Don’t Overlook This Marketing Opportunity

The other day as I was going through the mail, I could not believe my eyes. CREST Publications had received another check from our foreign rights contract for books sold!

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I have often encouraged authors and publishers to seek foreign rights contracts as a good marketing strategy. Foreign rights contracts allow you to sell your books in non-English speaking countries. The best part is that you don’t have to do any work to do that. Instead, you assign the rights to a publisher in the country that the books will be sold in.

While I believe my advice to be sound, what amazes me is that we sold the foreign rights for our set of board books for infants and toddlers, Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus, back in 2008. We are still getting royalty checks on them.

In case you are a little slow with math, we have been receiving money for the past six years from one foreign rights contract—without any marketing effort on our part.

I don’t know of any other marketing strategy that takes so little work in exchange for the benefits reaped. You see, we did not have to find this foreign rights contract ourselves. Instead, we engaged a foreign rights agent who did the work for us. All we had to do was send samples of our books and sign paperwork.

If you have a book that might sell well in a non-English language country, don’t overlook foreign rights. Pursue them. If you are able to secure a contract, not only will more people read your book, but you will also impact more people for God’s Kingdom and sell more books.

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Extending the Life of a Book

The other day I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my mail and found a royalty check for a good sum of money. This royalty check was from our foreign rights agent. It was for payment for copies of Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus that had been sold in Indonesia.

When we secured the foreign rights for Baby Bible Board Books, we were originally paid an advance royalty on the books by the Indonesian publisher who acquired the rights to translate, print, and sell the books in Indonesia. I figured that this advance royalty was all we were ever going to see.

I never imagined that this Indonesian publisher would sell enough copies of the book to continue to pay royalties beyond the initial payment. I was wrong.

There are a number of ways to extend the life of a book. These include:

  1. Placing the title on your back-list.
  2. Continuing to actively promote the title by tying it into current events and issues.
  3. Bundling the title with a newer book and offering it for a reduced rate.
  4. Selling foreign rights for the title.

Selling foreign rights for a title is a great way to extend the life of a book. Not only does the publisher or author continue to sell copies of the title, they do so without any ongoing efforts on their part.

I believe the best way to secure foreign rights for a title is through a foreign rights agent. These agents work to establish relationships with publishers in various countries. They know which publishers in these countries are reputable and will abide by their agreements. In addition, they negotiate the contracts and act as the liaison between the publishers.

Have you sold foreign rights for any of your books? What was your experience? I would be interested in hearing about it.

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It’s a Small World

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:

  1. If you write or publish works by Americans, there is a huge foreign market for you to tap.
  2. 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.

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Surprised by God

Has God surprised you lately?

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think! Isn’t God like that?

When my husband and I wrote and published Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus, a collection of four board books for infants and toddlers, I never envisioned these books being published in another language, in another country.

I had my plan. My plan was to sell as many of these books as we could in the United States and Canada. So, I was pleasantly surprised when a distributor picked them up to sell in Australia.

God had even greater plans. His plan included foreign rights for these books. He wanted them published in Asian countries.

When the books were first released, we were approached by a publishing house in Central America that wanted foreign rights to publish the books in Spanish. However, after the initial contact, the publisher dropped the conversation and so this agreement never materialized. Since foreign rights were not in my plan, I wasn’t bothered by this and didn’t continue to pursue this avenue.

Then out of the blue, last year, God brought a foreign rights agent to us through Christian Small Publishers Association. This agent wanted to show our books to his publisher contacts in Asia. We said, “Yes!” The agent showed the books. As a result, we have received contracts for Baby Bible Board Books to be translated and sold in Korea and Indonesia.

Exceedingly abundantly above all that I asked or thought! God is good!

Has God done something exceedingly abundantly above all that you have asked or thought in your writing or publishing endeavors lately?


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