View Full Version : Being contacted by a foreign publisher for translation rights.

01-17-2012, 07:04 AM
I've got someone emailing me about "translation rights" for one of my self-published books. They say they're with an Indonesian publisher, but a Google search brings up nothing.

Here are my questions: Is it normal to sell rights to a publisher for a single language? Any reason not to? It isn't like the absence of this book in another country is doing me any good.

Also: what are the traditional terms for a foreign-language acquisition? I feel like I've read somewhere that the royalty rate is a little different.

Thanks in advance.

01-17-2012, 10:11 PM
This is one of the things agents are extremely useful for (another reason I am too lazy to self-publish ;) ).

Let me recommend Ivan Hoffman (http://ivanhoffman.com) as a helpful resource.

To answer your specific questions:

It is absolutely the norm to sell translation rights by individual language. The only exceptions are when you're dealing with a large publisher that deals with a multiple-language common market, or when you sell, for instance, the rights to publication in Portugal and the rights to publication in Brazil to different publishers.

Royalties for foreign rights vary by market, but they're generally lower than US royalties. I couldn't say what the standard Indonesian royalty rates for works in translation are, especially if this is for epublication. With print publications, foreign royalties are usually 70% to 80% of the corresponding US royalties, but don't know if that proportion holds for epublication.

It is the norm to get a flat fee upfront for assigning foreign rights, in addition to royalties.