Meet the DA team Translation Rights

Getting Into Publishing – Mary Darby Rights Executive

Don’t you have to know somebody who knows somebody who knew somebody else’s Grandfather’s niece? No. At least, not always. My job search, for example, didn’t involve anyone but countless internship enquiry letters and me. James Caan would have been proud.

Having recently returned from a year working as an English teacher in a far-flung corner ofPicture for blog BARBADOS the Caribbean, I was keen to steer my future career down a foreign path if possible, and fell in love with foreign rights. So I submitted my enquiry letters to a few choice publishers and waited. And waited…

The waiting was dreary and each rejection made me question my decision but at last an offer came in: A 6 week placement in the Rights Department at Bloomsbury. I was absolutely over the moon! But, I had to wait 8 more months! So I lived and worked at home in Norfolk to save my pennies.

The placement was to be part-time, temporary, and unpaid (enough to move to a new city for?) so I got myself a Saturday job at Stanford’s Map and Travel Guide Book Shop in Covent Garden. This Saturday job soon turned into a FridaySaturdaySundayMonday job so I was working 7 days but loved it all. Working at Stanford’s was absolutely brilliant experience. I enjoyed meeting customers (and travelling vicariously…) and learned a lot by talking to the buyers and floor managers, as well as the publishers’ sales reps. I also loved getting books into the hands of paying customers!

My 6 weeks interning were soon up but I was delighted to be kept on as a part-time assistant to the Bloomsbury rights team on a temporary basis. While I was there, the Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film Agency sent out an email which the kind rights people at Bloomsbury forwarded to me (okay, then I knew somebody who knew somebody).

I came for an interview for the part-time Rights Assistant job and have been here ever since! I continued at Stanford’s part-time, but was offered a full-time role at Darley Anderson after two months and went back to just doing Saturdays which I finally stopped completely after about 18 months.

Maryfbf.jpg blogI have now done three London Book Fairs and two Frankfurts and enjoy each one a little more than the last. The months before the fair are an incredibly busy time (I have just scheduled six meetings for this year’s Frankfurt and it’s only June!). Between reading all our new manuscripts and meeting with Scouts to talk about our new titles, we juggle what feels like a million things at once. And, as you can imagine, by the time the fairs come around, we are quite frazzled! But energised and excited too.

One of the things I value most about my job in foreign rights (apart from having a job in publishing) is working with such friendly and interesting people from all walks of life from all corners of the World. This includes authors, editors and everybody else in the industry. I also enjoy the social side of my job and I get to attend book launches, publisher parties and the odd film premiere and, to top it all, my home is filled to the brim with the latest releases which I am encouraged to read!  I feel very lucky indeed and not once have I had those Sunday Night Blues.

So, if you would love to work in publishing, start by finding out as much as you can about the role you are looking for and decide the kind of books you want to work with.

Approach specific people within organisations; if you want to go into foreign rights, or marketing and publicity, don’t contact the editor in chief just because theirs is the first name you found. The internet has made this task easier than ever, plus there are endless blogs out there, and agents and publishers are often on Twitter so get online and do some research.

Then be patient. Waiting can be stressful and the rejections disheartening. But, if you can, use that time to read read read (after all it could be the last opportunity you have to read ‘non-work books’).

Once you have that first foot in the door, get involved, take on over-time if you can, go to networking events and company meetings, ask questions, and be helpful. And, like I said, working in a book shop is a brilliant way to experience the completion of the publishing process.

It really isn’t all about being in the right place at the right time, most of it is persistence, determination, positive thinking (and a high tolerance to a pasta-pesto diet… ).

Much the same as what is needed to be an aspiring author. Funny that.

Meet the DA team

Getting Into Publishing

Have you ever wondered how on earth anyone actually gets into publishing? Are you yourself currently struggling to get your foot into any book-related door possible? Or do you just want to know a little more about us and our employment histories?

If you answered ‘YES’ to any of these questions then you’re in luck! In the upcoming weeks the Darley Anderson Blog will be letting you in on how we each came to be right where we are now.

They’ll be tips on how to make your way in publishing, irreplaceable insight into the inner workings of the industry and hopefully a nice overall feeling of everyone being in the same sort of boat together.

We will begin on Monday with our Mary’s story of how she became a Darley’s Angel.

Translation Rights

Book Fairs and Book Worms

Jon Holder has dedicated Monster of the Month to London Book Fair and has created these bookish creatures… And Mary Darby, Rights Executive, is talking foreign rights.

Reading Time colour

In the frantic run up to the London Book Fair I thought I’d take some time out from preparing for my 56 meetings and introduce you to the exciting, and somewhat mysterious world of Foreign Rights. I say exciting, because it truly is – we liaise with foreign publishers every day, discuss excellent books and lovely authors, and negotiate exciting deals. And I say mysterious because not many début and aspiring authors know foreign rights even exist…

LBF takes place next week (15th – 17th April) and Earl’s Court is bracing itself for another fantastic Book Fair where it will be filled to the brim with book people talking about… books! Rights people will be pitching next year’s bestsellers and editors will be looking for them.

Bestselling Darley Anderson author Tana French commented, “Before I was published, I knew basically nothing about foreign rights, and I didn’t even think about them.”

So if you’ve never heard of them, you’re not alone. However, Tana French’s books are now sold into 31 languages, so sit up and take note.

Foreign Rights (also known as translation rights) are one sub-right of many that make up a manuscript/book. They are the rights that mean the manuscript can be translated and published in another language. And the best bit? The author doesn’t even have to pick up their pen (or fire up their laptop) to write another word. Foreign editions are translated from the original manuscript.

Tana went on to say “I didn’t really expect them [the foreign rights] to sell; I was just crossing all my fingers and toes that the book would sell in English that even thinking about other languages felt greedy. So foreign rights sales still feel a bit magical and unearned to me, like un-birthday presents being dropped through the letterbox by a fairy godmother.”

Let me translate. What this means is that because we, the Agency, handle the foreign rights and not the publisher (foreign rights can be sold in bulk to the UK publisher – more about this later) the author receives an advance on top of any other advance already earned (UK & Commonwealth; US.). Each foreign rights sale is a separate deal and so is separately accounted. So as you can see, foreign rights can be very valuable and the author has had to do nothing more!

Alternatively, if the agent sells foreign rights to the UK publisher (WORLD RIGHTS) then the publisher’s in-house rights team will handle them. A publisher’s rights team won’t differ all that much from an agency’s rights team; deals are negotiated and rights are sold in much the same way. But, any income generated by foreign rights sales through a publisher’s rights team will go towards recouping the initial advance paid out. Only once the total sum has been recouped by the publisher will the author see any more pennies or pounds for that manuscript. This is what’s known as earning out.
Big difference and a discussion for another day.

As I’ve said before, if you’re an author thinking about submitting to our agency, think about international appeal. Will the manuscript work well abroad? Is it too British? Is it easily translatable and does it deal with universal themes? This isn’t a deal breaker, but it can be a sweetener, and as an aspiring author, it’s something to think about.

And also remember that I, and the editors I will be meeting with next week, will have between 15 and 20 back-to-back appointments each day, so please also bear us in mind before you submit and try the elevator pitch; you have 30 seconds to pitch your entire novel. Use this pitch in your covering letter; this will help the agent who opens your submission, and will help the rights agent pitch it to publishers at the International Book Fairs.

From Monday Earl’s Court will be buzzing with the sound of rights agents pitching their new titles to editors. Because the fair is only three days long, we try to cram in as many meetings as possible to make the most of the publishers being in our city. This makes for a really exhilarating and very busy three days. And we can’t wait!

LBF 2013

By Mary Darby

Darley Anderson Authors Interviews

An Interview with Tim Weaver

Tim Weaver talks to Mary Darby about VANISHED, the third terrifying thriller in the David Raker series…

Who is Tim Weaver?

I’m a writer, a journalist, a dad, a husband, a reader, a football fan, a film and TV obsessive, and a big fan of tea. (Well, I’m British, after all.)

Who is David Raker?

He’s an ex-journalist turned missing persons investigator, a widower, a reader, a football fan, a film obsessive, and a big fan of coffee. You can probably see why we get on so well. He’s also a lot more intelligent than me, stronger, more determined, and less fearful. Probably for the best given all the situations I drop him into.

What is VANISHED about?

VANISHED sees Raker looking into the disappearance of Sam Wren who, on his regular morning commute, gets onto a Tube train – and never gets off again. There’s no trace of him anywhere – no eyewitnesses, nothing on security camera, literally no sign that he ever got off the train. So where has he gone? And how did he vanish?

How did you research for VANISHED? The scenes in the London Underground made me see the tube in a whole new way; did you go down into the tunnels for your research?

I didn’t, no. Since 7/7, security has been ramped up a lot, so it was hard to organise an actual visit to the ghost stations. I tried, but it became a form-filling nightmare that just went on and on, and eventually I had to start writing the book! However, I got the next best thing: a man who’d spent his life working for the Tube, who was just a brilliant source of stories and facts, and a pile of books so high you could use them as a coat stand. Both were invaluable.

Where do you write?

At the moment, our house is undergoing a bit of a change-around, so my study is full of children’s toys. I’m basically homeless inside my own home! For the next couple of months, I’m writing at the dining room table, and using my wife’s old nursing chair (it sounds weird, but – seriously – it’s ridiculously comfortable). It’ll probably stay that way until Book 4 is done, as my submission deadline is in two months and I’m at quite an advanced stage, and then – once we’ve refurbished the other rooms in the house – I’ll finally claim back my study.

When you’re writing, do you prefer a pen or the keyboard? Silence or music? Day or night?

I handwrite a lot of notes, but that’s about as far as my relationship with the pen goes. I use a keyboard to plan and to write the books, I work in total and utter silence (rigorously enforced – just ask my wife), and I write at night ­– not because I’m more inspired at that time, but because I work as a journalist during daylight hours.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve just always been interested in words, in language, and in stories. I’d grown up reading thrillers – adventure thrillers mostly, like Ice Station Zebra and When the Lion Feeds – but, gradually, as I got older, I gravitated towards crime fiction, and in particular American crime fiction. I instantly fell in love with writers like Chandler and MacDonald, as well as modern successors like Michael Connelly. Reading Connelly’s Bosch series – as well as Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan and John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing – cemented my desire to write, and, in particular, to write crime and mystery thrillers.

What’s the worst thing about the writing process?

The stage you hit, between about 40,000 and 70,000 words, where you hate everything you’ve written and start to have serious doubts about its quality. That’s happened with every single book I’ve written, and it’s happening right now, today, on Book 4.

And what do you enjoy most about the writing process?

When a book’s published and you start to read the reviews, and get people’s feedback, and you realise it was all worth it. I love hearing from readers.

Do you ever scare yourself when you’re writing? Those tunnel scenes are very spooky!

I have to be honest, not really. However, I always find it fun when readers get in touch and say the books scared them. It’s pretty hard to scare people from the page, so if I manage it – even once a book – I feel a certain amount of pride!

Do you have any rituals you must perform when writing? Or when you’re about to deliver a new manuscript?

Boringly, no. This is my writing routine:

7.30pm – Cup of tea #1, check the internet, read over last chapter

8pm – Writing

9pm – Cup of tea #2

9.15pm – Writing

11pm – Check the internet, wind down, small edits

11.30-12 – Go to bed, fail to drop off to sleep

And when I finish a manuscript, I breathe a big sigh of relief that I’ve (somehow) managed to do it again, despite all the doubt and the fear and the tiny little voice, chipping away, telling me that I don’t have it in me to finish another book.

What do you like doing when you’re not writing?

Read! I don’t read any books – at all – when I’m writing my own novels because I find it too much of a distraction. So, once a manuscript is done, I catch up on all the reading I’ve been putting off for eight months, and basically just blitz books, back to back. Same goes for films, TV and videogames. Downtime is incredibly important to me, as I’m always trying to ensure my wife and daughter don’t forget what I look like, so I’ll generally try to ensure they’re front and centre when I’m not writing… although I’ll always make time to watch Arsenal and my local side Bath City, as I’m a massive, massive football fan.

Do you have a favourite author/book?

I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo back in 1993, and as a fifteen year old I was just completely blown away by it. His run of novels from The Black Ice in ’93 through to Trunk Music  in  ’97 were incredible, so the Bosch series (and also The Poet) will always have a special place in my heart because it feels, as a teenager, like I grew up reading them.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Probably Eighties action movies. You’ve got your classics like Aliens, Robocop, Predator, Die Hard, The Untouchables and The Terminator. No one can argue with those. But then you’ve got a whole lot of pretend-they’re-junk-but-secretly-you-like-quite-them destroyfests like Commando, Rambo III, Cobra, Red Heat and the Chuck Norris double-header Code of Silence (which, actually, is surprisingly good), in which he plays the one good cop in town, and Invasion USA (which, actually, is… er, not that good) in which he defeats THE ENTIRE SOVIET ARMY, and drives a Humvee through a shopping mall. Of course he does.

What are you reading now?

As I said earlier, I don’t read while I’m writing, but I do occasionally listen to audiobooks on the walk into work. Last week, I was listening to a BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of The Long Goodbye and Farewell, My Lovely. Toby Stephens was playing Marlowe, and I have to say, he was absolutely brilliant.

What’s next for Raker?

For Raker? Well, I wouldn’t want to say if you haven’t read the end of VANISHED. For me? I’m 77,639 words into Book 4, and have two months to finish the remaining 20-30,000. It’s something a bit different, that’s taken me out of my comfort zone, so it’s been a challenge (but a good one), even if it’s massaged those doubts even more keenly than usual.

What would be your top tip for aspiring writers hoping to get published?

Persevere. Don’t give up. Finish what you’ve started. Then, when you’ve finished, don’t rush it. Put the manuscript down and forget about it for a couple of months. Then come back to it and see it with fresh eyes. That was the difference between me getting a publishing deal and not. Sometimes it becomes so hard to see the wood from the trees when you know your book so intimately. Time away from it can give you the perspective you need.

VANISHED, published by Penguin, is out now!