View Full Version : Foreign publishing markets

02-03-2009, 07:39 PM
Hi, can anyone help me with this?
Iím writing in English, but Iím actually a German of sorts living in Germany. Iíve completed my second novel, but my agent queries in the UK havenít been successful so far.
Through a stroke of luck I got in contact with an agent at a reputable German literary agency. This agent is very enthusiastic about my novel and sheíd like to try and place it with a German publisher. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing happening?
Iím aware that this is probably not a very common issue.
Iím calling this agent tomorrow and Iím wondering about the bookís chances of finding its readership. What if the book is less than successful on the German market, will it ruin the book's chances of ever being published in the US or UK? Any ideas on this?
This may sound like an avalanche of scepticism, but Iíve actually been doing my happy-dance-routine since the agent emailed me.
Thanks for your feedback.

02-03-2009, 08:26 PM
Is the book in English? If so, it would have to be translated for the German market, which can be expensive. I'd say it's a long shot for a book not previously published in its own language to make a foreign language sale, but if the agent/agency is reputable, and willing to give it a try, perhaps she/they can make it work.

If the book finds a German publisher, and the publisher is excited about it, overseas rights could be sold before publication--this often happens with books that publishers expect to go big, or about which there's pre-pub buzz. For most books, though, foreign rights are sold post-publication, and how well the book does in its first publication definitely affects its ability to sell overseas.

Other things can have an impact as well, including how aggressive your agent is about pursuing overseas sales, and which co-agents your agent uses to place books in foreign markets. In other words--there are a lot of "ifs" here.

- Victoria

02-03-2009, 08:30 PM
My London agent tried my novel (written in English) on some European publishers when he shopped it around. We got no bites, but he must have thought it was worth trying

02-03-2009, 08:53 PM
Lots of English books get sold into lots of other languages (see sig for an example... :) ) -- if they think it's worth trying, there's no harm in giving it a shot.

02-04-2009, 01:53 AM
Lots of English books get sold into lots of other languages

Yes, but usually not before they are published, or in contract to be published, in English first.

- Victoria

02-04-2009, 08:08 AM
Yes, but usually not before they are published, or in contract to be published, in English first.

- Victoria


The difference, as I see it, being that the OP has a German agent interested in submitting the book to German publishers. Why not take the chance?

02-04-2009, 04:51 PM
Thanks for your thoughts on this.
Sure, novels get translated and published abroad all the time (half the bookshelves in German bookshops are filled with English-German translations.) I was wondering if it was actually possible for a book to be published in its translated version first and then in its orig. version. I talked to the agent today. She likes my ms so much that she wants to go ahead and try sell it on the German market anyway. Hee hee.