Seeking Information About the German Publishing Industry

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Steam&Ink

sekrit superhero
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
361
Location
Bottom-right hand side of the map. Tucked away dow
Website
steamandink.blogspot.com
I have a question about the German publishing industry. I've been talking to a friend of mine who is German and writes in German. She seems to think that her only option in Germany is what we would call self-publishing, i.e. paying an initial amount to have the book published and IF it makes money she recoups her initial payment.

None of the other Germans I know, know about publishing in their country (they're not writers). One guy assumed that people would have to pay the publisher to have a book published, but I don't think he has any experience in the area.

Can anyone help with any information on this?

(And if this is in the wrong forum, would a mod mind moving it to somewhere more appropriate please?)
 
Last edited:

ChaosTitan

Around
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
15,463
Reaction score
2,886
Location
The not-so-distant future
Website
kellymeding.com
My only experience with the German publishing industry has been in selling translation rights on two of my books. We sold to Droemer, which is a commercial, advance and royalty paying publisher. I didn't pay them a penny.

The easiest way to learn about publishers in Germany is to look at who publishes the books your friends like to read. Research those publishers and go from there.
 

Old Hack

Such a nasty woman
Super Moderator
Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 12, 2005
Messages
22,453
Reaction score
4,938
Location
In chaos
The German publishing business is just like any other. There are good publishers and bad: but there's no need to go the vanity/self-publishing route if your book is good enough. All you have to do is visit a German bookshop to realise that.
 

Terie

Writer is as Writer does
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
4,152
Reaction score
953
Location
Manchester, UK
Website
www.teriegarrison.com
The German market is hard to crack (and their manuscript standards are super-strict and beyond weird!), but as the others have said, it's much like any other. I have a German friend who writes in German, but she thinks she might have better luck cracking the English-language market, so she translates her own work and will be offering her current WIP in both markets (or that was the last plan I heard...subject to change, naturally!).
 

Scriptissima

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
124
Reaction score
14
Location
Florida
I have a question about the German publishing industry. I've been talking to a friend of mine who is German and writes in German. She seems to think that her only option in Germany is what we would call self-publishing, i.e. paying an initial amount to have the book published and IF it makes money she recoups her initial payment.
If she does that, she pretty much deprives herself of any chances to find a regular publisher in the future. In Germany, self-publishing is more or less interchangeable with ruining your own reputation as a writer for good. So if she actually plans to make a living as a writer, she should stay away from self-publishing houses and do what everybody else is doing: Get an agent, or (if she can't find an agent) find a freelance editor who will work on her manuscript with her until it is good enough to find an agent.
She could also try to find a regular publisher herself, however, just like everywhere else her chances to convince a publisher to take on her manuscript will increase tremendously if she has a well-connected agent carrying her torch.
One guy assumed that people would have to pay the publisher to have a book published, (...)
Heck, no. Reputable publishers pay their writers - not the other way round. German bookstores are crammed with books, and about 5000 new titles (published by paying publishing houses) enter the market each year.

It is, however, a difficult market to break into, and as a novice she will have a hard time finding a publisher. It will be even harder to find a publisher willing to pay an advance. It's not impossible, though, if her manuscript is good.
The German publishing business is just like any other. There are good publishers and bad: but there's no need to go the vanity/self-publishing route if your book is good enough.
I totally agree with that assessment.
 

Scriptissima

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 7, 2009
Messages
124
Reaction score
14
Location
Florida
Thanks for the information you guys. I suspected that the german publishing market couldn't be too different to ours in the UK/US/English-speaking world. I'll encourage her to keep away from the self-publishing markets. I suspect she just hasn't done her homework... :Shrug:
I am not entirely sure whether it is permissible to mention a German-language forum in this thread, but I'll give it a try (dear Mods, please delete the following if we should not link to foreign-language forums and message boards that are directed at foreign markets):
Ask your friend to go to www.texttreff.de and suggest that she joined that group. It is a network of (exclusively female) writers, copywriters, translators, editors, copy editors and the likes. In my opinion "Texttreff" is by far the best textwork-related network in Germany, and she will find many knowledgeable writers, editors and agents there that will be eager to help. Texttreff isn't open to everyone; the girls restrict their circle to serious professionals in text-related industries; but once in it is a highly productive network each and every member benefits from.

If she is writing fiction, she will probably find the following links quite helpful, too:

http://www.haus-der-sprache.de/lektor.php/redaktion/autoren/

http://www.haus-der-sprache.de/lektor.php/redaktion/lesen-verlag/was_ist_eigentlich_ein_expose/
 

Steam&Ink

sekrit superhero
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
361
Location
Bottom-right hand side of the map. Tucked away dow
Website
steamandink.blogspot.com
I am not entirely sure whether it is permissible to mention a German-language forum in this thread, but I'll give it a try

Fantastic! Thank you, I'll pass these links on!
:e2flowers

ETA the last two links don't work, probably because they were too long and the computer put in the "...". Could you send the links to me via PM, if possible? I'd like to send them on to her. Thanks, you're a star :)
 
Last edited:

Theresa

Registered
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
In Germany, it is less common to look for an agent as most publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts but I have the impression that agents are becoming more common.

I self-published my first two books as I was too impatient to go the long way and I dearly regret it :( Even though I didn't pay a penny in advance, it robbed me of the chance to find a good, paying publisher for my books. Especially my children's book would have had a chance when I think of all the positive comments I received.
 

evalauran

Banned
Spammer
Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Huge and informative information I graphs from here and they are still clueless about what readers will be willing to pay .
 

Theresa

Registered
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Do you mean what readers will be willing to pay for a book? Well, that depends on the book and the reader ;)

I don't think that book prices are that different from other countries. There are paperbacks for under ten euros, there are hardcovers for over twenty euros, there are even paperbacks for more than ten euros and hardcovers for less than twenty ;)

I for one am lucky that some of the books I like to read are British and well over fifteen or even twenty years old so that I can get them new for under five euros but I would also pay ten euros for a paperback if really wanted to read it. Just some weeks ago, I paid twenty euros for a paperback non-fiction book because I'm greatly intersted in the topic.

If you want more precise information, you need to give us more precise information as to what you are looking for.
 

aruna

On a wing and a prayer
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 14, 2005
Messages
12,841
Reaction score
2,834
Location
A Small Town in Germany
Website
www.sharonmaas.co.uk
My books are translated into German and I've had a bit of access to the great Bertelsman (Random House).

German publishers are heavily biased towards translateions from English-language books, as they believe that this is what their readers want. They publish more of those than books by German authors. I know that many German writers go the self-publishing route, but ultimately such books don't sell.

As in most Euopean countries, an agent is not common for German writers; it's a custom they've taken over from the Anglo-American publishing customs, and I think only the most succesful German writers have agents; AFTER they have gained success. There are also very few German agencies; the biggest is Mohrbooks, based in Zuerich. I'm repped by the Thomas Schlueck agency, which is another big one, but I couldn't find a website for them. Mohrbooks does have a website, but even they say that
We represent German language publishing rights on behalf of international publishers and agencies. Most of our clients are based in English speaking countries, some in Italy and France.
(my bold). I htink Thomas Schlueck is the same.
So yes, you do submit directly to the publisher. Here's what the Random House website says:

Bitte haben Sie Verständnis dafür, dass wir keine Manuskripte per E-Mail annehmen können. Bei der Flut der täglich eingehenden Manuskriptangebote würde das Ausdrucken der Manuskripte dazu führen, dass die Arbeitsplätze der Mitarbeiter im Lektorat blockiert wären. Senden Sie ein Exposé, eine Inhaltsangabe oder ein repräsentatives Kapitel Ihrer Arbeit in Papierform an folgende Adresse: Verlagsgruppe Random House Lektorat [Verlag]* Betreff: Manuskript-Einsendung Neumarkterstr. 28 81673 München

(They don't accept mss per email and to send partial and synopsis in hard copy)
I expect other big publishers are the same; check them out!
 
Last edited:

aruna

On a wing and a prayer
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 14, 2005
Messages
12,841
Reaction score
2,834
Location
A Small Town in Germany
Website
www.sharonmaas.co.uk
PS Droemer Knaur, another big German publisher, also accepts direct submissions:
http://www.droemer-knaur.de/sixcms/detail.php?template=manuskripte
So I think you can assume that you don't need an agent in Germany. Check out the website of the publisher you think best suited, and see what their guidelines are. Be warned that it'll be a long wait, though -- Droemer says six months is normal!
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away