Selling Foreign Language Elliott Katz header

Elliott Katz is the bestselling author of Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants and six other non-fiction books. He is a professional speechwriter and has written on a wide-range of subjects from the outdoors to the economy to how to stimulate ideas and innovation in the workplace.

When Elliott wrote Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants he was only writing it for himself and his friends. Shortly after he put it up on Amazon he was approached by agents in Mexico and Poland. That’s when he realized the book has international appeal and he became interested in the topic of foreign publishing rights. To date, the book has been translated into 24 languages.

Our conversation delved deeply into the topic of how to license and sell foreign language publishing rights even if you are a self published author. Elliott talked about the three major advantages of selling in foreign markets. He also talked about pitfalls to avoid when negotiating foreign publishing rights contracts.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation.

  • Books aren’t like toothpaste. People look at your cover and they are looking for a book to help them with their problem. If you have a good cover and good information your book will do well.
  • The Internet makes it much easier to find agents who want to sell your book in foreign countries. (There are links below to help you find foreign agents for your books.)
  • The benefit to having an agent in foreign countries is they have contacts in their publishing industry. It makes your book stronger to have an agent standing behind it.
  • Before you seek out a foreign agent ask yourself, “is this a book that would appeal to foreign markets?”
  • Cultures may be different but human nature is the same throughout the world.
  • In the United States and Canada it’s very common to have one agent represent you exclusively. In foreign countries you can often have several agents representing your book. When foreign agents ask for exclusivity don’t feel like you have to say yes. Think about it and the way your options before moving forward.

Selling Foreign Language Elliott Katz quote image

3 Advantages to Selling Your Foreign Rights

1. It is another income stream.
2. You reach people in parts of the world that don’t speak English
3. It gives your book an extra layer of credibility it wouldn’t otherwise have.

A Standard Foreign Rights Publishing Deal

The deal is typically structured like this:

In their initial offer the publisher will tell you how many books with a plan to print and the commission you get on each book sold.

So let’s say a German publisher wants to print 5,000 copies of your book and sell it for the equivalent of $15 US. They want to give you a 7% commission on the first 5,000 copies.

When you do the math 7% x $15 x 5,000 copies = $5,250.

The Formula for Calculating Your Advance on Royalties

Here’s the formula most publishers use to calculate your advance on royalties for this kind of deal:

Royalty Rate x Retail Price x # of Copies in First Print Run = Your Advance

After the German publisher sells those 5,000 copies, you have “earned out” your advance and you will be paid royalties at the agreed-upon royalty rate on all sales after the first 5,000.

It’s important to maintain contact with your publisher because some publishers aren’t good about sending regular royalty statements. Having a literary agent who specializes in foreign rights can help because their job is to follow up on these deals and make sure you keep getting paid.

One thing you can negotiate is your royalty rate after the first printing. It’s legitimate to ask for a raise because in the first printing a publisher factor in the cost of a translator. The translation of your book is a one-time cost so it’s fair to ask the publisher to give you more money on a sliding scale as they sell more books.

It is also important to note that when you sell foreign publishing rights, the only thing you’re selling is the right to publish your book in that country. You’re not selling merchandising rights or movie rights, and you should avoid selling worldwide rights for a specific language in most cases (exceptions may apply, so do your research!).

Email Template Letter to Send to Foreign Language Rights Agents to Sell Your Book Internationally

Dear [Name],

Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man is right for your market.

It helps men improve their relationships and save their marriages.

As one woman wrote: “If my husband of 38 years had understood these basic but crucial truths, our marriage would not have disintegrated.”

A man wrote in an customer review: “My wife has noticed a change in me for the better. This book has saved our marriage.”

Click on the link above and read more Amazon customer reviews.

Extensive media interest

The author has been interviewed on numerous radio and TV shows. Here’s sample TV interview. Breakfast Television, Canada’s largest morning TV talk show: Elliott Katz on BT (Breakfast Television): – YouTube

Award winner!

Winner of the USA Book News Best Books Award for books on men.

Review excerpts

“For all those sensitive New Age guys out there who want to improve their love lives and themselves.” The Edmonton Sun

“The wisdom is remarkable.” The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

“Full of useful examples on how to be a better man” Clarence Bee, Buffalo NY

“A minuscule investment for improving, much less saving, a marriage.” Lazer Brody, Lazer Beams

Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man is 128 pages and retails in the United States for $12.95.

Written for men, women buy the book and give it to the man in their lives and say, “This is all I have been trying to tell you all these years!”
Below is a full review from Metro newspaper as well as the book’s Table of Contents. If you’d like a reading copy, please reply with mailing address.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Elliott Katz

[email protected]

Review: Yes-men shirk responsibility?
by Kasia Iglinkski
Metro newspaper, Canada

He’s the guy we think we all want to date. Smart, handsome and says yes to everything — from giving us back rubs to taking out the trash.

Then we date him and that wanting-to-please manner we first thought so charming makes us want to hit our heads against a wall. Instead of a straight answer to questions like where to go for dinner, we’re left with a frustrating “it’s up to you.” He’s a “yes” man, no matter how big or small the decision may be. He’s whipped. We’re annoyed.

But it doesn’t have to be that way says Elliott Katz, author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man

“They think they are being nice guys,” says Katz on why many men leave the decisions up to women. “But what they are really doing is shirking responsibilities.”

Instead, both partners need to take control and deal with the challenges that occur in their relationship. Part of that ownership of a relationship comes from getting rid of that “yes dear” mentality some men have.

“It’s not about being domineering. Women want a guy who knows what he wants,” says Katz, who came to this realization soon after his own marriage ended several years ago and he wanted to know why. He began to understand that many men today are too passive about their relationships.

“We respect people who take charge,” says Katz. “We don’t admire people who stand back and wait for others to solve the problem.”

A dating blunder Katz often hears from men is they are always asking their date where she would like to go for dinner.

“Instead of asking, suggest a place,” says Katz. “This shows you are capable of making a decision.”

What can a woman do to help her man become more decisive? Katz recommends giving him this book.

Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man
Table of Contents
A woman wants a strong man,
by Robert A. Glover Ph.D. (author of No More Mr. Nice Guy)
The story behind the journey

To women reading this book: How to encourage a man to be stronger
1. If you don’t lead, I can’t dance
2. Being strong
3. Knowing what you want
4. Leadership
5. It’s not being controlling
6. Listening
7. Being worthy
8. Being entitled
9. Taking full responsibility
10. Growing stronger
11. Being manly
12. Giving
13 Setting goals
14. Knowing what’s going on
15. Think before you act
16. Making decisions
17. Watch men who are strong
18. Money
19. The big house
20. Working
21. This is what it’s meant all along

Links to Lists of Foreign Language Rights Agents and Subsidiary Rights Literary Agents

These are links to lists of foreign rights agents who can help you license your books to international publishers.

Books by Elliot Katz

Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man

Great Country Walks Around Toronto: Within reach by public transit

The Complete Guide to Walking in Canada: Includes Day-hiking and Backpacking

Great Canadian Adventures Guide

The Snack Bar Gourmet: Versatile Treats for People on the Go — A recipe book for homemade snack bars

Complete Guide to Backpacking in Canada

Contact Elliott on his Website

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