Not 100,000 Kingdoms, but quite a few

Just got another foreign rights offer! This one’s not signed yet, and I try not to talk about them until they are, but altogether The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is now available or will soon be available in a remarkable number of countries and languages. This is not an exhaustive list (because I’m doing it from memory; always a risky venture), but thus far the book has sold to:

  • Most English-speaking countries (Not sure about India; I’m a little fuzzy on whether everyone in the Commonwealth can buy from UK sellers. Frex Australia can — sometimes — and Canada can’t. It gets messy.)
  • Most Spanish-speaking countries
  • France (not Francophone countries to my knowledge, just in France)
  • Germany
  • Taiwan
  • Macao
  • Hong Kong (not mainland China, alas — traditional Chinese, not simplified)
  • Japan
  • Poland
  • Czechoslovakia

Nothing in the Middle East or Africa yet, but I have hope. And note that most of the above are print rights (occasionally ebook, no audio except English) and generally just for the first book of the trilogy, although some of the foreign publishers have come back to purchase rights for the latter books too. It all depends on whether the first book does well in the publisher’s country.

One of the things I didn’t understand when I first became a published author was how important foreign rights sales could be. This is one of the reasons why any author trying to get published should first seek a good agent, IMO, and ideally an agent that has an established relationship with lots of foreign rights agents. Many publishers ask for world rights, but then lack the infrastructure, translators, or contacts to actually publish in most other countries. By selling rights separately to publishers who are actually in those countries, there’s a much greater chance of the book actually coming out in multiple languages and markets. And the author might even make more money than if they sold the rights as a “whole world” package.

Not that we’re talking about a lot of money, note. Most foreign publishers are small, and there aren’t a ton of people willing to buy American fantasy novels in other countries. If I’m lucky I make (after agent fees; I do have to pay the foreign agents too, but it’s worth it since I wouldn’t be making the sale otherwise) an advance of a few hundred dollars on each foreign sale; if I’m luckier I’ll get royalties in a few months (or years). But considering it costs me nothing in effort to make these sales — the book’s already written, after all, and I don’t have to translate it — and in exchange I get the chance to build a readership all over the world? For somebody like me, who’s hoping for a long-term career in this business, retaining and selling foreign rights is absolutely crucial.

And no, if you’re wondering, I don’t get to see most of these books, nor do I have any input on how they’re marketed (except in rare cases). But it’s enough for me to know the text, translated or not, is being read all over the world.

So let’s hope for more! More Kingdoms! Ha ha ha!

17 Responses »

  1. I live in Greece, and would love to see your books come out in Greek :) I’ve already read them in English but would be lovely to know there was a fan community in this country too. Here’s hoping!

  2. In France, you say? YES!

  3. Alice,

    Tell a Greek publisher! Maybe they’ll listen. :)

  4. In France, you say? YES! I have a lot of friends/family in France, and they’re all big fantasy readers. I shall recommend forthwith.

  5. Suzanne,

    Yes, the first and second books are out in France, and I think the third one will be out soon if it isn’t already. Les Cent Mille Royaumes and Les Royaumes Dechus, sorry for the lack of accents. Dunno the third one’s title in French yet.

  6. If it’s sold to Germany (which it is, as you noted) then it’s available in Austria and Switzerland, too. :)

  7. Fantastic! Congratulations.

  8. Spain here ^_____^

    I read the first chapter of “Los cien mil reinos” (The thousand hundred kingdoms) in the web page of the spanish publisher, as a novelty advance. Yeine, Naha and Sieh caught me hard, so… I bought the book almost the same minute it was published. And the second and, I must say, I’m waiting forward for the last.

  9. I can happily report that I have been able to buy your books though audible.com from Denmark in English of course.
    So please thank your agent for that from me – some books are not available though the audible.com in my area which is very annoying.

  10. I am a new fan, N.K., and I’ve just finished “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” and listened to your interview/podcast at AISFP #153. I have purchased the other two books in the trilogy. Keep writing! I love what you are doing!

    The Disciple.

  11. Leydhen,

    Glad to know you’re enjoying the Spanish edition! I don’t think the Spanish The Kingdom of Gods is out yet, but I’ll post something here when I find out.

  12. Sidsel,

    I’m guessing you mean the audiobook version; for that I’ll need to thank the folks at Brilliance Audio, who produced and distribute it. :)

  13. Yukimi,

    Yes, I saw the Japanese cover several months ago — I love it! It’s quite beautiful and intriguing. I believe the Japanese publisher has just purchased the rights to the next book too, so that will be out soon!

  14. Bill,

    Thanks!

  15. I’m a little fuzzy on whether everyone in the Commonwealth can buy from UK sellers. Frex Australia can — sometimes — and Canada can’t.

    Canadians can buy both British and American editions. This is handy when the UK edition comes out earlier and more so when the US edition never comes out at all (At least one of Neal Asher’s* books was deemed too long for American SF readers and as far as I know Brookmyre completely lacks an American publisher at the moment).

    * Yes, guilty pleasure: sometimes I want to read about stuff blowing up and since I don’t want to sit through 30-pages descriptions of briefings, that leaves out Weber. I don’t recommend reading Asher’s blog (although his complaints about the Canadian Post Office are accurate).

  16. I really do hope, that the novels will be published in Hungary as well! ^^ During the last years, Rothfuss, Abercrombie and Scott Lynch have been published here, so why not? :D

    And by the way, I do not wish to be a pain in the neck, but:

    Czechoslovakia

    This country no longer exists! ^^ You have Slovakia and the Czech Republic instead. :)