A Global Perspective to Book Publishing

by | Dec 21, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics

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Guest post by Adria Saracino

Having trouble getting your book published? Perhaps it is time to start thinking globally. Just like any business, the publishing world increasingly functions on a global scale and the majority of book publishers are international conglomerates.  Luckily, books written in English are at an advantage in the global market, since many editors at foreign publishers are bilingual. However, there are still ways to use language to improve the likelihood of success.


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Here are some ideas for broadening the likelihood that your book will make it to print.

Know the Business

The first step is to make certain you have a keen understanding of the publishing business. Oftentimes, books fail to find their way to market simply because the author never put his/her work into the right hands. Take some time to fully understand the ins and the outs of the publishing machine.

Research Foreign Markets

Understand which markets might receive your book well. For example, if you’ve written a business book, Korea has increasingly been interested in publishing translations of American business books, whereas literary fiction could go over well in France. Once you’ve figured out the literary appetites of foreign markets, brush up on your language learning skills and get ready to write strong query letters.

Focus Your Proposal

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Once you have your book written, it is important to take some time to think about why it is relevant and who will specifically appreciate the book. After you have done this, write to agents and publishers who seem to share the same goals as your book. If they are interested, they will oftentimes ask for a proposal. This is your chance to explain how you see your manuscript playing well in foreign markets. Be specific and let them see you’ve done your research.

Try Foreign Literary Agents to Sell Foreign Rights

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Success really does beget success and a fast track to that in the publishing world these days is by selling the foreign rights to a book. If you can prove to an American publisher that your work already has found an audience abroad, you’ll be halfway toward convincing an agent or a publisher to pay attention to you. Many writers have found success by self-publishing their work and selling the foreign rights to it before they’ve actually published in the US.

Pitch Directly to the Publishers

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If you are having difficulty obtaining foreign representation, try selling your manuscript on your own directly to publishers who have shown interest in similar books. First, research foreign publications that are within the same genre and see which publishing house put them out. Then contact them directly. For example, Bertelsmann is the largest book publisher in Germany, so try pitching your book directly to them. Do your research and explain why German readers need to know about your book. If you’re not fluent in German, use something like pimsleur German to brush up on your skills.

As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place, it is important that writers follow suit. A little bit of research and some outside-the-box thinking can really mean all the difference for a writer trying to sell that book.

Adria Saracino is a blogger and the Head of Outreach at a creative internet marketing agency. You can find her writing about style at her personal fashion blog or brushing up on Spanish, her preferred second language.

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