if anyone is thinking about submitting have a look at our website and see if you think we would be a good fit – and then just follow the submission guidelines.
Thank you very much for having me along! And please keep me posted about The Night Rainbow because I can’t wait to read it.
Many thanks for coming to my blog, Clare and for taking the time to answer these questions when you’re obviously so busy!
You can follow Clare on Twitter @clarewallais