A Day in the Life of a Sales Assistant

Today’s “Day in the Life” post focuses on how a book transforms from its UK edition form into its brand-new form as a foreign language edition. Every day in the Red Lemon Press office, a talented team of individuals sell books all over the world. In the video below, Sales Assistant Mariana Podmore takes us through the sales process from start to finish.

MarianaHiya, I’m Mariana, Foreign Rights and Sales Assistant to brand new Red Lemon Press, Weldon Owen and also Piccolia (another Bonnier company), as well as helping out with Hot Key when I have a spare minute! Today I’ll take you through the most exciting bit of working in foreign rights: actually selling a right, and getting to see your book published in a different language!

If you have any questions for Mariana, feel free to post them below and she’ll respond.

4 responses to “A Day in the Life of a Sales Assistant

  1. Gosh, I could ask a million questions for all of these behind the scenes posts. I am wondering a couple things, though. 1st, I was wondering if you ever get to travel to the foreign countries to do sales, or go to sales conferences? That would be fun :) 2nd, I was wondering if the authors are involved in the translations? I mean, is the foreign author who is translating the work, in communication with the original author? Is it kind of a collaboration?

    • Hi Gabby, thanks for your questions! Yes, travelling to book fairs is another great part of this job! There are 3 main ones: Frankfurt in October (this is the biggest one), Bologna in March (for children’s books only) and London in April. The book fairs are when publishers from all over the world get together to try and find new books for their lists, and in the case of the Rights team to try and sell the books abroad, so they are major events for us and a LOT of the assistant’s job is prepping for these beforehand (booking meetings for the team, getting the catalogue ready, booking travel, accomodation, shipping all the books back and forth), then after the book fairs you have to send loads and loads of samples out for all the new interests the Rights team has drummed up. As for normal sales trips, that usually comes as you go up on your career, then definitely yes, Foreign Rights Sales involves lots of travelling!

      As for translations, it varies, of course, but usually the foreign publishers do an independent job. They might come back to you if they’ve got any issues, or if they want to change the title drammatically for instance, but you do have to allow for translation being more than just translating the words – the content has to make sense for this other country, and so little adaptations can always be expected. You have to trust this publisher that you have chosen to publish your book abroad!

  2. How exciting! You have to chance to get books to people all over the world. My question is, how do you retain the tone or author’s voice between languages? Is that something you deal with, or is that up to the person who translates it?

    • Hi Katie, yes, that is an interesting issue. To be honest, it does fall to the translator and the foreign publisher and you have to trust that they love the book as much as you do, and want it to be just as great in their language as it is in yours! I think that is the great challenge for translators – going beyond just having the rights words on the page.

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