In 2013, buying and selling rights in the digital age has never been easier – or harder. Clearly, good books can – and do – come from anywhere. And if you’re a literary agent or literary scout, that’s also the challenge: getting to the good works is as laborious as prospecting for gold. Even while the Internet allows for virtual deal-making, the emphasis for agents like Gail Hochman remains on the personal.
“When my office sells book rights in other countries, we develop a very personal relationship with that publishing house,” explains Hochman, president, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. “When the corporate publishers sell it, I get an excellent deal and fabulous teamwork on their rights department side, but somehow, my author is usually at arm’s length.”
At the recent Yale Publishing Course, Hochman-the-agent joined Maria Campbell-the-literary scout to dispel misperceptions about global publishing trends. As popular as American authors remain, says Campbell, the publishing world has gone multi-lingual.
“International publishers are looking to each other more and more to discover new writers from languages other than English,” Campbell tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “There are bestsellers coming from Sweden. There is a bestselling literary novel from France. There are more and more books in Italian. And I think this is only going to increase.”
The annual Yale Publishing Course – with separate week-long programs in “Leadership Strategies in Magazine and Digital Publishing” and “Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing” – draws mid- to senior level publishing professionals from over 30 countries, from Abu Dhabi to Athens, Shanghai to Sao Paulo, and from all over the United States. The intensive five days of each program held at Yale University includes overview lectures of industry trends and challenges, case studies, hands-on sessions involving active class participation, and one-on-one counseling with the speakers.