Name: Emile Farley
Degree and university: BA Ancient History, Bristol (2004), MA Publishing, London College of Communication University of the Arts London (2006)
Title: Rights Administrator for SPCK Publishing
What do you actually do?
I manage the process of selling foreign rights to our books. This involves generating interest through emailing/mailing out Sales material (catalogues etc), meeting with foreign publishers at book fairs, sending out the books they are interested in for them to review, and then negotiating a contract when they decide they want to licence a book. I also draw up the contracts and then see they are signed and that we invoice the advance. Sometimes, when we sell a book to the USA , we make what’s called a co-edition deal, where we print the books for the US publisher. In this instance I also make sure that we have all the extra things we need from the US publisher (their cover, IS BN, copyright information) and that it arrives in time for the print deadline. In addition, I deal with all the permission requests that are sent to us when someone wants to reproduce some of our material.
What do you most like about what you doand are there any downsides?
It’s pretty varied. I can be writing a contract, negotiating terms, booking a stand at a book fair, or writing Sales material all in one day. I also get to set my own schedule, which is nice. In Rights there are not many hard and fast deadlines, so I don’t feel too pressurized most of the time. It’s only really in the run up to book fairs that things can get stressful. Of course, I would rather have more control over what books are produced. Although it’s nice that you get to work with a wide variety of books, it’s not much fun when you have to sell books you don’t like, or worse, don’t understand. Ultimately I’d like to be buying rights as well as selling them.
What strengths do you need to succeed at what you do?
Selling rights is all about organisation. With so many books and different foreign publishers the key is to keep on top of your workload. It’s good to be something of a salesman/negotiator as well, but there’s no real ‘hard selling’ in publishing, so you don’t necessarily need the gift of the gab. You are usually dealing with publishing directors or editors who know what they want, and will usually only offer on a book after consultation with their board. It’s more important to research the companies you’re dealing with and be good at selecting which books might interest them, so that you can target your selling.