- Posted October 6, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Selling a book’s foreign rights to change the men of the world
Like many books of its type, my book Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man was inspired by a personal journey. I was seeking to learn more about what it means to be a man in a relationship. I soon realized I wasn’t alone. With confusing messages in the media and many absent fathers, a lot of men told me they were also unsure of their role. I also heard women say they were frustrated with today’s men because they don't act the way they expect men to be.
My journey led me to the timeless insights that fathers and other male role models used to teach younger men – insights about men showing leadership, making decisions and taking responsibility. Interestingly these insights coincided with what I heard women say were lacking in men today.
I believed it was only men in North America who were in this situation and my goal was to share these insights to help them change. My thoughts changed after exhibiting the book at BookExpo America and selling foreign rights to publishers in countries where, in my view, the cultures couldn’t be more different. Latin American Spanish rights were sold to a publisher in Mexico, Polish rights to a publisher in Poland and Chinese rights to a publisher in Beijing, China.
I realized if publishers in such different countries wanted the book -- it wasn’t just in North America that men were confused about their role.
I started marketing the book in other countries. In Brazil, where the image of machismo originated, a large publisher of psychology books is publishing the book. An agent in Korea wrote to me that she kept nodding in agreement as she read the book. In Thailand an agent thought all the men in his office should read the book.
The book is striking a nerve in different cultures. What began as my own journey is making a difference in the lives of people in places like Warsaw, Seoul, Prague and Rio. Underneath our different cultures, our human nature is similar. My goal now? To change the men of the world – one man at a time.
This wasn’t my only surprise. While I wrote the book for men, many women buy it to give to men, and the most common question I receive from women is: "How do I get him to read it so I can turn him into Mr. Right?"
My advice for selling your book around the world? Contact foreign rights agents. Good agents know the publishers in their countries and publishers usually pay attention to submissions from them. To find agents, Google "foreign rights agents." The results will include publishers’ and literary agents’ web pages with names and contact information of their foreign rights agents.
Send the agents an exciting email that sells the book. Include a short summary, reviews, endorsements and links to the book’s Web site, Amazon page and media coverage. Support your agents' efforts by sending updates on other rights sales, reviews and other media coverage for the agent to send to publishers.
A tip on negotiating a foreign rights book contract. Most contracts usually grant the publisher only the right to publish the book in its language. All other rights, such as serial rights, are usually retained. A common approach to negotiating an advance is to ask for the royalties for the entire first printing. To calculate this amount the offer should include the number of copies in the first printing, the proposed retail price and a royalty rate.
You probably won’t get rich but you may make a difference in the lives of people in cultures different than your own.
Elliott Katz is the author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, which is being translated into 24 languages by publishers in Europe, Asia and Latin America. If you have questions, you can contact him at ElliottRKatz@aol.com