A publisher from Germany recently told me that 90% of the books sold in Europe are by American authors. The publisher stated that most of these books are translated versions of the authors’ original English works.
I was surprised that the figure was so high. This statistic showed me that American authors have a large audience for their books, even in well-developed countries. Then I wondered: If it is that high for Europe, could it possibly be higher in other less-developed countries around the world?
After I pondered that, I realized what this figure mean for publishers, self-published authors, and aspiring authors. I believe it means two things:
- If you write or publish works by Americans, there is a huge foreign market for you to tap.
- If you are not an American, but are an aspiring author, there is a market for your works right in your own country.
The American market is saturated with books. As people, we tend to have an ego-centric view of the world. We forget that other countries are not like the United States and Canada. There are many countries starved for good books and access to these books.
Foreign rights (selling the rights to translate and sell your books to publishers in other countries) is one way to expand your reach and sales. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) now has two foreign rights agents that we work with to help our publishers find foreign markets for their books. After all, it is a small world.