First, let me say that the blog is doing something wonky. I can see that there are comments there, waiting to be approved, but I can’t read the comment. So if you’ve posted a comment and it hasn’t shown up, that’s likely why.
I was, however, able to read the following comment this morning. And now I AM going to reply to it. In detail. In hopes that this reader (and others) will finally understand this very complex and frequently misunderstood subject:
ALLYYYYY!!!! i wrote on your blog before, and i askeda question. that
you still haven’t answered, when does your book release
internationally… im on vacay in europe and i am strating to feel bad
for people that live here because authors don’t even supply them with
the release dates for they’re country’s.
First, I don’t respond to individual blog comments because, as I’ve said before, the vast majority of blog questions are answered elsewhere and people will find those answers if they look for them.
I’m a big proponent of the looking.
But since this is such and incredibly common question that all authors seem to be getting a lot lately (and since it’s a question that people seem to be taking, basically, as authors slacking off and/or lying to them), I’ve taken 3 hours now away from writing the next book to answer it for you. In detail.
I hope that helps.
INTERNATIONAL RELEASE DATES
(Or…Why Google Is Your Friend)
Since I joined Twitter a little over a year ago, I’ve come to realize exactly how frequently ALL authors hear the same questions. Over and over again. And one of them is without a doubt the “When will ____ book be available in ____ country?” question.
On one hand, this is an incredibly flattering question because it means that people like us and want to read our books. Yay! Go us!
On the other hand, it’s a very frustrating question because the answer is almost always “we don’t know“. And not knowing stuff, believe me, is frustrating. Saying so and having no one believe us is even more crazy-making.
The problem, I think, stems from two things.
1. Authors have far less control, power, influence and knoweledge than anyone ever realizes.
This is why we can’t “get you a role in the movie”; we can’t “make our books into movies”; we can’t get you on the cover of the books; we can’t “make the books come out faster: or 90% of the rest of the questions we hear every day.
I know this is hard to believe. After all, our names are on the covers of the books. We WROTE the books. We control what happens to your favorite characters. Surely a little thing like knowing what date Heist Society will be on shelves in France should be a piece of cake for us!
Publishing is a big business filled with different people doing vastly different jobs (and, in this case, in vastly different countries). Believe me, authors genuinely don’t have any control/influence/or real power over those things.
And you know what? That’s okay. Because it’s my job to write the books. If I had to set pub dates and design covers or do any of the dozen or so things that people think I do then I’d never get around to writing more books.
And the goal is always more books.
All you really need to understand is that authors really are always the last to know. We aren’t lying to you when we say that. After all, I almost always find out when my exact US publication date is by looking at
Amazon.com–that’s right, I have to look it up.
And so can you by simply doing one or more of the following things:
* Ask someone who works at your favorite bookstore to see if they have a pub date listed in their system.
* Go to an online bookseller in the country where you are and look the book up there.
* Check the author’s website to see if the info is there (in the very rare instances when we have it, we post it. If we didn’t post it, please assume we don’t have it.)
* Check out the foreign publisher’s website to see if they have a date listed.
* Or…you know…Google. Google is your friend.
Remember, the world helps people who help themselves. So start helping yourself and you can also help authors everywhere to do what we’re supposed to be doing: writing the next book.
2. International publication doesn’t work the way people think it works.
This could actually turn into a big, mammoth, and utterly-confusing lecture on how international publishing works, but let me just summarize by saying this:
Have you ever heard the saying “all politics are local”? Well, for the most part, all publishing is local too. So just because a book is published in one country, that does not mean that it will be published in another country.
When an author sells a book to a major US publisher (like
Hyperion, Simon & Schuster, Random House, etc) there is any
combination of “rights” that the author can sell. (Where “Rights”= the
right to publish a book in a given country/language.) But no matter if the publisher gets World Rights or if the author retains them, in almost every case, someone (either the publisher or the author and his/her agents) is going to have to turn around and sell those rights to a local publisher.
Think of publishing rights like trading cards. Someone can get French. Someone can get Complex Chinese. Someone can get Simple Chinese. Someone gets Japanese or Indonesian, Dutch or German.
In order for books to hit shelves in a country, it must be sold to a publisher who is set up to do business in that country. That means that if a book is published in a dozen or so foreign languagues, the book is most likely published by a dozen or so foreign publishers.
And they all have different covers.
They all have different translations.
And most importantly for the sake of this discussion, they all have different publication dates.
All of them. Every single one. So when people say ‘When is your book going to be released internationally?” that’s a question that has no answer because there is no universal international release date. That simply doesn’t exist.
And considering that most of these publishers are doing business halfway around the world in a totally different language, it’s very easy to understand how we, the authors, don’t know all the details about when/how the book is going to hit shelves. In fact, when I do know about an international pub date it’s usually because some resourceful and self-reliant reader found out and told me (love them!).
Something else that’s very important to note is that there is no guarantee a book will be published in a certain country. Sure, my agents are very diligent about trying to find the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society as many foreign homes as possible, but sometimes–in some countries–some books just don’t fit and so no local publisher will buy them.
Also, it’s important to understand that when I sell to a foreign publisher I’m selling individual books, not the series. So if there is a foreign edition of LYKY, for example, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same publisher will also want to buy/publish Cross My Heart.
Again, I know this is confusing.
I know that readers wanting to read your books is a good thing.
I know people needing the next book right now is a great thing.
I know that in this day and age with twitter and blogs and emails we authors spend a lof of time online and it’s easy for readers to have access to us and think of us as friends. What’s the harm in asking your friend a question?
But sometimes, folks, we just don’t know.
And sometimes, Google is a far more knowledgeable and efficient friend than we are.