2 Seas Agency: 5 Delightful Years of Selling Foreign Rights

Exactly half a decade ago, on 28 June 2011, 2 Seas Agency started selling foreign rights on behalf of international publishers, agents and a select number of authors2 Seas 5 Years w Millie

By Marleen Seegers — Article published on 28 June 2016

Five years ago from today, I sent out 2 Seas Agency’s very first e-newsletter. Just a few months earlier, I was still having a blast selling foreign rights in France. I had never imagined that one day I would be launching a foreign rights agency with the most wonderful partner one could think of, and even less that this would happen in California… Always expect the unexpected!

selling foreign rights

Polish edition of ATTEMPTS TO MAKE SOMETHING OF LIFE (Albatros, May 2016)

The agency’s fifth year has seen a couple of amazing milestones. It was marked by the success of our best-selling title to date: Hendrik Groen’s ATTEMPTS TO MAKE SOMETHING OF LIFE, for which we are currently negotiating the 31st language sale. Interesting detail: Dutch publisher Meulenhoff, on behalf of whom we sell translation rights in this title, was the first client we signed on in June 2011!

Another one of our best-selling titles, THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE volume 1 by Riad Sattouf, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Graphic Novel, and is nominated for an Eisner Award.

In the past year we also opened a European office thanks to Junior Agent Chrysothemis Armefti. Despite her Cypriot origins, Chrys is based in Porto (Portugal), from where she started out as an intern one year ago. She joined me at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, which was the first time we actually met in person (thanks to our virtual office however, it is as if we shared the same physical office). I immediately knew she was the right person to help support the agency’s natural growth. She also joined me at the 2016 London Book Fair and, more recently, she attended the Lisbon Book Fair.

Traveling to different publishing hubs around the world remains at the core of our strategy of selling foreign rights. As mentioned before, Chrys has started to travel on her own and will continue to do so, covering areas that I am unable to go to—hey, there are only 365 days in a year! Earlier this year I spent nearly 6 weeks on the road, attending the London Book Fair, visiting publishers in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Paris, and ending my tour at the Turin Book Fair. Later this year I will return to Europe to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair, together with Chrys. I will also go and meet with publishers in two of our specialty markets, France and The Netherlands.

selling foreign rights

A “2 Seas reunion dinner” at the 2016 London Book Fair, with Jr Agent Chrys and former interns Jena, Giulia and Monica.

We wouldn’t have come this far without the support and enthusiasm of all the virtual interns we have worked with so far: Allison, Aviva, Brita, Georgie, our current web contributor Giulia, Jeanne, Jena, Jenna, Marcela, Monica, and Tori; and our two current interns Francesca and Molly.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to them, and to all of you, who have helped 2 Seas get to where we are now. I am looking forward to continuing this wonderful journey with you all, and to making even more books travel in the years to come!

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