Book fairs are where the first contact is often made. However, no contracts are negotiated at book fairs.
Foreign Publishers send their representatives to book fairs to meet with publishers and select books they are potentially interested in looking at for acquisitions. The first year at any book fair is about building relationships with potential publishers and finding agents in countries where it is necessary (China, the Middle East) to do business.
After the book fair, CW-International Rights follows up with any publisher or any other lead obtained at the fair.
Between book fairs, CW-International is also working to connect with publishers in other countries who publish books like yours. This is important both at the fair and after it.
When someone walks into your booth at a fair without an appointment, you must show them only genre-specific books they might publish. They are on a fishing expedition, and your initial 5 minutes with a foreign publisher will determine whether they are interested in doing business with you or moving on to someone else.
After a few years, publishers start making appointments with CW-International RIghts before a major book fair to ensure they can have time to look over your books for possible foreign language publishing.
Why attend a book show or book fair?
Most of the initial contacts are made at book fairs. The first year is about building your network, and each subsequent year is about continuing this process. By year 3, your network should be making appointments with you at the fair to see what you have to sell to them. Meetings run from 10-15 minutes.
Any US independent publisher or author must be part of a collective group as they not only take care of the shipping but are also able to protect your books when you are not in the booth and set up/break down after the show is over. The collective also takes care of show material, such as getting you a table/chair and putting your stand/shelf together.
The cost incurred by CW-International Rights for a book stand in Frankfurt will be approximately $4000 including a 19% Vat tax.
Frankfurt is the largest show in the world. It is held each October. Other shows of note include the show in Guadalajara in November and London Book Fair in April. These are not as large as Frankfurt but also provide opportunities for foreign rights sales.
How is the contract negotiated?
If a foreign publisher is interested in your book CW-International goes through a vetting process to determine the viability and the legitimacy of that company. This is less an issue when you have met them at an international show but is still a necessary step in the process.
If a foreign publisher is interested in your book, they will ask for a pdf. for their acquisitions committee. That is why it is critical that when a pdf. is requested, you provide it within 24 hours.
After a reasonable amount of time (usually 9 -12 weeks), a follow-up contact is made to determine the status of their interest in your book.
If a specific publisher is interested in publishing your book in their language, a contract is negotiated on your behalf.
When an agreement is reached, they will generally pay an acquisition fee (not an advance against future sales) and agree to a royalty structure of usually anywhere from 4-10%.
The contract amount will vary but is usually based on what your book would sell for in that country.
It is also the responsibility of CW-International to make sure that the book is never sold to another publisher in that country or published by another publisher in that language.
How long does it take to get paid?
Once a contract has been negotiated and signed, the publisher usually takes about four weeks to send your initial payment to the US. Regions Bank in the US receives the money and then converts it to US currency for a fee.
When the money has been converted, you will receive it either wired to the bank of your choice or by check.
When the book comes out, you will receive a copy. When royalties are paid, you will also receive a payment within ten days of the funds being cleared.
Why does CW-International Rights use an agent in some countries?
Certain countries, specifically China and the Middle East, do not have the same copyright laws as the EU, Africa, and the UK. Therefore, using an agent is imperative to protect your intellectual property. Also, an agent can take care of this issue in countries where currency conversion is challenging. (Foreign Agents typically on request 6-10%).
Also, in countries that do not typically do business in the US, a foreign agent can be helpful.
Why does CW-International Rights require a seven-year contract?
Covid greatly impacted the publishing world. Every publisher in the world has cut back on acquisitions. Once a publisher sees your book, they may wait a year to request a copy.
Sometimes, a publisher will come back to Frankfurt and want to look at a book they saw last year or the year before.
Foreign rights acquisition is a relationship business, and it takes time to establish those relationships.
Why does CW-International Rights get a 50% commission?
CW-International Rights takes on all the responsibilities of obtaining a booth, attending an international conference, shipping your books internationally, and meeting with potential clients after the conference.
CW-International rights maintain a catalog, website, and contacts publishers on your behalf throughout the year.
When a contract is offered, CW-International Rights works with an Intellectual Property Lawyer to determine if the contract is valid and in your best interest.
CW-International Rights also pays for all foreign transaction fees related to the transfer of funds and takes care of all book-keeping and management of any royalties you are due.
The company also maintains an extensive book, contacts, and deadlines database.
Please refer to the information on the costs of an international show in the next question.
Does this impact my North American Rights?
Your rights to North American English stay with you.
You are simply allowing CW-International to represent you to foreign publishers who potentially might want to publish your book in their language.
A book is typically published by a foreign publisher, and you are still the author. It is fun to see your book published in a foreign language.
The foreign publisher incurred all the costs of translation, publishing, printing, marketing, etc.
Some authors/publishers are naturally fearful that foreign publisher will change their stories or rewrite their work. The contract is negotiated in a way that the integrity of your work is maintained.
Naturally, in some languages, words don’t have an exact translation. Still, books are generally translated as close as possible to your original work, considering the words that may not translate well into other languages.
What does it cost me to sign with CW-International?
The only cost to you is to provide us with a copy of your book to take to international shows and pay your portion of the shipping to the US broker who will ship them to the show. You do not pay for international shipping.
Provide CW-International Rights with a pdf of your book upon request within 24 hours.
Why don't I handle my own international rights?
Clarissa Willis, the owner of CW-International Rights, has ten years of experience representing independent authors and small publishers at International Shows. Her contacts and expertise will assure you get well-negotiated and fair contracts.
Several companies are representing independent publishers at international book venues. The American Collective and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) are the two largest. The Independent Books Publishers Group (IPG) is also active in the international marketplace.
Each of the three collectives mentioned above will put your book on a shelf in their collective marketplace for between $300-450 per book per show, and their assigned representative will forward any leads they get from walk-ins during the show to you.
You are responsible for all follow-up, negotiations, and issues related to selling the rights to your book in that language.
The likelihood of a sale is minimal because there was no one to talk to interested publishers about your book and try to convince them why your book should be selected over the 100s of books they will see during the fair.