I sold a novel direct to a small/medium press for an advance; I had no agent. It releases soon.
I would like to sell some foreign rights translation for this book; those rights are owned by my publisher but I get a percentage.
Do agents ever represent foreign or sub-rights only for a book if the traditional rights have already been sold? I guess the query would say something to the effect of, “I’m seeking an agent to represent foreign rights only for my recent release…”
Or is that kind of thing too small-potatoes? Lemme guess: depends on the sales of the recent release?
I can’t help but feel that if they’re not coming to you, it’s just not that big. If the writer has to seek representation, then they don’t really need it. Because if the book sells a million copies, then the foreign rights people will come running no matter what you do. So, is it a waste to seek representation for that?
First let me clarify that those rights are not “owned” by the publisher. You have licensed them to the publisher to sell on your behalf, and if that’s the case there’s nothing for you to do in terms of selling or licensing those rights. If part of your deal was that the publisher handles those rights, that’s their job to do.
Agents will possibly represent foreign or subrights in a case where the author holds on to them, but typically that’s because the agent also wants to represent the author for other works and not simply the foreign rights for this work.
At this point you have nothing to seek representation for since you don’t hold the rights. If you did, I guess I would worry less about finding an agent for those rights and more about finding an agent for your next book. Once you’ve found an agent you can definitely discuss foreign rights possibilities.