How to Get Your Book into Foreign Markets
Getting a book published in foreign markets is something every author should consider. You can have your book translated in a foreign language, which is preferable if you wish to reach a wider audience, or you can try to sell your book in English and trust that first, there is a large number of people who speak English as a second or foreign language, and second, that they will be interested in buying your book. You can go for both paperbacks and e-books, however, before you proceed with e-books, you should do a thorough research of the country, because the e-book market might not be favorable yet. Below, you will find several things you should do when considering getting your book into a foreign market.
1. Know whether you have the rights
If you are an independently published author, chances are the World rights, or foreign rights of your book belong to you. However, if you are traditionally published, you need to know whether the foreign rights of your book belong to you or not. Often, publishing houses get full rights, including foreign rights, and in that case, it will be your publishing house deciding whether your book will be sold in foreign markets or not. This is why it’s imperative that you know whether the foreign rights of your book belong to you or not. If they do, then you can proceed with the process of getting your book into foreign markets.
2. Start small
Do not rush the process and try to publish all of your books into several different foreign languages. It’s much better to start with one foreign market and one foreign language. Then, if the sales of your book take off, be prepared to present the market with another. It’s preferable to have at least two or three books prepared for sale in one foreign market, than have one book translated into several different languages. It is easier to focus on one language and one foreign market at a time, rather than splitting your focus between multiple languages and markets.
3. Choose the right foreign market
If you have ever received fan letters or reviews from readers from a foreign country, you might have received requests to have your book translated into that language. That is a good sign that the country’s market might be the right foreign market to focus on. On the other hand, romances and thrillers happen to sell almost everywhere, while business, self-help and psychology books sell really well in China, for example. Before choosing a foreign market, see which genres sell the best, and if your book happens to belong to that genre, there is a high chance your book will sell well. If not, look for a different country and a different foreign market until you find the right one.
4. Get an agent
You can go the traditional route of publishing, only instead of looking for agents and publishers in your own country, you’re looking for international agents who sell books to foreign publishers. There is a slight drawback to this method – your book would need to sell really well to attract a foreign publisher, and you will need to pitch your book to agents and have one of them choose to represent you. In addition, if you are a self-published author, foreign publishers might not want to pick up you book because there is no publishing house standing behind you on your home turf. On the other hand, if you do get chosen, then the foreign publishing house will take care of the rest, including finding translators and marketing your book in that country. Since it is difficult to get hard copies of your book in bookstores, you would have to focus on e-books, but having a foreign publishing house publish your book, you could sell physical copies of your books in bookstores, which will give you access to a bigger audience.
5. Partner with translators
Authors who had been successful in publishing a book in a foreign market advise to partner with translators and split the royalties from the foreign edition of your book. This is a good way to get your book translated, although the rest (marketing and selling your book) falls back to you, unlike in having a foreign publishing house pick up your book. But, if you wish to start small and focus on one foreign market at a time, partnering with a translator is a good first step. That way, you will have someone translate at least two or three of your books, which will enable you to have a bigger presence in the foreign market.