Selling The Foreign Rights To Your Self-Published Book

10204449446_911d664f6c_z

By Max Sat via Flickr

Last week, I discussed how to get your self-published book translated using various techniques from hiring contractors to using a royalty splitting website. Today I’ll talk about the next logical step in this journey and that is selling your foreign rights to a publisher. Yes, you can sell your book’s rights whether they be digital or print to a publisher in another country.  Sounds cool huh?  Seeing our books being sold at  store overseas is the dream of many authors.

There are several options that self-published authors have, you can find an agent who can sell it for you, or you can try to do it on your own.  But before I begin, I have one very important question…

Have You Exploited All Your English Rights?

Did you know you can sell the English rights of your book to publishers in other countries? Just as English language music and movies are sold all over the world, so are English language books. So before you go and get knee deep in translations of your work, make sure you’ve exploited all of your licensing rights. If it’s possible to sell your book’s English rights to a German publisher, why not?  In fact, you can sell those rights to publishers in every country on the planet.

Unfortunately, many traditionally published authors stop with selling their U.S. or U.K. rights and that’s absurd.  There are many publishers in other countries that would love to do business with you so what are you waiting for?

Can I Still Shop Around My Book To Agents and Publishers?

Yes, if you’re upfront with your agent/editor there shouldn’t be any conflict. However, you must be specific as to what you’re actually selling them. If you’re selling only U.S. English rights you must make sure that’s in your contract. This is important because many authors are finding publishers doing what’s called a rights grab where a publishing company tries to buy up all your book’s licensing rights without paying you adequately for them.  Sadly, there are many stories of authors who have mistakenly sold all of their book’s rights for a few bucks and that’s just wrong.  A book publisher has no business owning the movies rights to your book!
Here are a just few ways you can license a book:

• Digital (Ebooks)
• Print (Paperback and hardcover)
• Foreign language versions
• Audio
• Movie
• Merchandise (T-shirts, toys, posters, etc.)

Agents

Unfortunately, in some countries it’s necessary to have an agent if you want to be published with a legitimate publishing company. There are some literary agencies that specialize in foreign rights sales and are happy to help you for a percentage of your royalties.  Some of these agents subcontract other agents overseas with whom they split a fee with if a property sells.  There are also literary agencies who prefer to deal directly with publishers.

Doing it DIY Style

By emdot via Flickr

By emdot via Flickr

Recently, several websites have popped up that cater to matching publishers with authors. The most popular ones with indie authors are Pubmatch and IPR License. IPR License has a yearly fee of $79, while Pubmatch, has both free and paid services.

Both sites are relatively new, IPR License was launched in 2012, while Pubmatch was created in 2009 and is co-owned by Publisher’s Weekly.  So neither site has been around for a long period of time.

However, I have yet to find any decent reviews or testimonials from either site. There are no Hugh Howey’s or Colleen Hoovers that have emerged from these places. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, I just wouldn’t shell out money for the paid services. Go free and check out the site for yourself then, decide what’s best for your book.

So there you have it, a complicate subject explained as simply as possible. If you have any experience with Pubmatch or IPR License please tell us about it in the comments section. Lord knows, I’d like to know if anyone is having any success.

Freebies: Forget What You’ve Heard

5092935089_8a0931b5ce_z

By Jackson Ward via Flickr

When KDP introduced its Select program, many authors balked at the idea of giving away their work for free. After all, it took several months, or years to create a decent story worthy of publication so giving it away for nothing seemed like a waste. And I completely understand that line of thinking. I was a freelancer and was very adamant about getting paid for my work. However, I wasn’t a publisher at the time and therefore didn’t have large billion dollar corporations to compete with.

The one advantage indie authors have over the big guys is the ability to price low, very low. In fact, we can go free if necessary but when is it necessary to go free? That’s simple…

• When you want to build your email list.
• If you want to introduce readers to a new series of books.
• You need more social media followers.

A Gift with Strings Attached

Many writers like Hugh Howey and Sylvia Day are using free books to drum up their fan base. And I haven’t seen free books hurt their bottom line, actually, if used properly, everyone gets what they want: readers get entertained, and authors get new fans. It’s a win-win.

Perma-Free Myths

There is this myth in the indie community that you can’t go free on Amazon without KDP but you can. However it will take time and patience on your part. First you go to Smashwords and set the price of your book to free. When those prices reach retailers like Apple,  or Kobo the Amazon algorithms pick up on this and adjust the price accordingly. If not, you’ll have to log into your personal Amazon account and go to your book’s page.  Scroll down to the Product Details and click on the tell us about a lower price link and send them the link to Apple or Barnes and Noble.

Amazon Perma Free Link

Amazon Pop up free link

Be warned: This may not work the first time, in fact, you may have to enlist some friends to help you.

Should You Promote a Free Book?

Why not?  There are tons of places that will allow indie authors to advertise their free books for absolutely no cost.  In fact, here are just a few:

Keep in mind that paid services are usually more effective but not always, so be sure to do your research before spending your money.

In Closing…

If you have a plan, then giving away a book should help your cause whatever that may be. Don’t make the mistake that I did and give away a book with no real reason. If you don’t want to get a bigger fan base or need a exposure then, don’t do it.

Translating Your Book: What You Need To Know

Hello in Multiple LanguagesIt’s a subject most self-published authors avoid and I don’t blame them, translating a book seems complicated as well as expensive. It’s murky territory, where we’re flying blind because we don’t speak the language.  I mean could you imagine embarrassing yourself in another country?  So out of fear we indies stay put in the shallow waters too terrified to dip our toes in the deeper parts of the pool.  Well, I’m getting my poodle noodle as well as my floaties and I’m diving in.

Before I go on, I’m not discussing selling your foreign rights, that’s a completely different issue which I’ll discuss next week.  Today, I’m simply discussing translating your book and all the things that come along with it.

You’ll Need Two People To Help You

First you’re going to need a translator, you can find these people all over the place. The more established (expensive) translators can be found at the International Federation of Translators as well as the American Translators’ Association.

Many (cheaper) freelance translators can also be found at Elance, Odesk as well as Guru, the online outsourcing sites.  Now before you hire someone, please consider everything you’ll need to have translated. Believe it or not, it’s not only your book you’ll need to have translated. You’ll also need to translate the title of your book and any subtitles, your book blurbs, as well as your new Amazon author page.  Here are some more things to consider translating as well:

• Newsletters. You do plan on capturing emails in your ebook, right?
• Social Media Posts
• Ads
• Interviews/ Blog Posts
• Website landing/sales pages

Once your book has been translated, now you’ll need to find a line editor who specializes in your language of choice. You can also find line editors at Elance, and Odesk as well.

Important Tip: When contracting this type of work out, make sure to discuss the terms of the rights of the translation. In some countries the translators own part of the rights of the translated version of your book, meaning they get a cut of the royalties, so be sure you’re clear in your contract about who owns what.  However, if you’re smart, you can use this to your advantage and insist in your contract that if the translator owns part of the rights to your book, then they must help you with promotion.  Hey, it’s only fair!
This is the more expensive way to translate your book however, long term it’s the most profitable.  But there is another cheaper, way to translate your work…

Bablecube: The Poor Author’s Translator?

Bablecube is the only online website that I can find that offers translations services for no upfront fee. However, there is a catch, you must share royalties with the site as well as the translator. The split is 50% for the translator, 30% for Bablecube, 20% for the publisher (you). This means if you want to make big bucks off of your translations, you’ll have to price your book reasonably in order to get a decent cut of the profits. But there’s more…

There are issues that I find troubling with Bablecube. For one, you must keep your book on the market for 5 years as explained in their FAQs. (Click on the link that says Rights to the Translated Version of the Book) This is done so authors can’t grab free translations and skip town, leaving the translator broke.  Also, Bablecube holds the distribution rights of your newly translated book for 5 years. This could be a huge problem with indies who are still shopping their work around to traditional publishers.  Many publishers want you to own the rights before they’ll even think about purchasing a manuscript.

Another thing I noticed is that some authors upload their work to the site only to find that no one is interested in translating it.  That could be because of genre or even a poorly designed cover, who knows?  Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of the translators as to which project they’ll choose.

Reviews & Beta Readers

Now that you’ve gotten your book translated and uploaded, you’ll need reviews and beta readers. You can go to Goodreads or Shelfari to find native readers who can give an honest review. Just type in the search engine something like: “Arabic Literature” and see what comes up.  You can do this on other social media sites as well.

You May Have To Change Your Cover

Have you noticed that a book published by a company like Random House usually has multiple versions of their book covers for various countries?  Hopefully, you made sure to get all rights to your book’s cover, right?  If not, you may have to use a different cover for the translated version of your book.

The Hobbit Compairison

The Hobbit ebook cover: U.K. version on left, Spanish version on the right

Another thing to consider, are trigger happy censors in certain countries. Places like the Middle East, Asia and even Eastern Europe have some of the most notorious (annoying) censors who won’t hesitate to ban a book whose cover they consider obscene or controversial. This affects those writing in the romance or erotica genres the most.  Your best bet is to investigate the books in your genre in the particular country you’re targeting and see what’s acceptable, cover wise.

In Closing

I know I’ve given you a lot of information and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Take it slow and test the waters with one book then, expand gradually with your other work.

Okay, So I Was Wrong About Pinterest: An Author’s Guide to Using Pinterest

7066410885_f0f9e5ee5d_z

By Roxanne Ready via Flickr

Recently, I had to eat crow when it came to Pinterest. Though I never said anything publicly, I did once joke (privately) about how Pinterest was social media for people who couldn’t read. However, on June 18, that all changed when I was graced with a repin by a Pinterest power user. From that one user, I got almost 150 new visitors to my blog, as well as 5 new subscribers in just a few hours. The last time I’ve seen results like that it was from StumbleUpon.

But I’ve been wrong before remember, when I talked trash about Wattpad last year until I learned how to dominate that site? Honestly, I don’t mind being wrong, however, I do mind staying that way. When I realized there was something to Pinterest, I had to investigate and of course, share what I’ve learned with you.

Do SEO & Hashtags Matter?

Yes, Pinterest is heavily focused on all things visual, but they also have an algorithm that favors certain keywords.  However the jury is out, when it comes to hashtags, not everyone agrees that hashtags even matter.  That’s because recently, Pinterest changed their algorithm so that certain hashtags aren’t searchable.

The Pinterest experts suggest that in order to get repinned you must have a good photo with key words in it as well as keywords in the description!  Notice how it isn’t as simple as post and run?

 

Meeting the Pinterest Superstars

As with Facebook and Twitter, there are power players that you should know about. In fact, it would wise to befriend these people so that you can enlist them in your Pinterest army. Pinterest itself makes it real easy to find power users.

As if that weren’t enough, there are also Pinterest boards that authors should be aware of. Here’s a list of “Bookish Pinterest Boards” via Book Riot.  Some boards are public like this one, which means you can post on their boards but only if your pin is relevant to the board.

The Time You Pin Matters Tremendously

Just like with any social media site, you need to be most active when your audience and the power users are online, otherwise, what’s the point?  If you haven’t noticed, Pinterest buries old content further and further down the timeline with newer, fresher content like Twitter.

From what I’ve noticed, my best results have been around the late afternoon and evening hours. It makes sense, people are most active online after school and work.  You can even schedule your pins using sites like; Hootsuite, Viraltag, and GoPixel.

Authors Who Would Benefit From Being on Pinterest

8540213301_b3e1dd4e55_z

By mkhmarketing via Flickr

Pinterest’s audience consists predominately of women, at 68% and of those women 50% are parents. Their ages range anywhere from 25- 44 but keep in mind, some of them are teachers, librarians as well as authors. If you’re a man don’t worry, this isn’t an anti-male site.  For example, I know of a male author on Pinterest who writes about mobsters as well as crime and he not only pins his books, but also articles about famous mobsters.  His account is well set out and you won’t catch him pinning things that don’t exemplify his personality or his work.  Same goes for Orna Ross author and founder of The Alliance of Independent Authors she also has an awesome account as well.

Tip: Don’t just use your boards to promote yourself, create one or two to help to promote others. I did so here with my board, “A Few Authors I Know” and another called, “Stories on Wattpad.” Even if you don’t have a large following, people will appreciate the effort and will reciprocate. This is how you build a loyal following on any social media site.

Short Cuts: Building Your Following Quickly

It was only a matter of time before people starting looking for ways to increase their following numbers and there is one website that caters to just that.  Hat tip to Hazel Longuet and her site “The Novel Experience” for the awesome Pinterest hack.  Viralwoot is a website that is similar to Twiends and ILikeTraffic where you pay for seeds and those people collecting seeds repin one of your pins.  It’s almost like cheating the system but not quite.  Those people who get free seeds can then use them to promote their own pins and yes, they can unpin or unfollow you quickly, it’s not unheard of with sites like this.

Well I hope I gave you a few ideas for using Pinterest to promote your book. I also hope I showed you not to knock a site until you’ve actually tried it.  I’ve opened the comments section if you want to share a link to your Pinterest account please feel free.

How to get Featured or Reviewed by Amazon

3961032967_c5e66412de_z

By Noelas via Flickr

Today marks the end of our Promotional Hacks Nobody Tells You About series and I saved the best for last. When I began this series I didn’t want to include this information because there were no cases of indie authors successfully pitching to Amazon. But there’s always a first time for everything right?  For those of you unaware of what I’m talking about, Amazon has a section on their website called, Editor’s Picks where they review and even feature author interviews.  They also have a blog called, Omnivoracious and an email newsletter that goes out to readers weekly and monthly. Today I’m going to show you the who and where to send your book if you want to be considered.

So Just How Do You Become A Chosen One?

I asked the kind folks at Amazon how does a book become an editor’s pick and got no response. So I went looking in chat rooms and read in this KDP Amazon Community thread which says you need to sell a lot of books just to get on their radar. However, that made no sense because several picks have been books by unknown authors.  The real reason why nobody in the indie community knows anything is because Amazon doesn’t want you to know. They get so many submissions from publicists and traditional publishers that they don’t want anymore dang books to add to their TBR pile!

Now here’s the kicker, Amazon only accepts review copies by snail mail! I was totally stunned when I heard the biggest online retailer in the world is using ye ole’ postman to pick their next big thing.  That’s something out of the NY Big 5 playbook.   Anyway, here’s the address:

Amazon.com

Attn: Editorial – [Product & Category]

701 Fifth Avenue

Suite 1500

Seattle WA 98104
*Hat tip to Aggie Villanueva on Goodreads for the info.*

Update: There have been authors who’ve reported that their books have been returned.  :'(  However, you can still email Omnivoracious here.  Just be sure to address it to the right editor.    

Before You Send Off Your Masterpiece

Amazon Features

By Nomadic Lass via Flickr

Keep in mind you have to be sure that all your ducks are in a row. When you submit your book, make sure you have the correct editor, here is a list of all of the editors and the genres they review.

Important Tip: Be sure to pitch Amazon during the end of your soft launch so that you have a few reviews just in case they need social proof.

What to include in your mailing:
1. A review copy or proof.
2. A brief cover letter with an awesome blurb/synopsis.
3. Your contact information; website, blog, or email.
4. If you don’t have any online presence, create a media kit with picture, bio etc.
5. A mention of  your book’s Amazon page (the exact web address).

In Conclusion…

Before I sign off, I think I need to advise you to not get too depressed when a major company like Amazon, doesn’t feature or review your book.  The publishing industry is very competitive and it was way before self-publishing even took off.  Besides, there’s always Kobo, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble, you know, they also feature authors.

Anyway, I hope you learned a trick or two that you can use for promoting your books.  I compiled these posts together with a few others to create an ebook called: Self-Publishing Hacks No One Tells You About and it’s available in PDF for free.  If you missed out on this summer’s blog posts, check it out here.  P.S. No, you don’t have to give your email address, when I say free, I mean FREE!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,782 other followers

%d bloggers like this: