Die Teilnehmer des Fellowship-Programms. Heute: Siobhan O’Leary, Crown Publishing Group, USA

Vom 4. bis 19. Oktober 2008 besuchen 16 Fellows auf Einladung der Frankfurter Buchmesse die Verlagsbranche in Frankfurt, München und Berlin. buchmarkt.de stellt Ihnen täglich einen der Teilnehmer vor.

Siobhan O’Leary ist Lizenzhändlerin bei der Crown Publishing Group in den USA www.randomhouse.com/crown. Sie bedauert, dass in den USA nur etwa drei bis vier Prozent der Bücher Übersetzungen sind und wünscht sich für den amerikanischen Buchmarkt mehr neue Stimmen aus dem Ausland.

Siobhan O’Leary

buchmarkt.de: Bitte beschreiben Sie uns Ihren Verlag …
The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., originated in 1933 and is known today for the broad scope of its publishing program and its savvy selection of authors and books.

The group is comprised of Crown, Crown Business, Crown Forum, Three Rivers Press, Harmony, Shaye Areheart Books, Clarkson Potter, Potter Craft, Potter Style, as well as all imprints of the Random House Information Group and Random House Audio.

We also have a new and welcome addition to our family in Watson-Guptill, which is renowned for its list of titles on art instruction and technique, photography, home decor, crafts, performing arts and more. Our diversified imprints are home to an impressive variety of bestselling authors, including Sen. Barack Obama, Martha Stewart, Deepak Chopra and Lisa Unger.

The beauty of working for the Crown Publishing Group is that our titles span a great range of categories, from business to body/mind/spirit and from memoirs to cookbooks. Collaborating with my colleagues and with subagents throughout the world, I sell translation rights to titles in all imprints, with a special focus on illustrated titles and on the Reference, Fodor’s, Living Language, Princeton Review and Prima Games titles of the Random House Information Group.

It has been particularly rewarding to work on long-term bestsellers like Sen. Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” and Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-hour Workweek”, both of which have been sold in more than 30 countries, and to coordinate co-editions and rights deals that have helped expand the reach of our top cooking and craft titles.

Mit welchen Schwierigkeiten haben Sie auf Ihrem Buchmarkt zu tun?
Book publishing anywhere in the world naturally faces challenges when people are feeling a pinch in their purse, and yet it is an industry with remarkable resilience. I think a great deal of this is owed to the fact that people who choose this career path have an incredible passion for what they do.

As publishers continue to explore the opportunities offered by new media, the industry will become all the more dynamic and adaptable. Crown, in fact, established an online sales and marketing department earlier this year to centralize its implementation of online initiatives.

In addition, we are starting to see the rise of more and more authors like our own Scott Sigler, who leveraged new media (specifically by podcasting his novels – a modern-day serialization) to build a die-hard fan base even before Crown published his novel “Infected” in April of this year.

My one personal crusade, if I had my druthers, would be to help increase the number of books in translation published in the US. According to most estimates, only 3 or 4% of the books published in the US every year are books in translation. Though I understand some of the practical reasons why this imbalance exists, I do feel that introducing new voices from outside our borders is essential to keeping our perspective fresh and versatile.

Luckily, organizations like the German Book Office, the French Publishers’ Agency, Words Without Borders, and the PEN American Center share the very important mission of drawing attention to such authors who would enrich our literary landscape. The monthly newsletter “Publishing Trends”, for which I used to write, also features books that have been particularly successful overseas but that have not yet been published in the US. It was the experience of reporting about those books that made this a cause near and dear to my heart.

Welche Erwartungen haben Sie an das Fellowship-Programm und die Frankfurter Buchmesse 2008?
The Fellowship Program is a meaningful realization of the ideals that lured me to publishing, and specifically foreign rights, in the first place. Our half-hour rights meetings are about so much more than pitching titles; they are forums for dialogue among nations and, on a more personal level, they are opportunities to catch up with friends, share photos and stories, and gain insight into the lives of people who live half a world away.

By participating in this program, I hope to foster new relationships while exchanging ideas about how our collective industry will continue to evolve. Having spent several months living in Berlin in 2006, I am also particularly thrilled to have an opportunity to go “home”.

This will be my fifth trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair and it is, quite honestly, my favorite week of the year. The fair requires months of preparation for those of us who work in rights and most of our schedules are booked solid by the time August rolls around, but I think we all identify it as a unique experience that teaches us something new every year.

This year, I am especially looking forward to featuring our forthcoming book “Mandela’s Way”, a book of lessons on life and leadership based on the life and work of Nelson Mandela, written by Time Magazine Managing Editor Rick Stengel, framed by the powerful story of his close friendship with Mandela (who will contribute a foreword to the book).

The familiar faces, the books that make a difference, the spontaneous auctions, the many languages spoken and overheard are all reminders of why we do what we do every day.

Das Fellowship Programm wurde anlässlich des 50. Jubiläums der Frankfurter Buchmesse 1998 ins Leben gerufen. In den vergangenen zehn Jahren hat sich ein enges Netz innerhalb der internationalen Verlagsbranche gebildet. Über 165 Teilnehmer aus 45 Ländern konnten bereits von diesem Programm profitieren. In diesem Jahr wird es von Martina Stemann von der Frankfurter Buchmesse organisiert und vom ehemaligen Fellow Laurenz Bolliger vom Berlin Verlag begleitet.

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