Friday 30 March 2018

In praise of rights teams

by Paula Harrison

A small selection of the Rescue Princesses books that have been published internationally
I feel very lucky. I love my job and I don't have to climb bleary-eyed on to a commuter train to London at 7 o'clock each morning. Plus I get up to make a cup of tea whenever I want. This is no small thing.

Yet when I run a course for pre-published writers, as I did in London a fortnight ago, they've heard how little writers earn, how it's getting harder to make a living as an author. This is all true. The market is difficult. Celebrity writers are gaining a lot of shelf space. Many writers are hanging on through money from school visits or sometimes teaching writing to adults. BUT there is still a lot of excitement about debuts and a new author has that in their favour.

Another thing that makes children's authors very lucky is that UK children's publishers are simply excellent at selling foreign rights. Nosy Crow, the publisher of The Rescue Princesses (pictured above) has sold rights to those books in many languages including Italian, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Turkish, Romanian and Czech. The American publisher they sold rights to has published twelve books from the series.

If you pay attention to the children's book world you'll have noticed tweets and pictures coming from Bologna this week. Rights teams and agents fly out there every March and work incredibly hard. A huge part of the work (I am told) goes on before and afterwards, following up on appointments and so on. I'm massively grateful for their efforts and thrilled each time a book in a foreign language comes through.

Top: American and Polish editions of The Secret Rescuers from Nosy Crow
Bottom: French and Spanish editions of Robyn Silver from Scholastic
Seeing your story travelling round the world is an amazing feeling. I should also mention the fabulous work done by translators such as Nicolas Ancion who translated Robyn Silver into French and the amazing artwork produced by talented illustrators around the world including Alban Marilleau whose cover artwork is pictured above.

No doubt rights teams are wheeling their suitcases back home right now feeling pretty exhausted. Well, I would just like to say a HUGE


And Happy Easter! Apologies that the blog is a short piece this week - I blame the Easter baking! I will leave you with a picture of the new Rescue Princesses book out very soon. The Enchanted Ruby is the 13th book and publishes as part of a refresh for the series. The beautiful illustration pictured is by Sharon Tancredi.


  1. I totally agree, rights people do a fabulous job for both authors and publishers, but their role is often unsung. It can't be much fun going to a book fair and then spending the whole day in endless meetings!

    1. At least they get to talk about books all day which must be some compensation!


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