One of the many quirks and perks of publishing is having your work on bookshelves overseas. It's pretty much all thanks to the rights team at your publishing house. As well as representing your stories at the big international book fairs, they work year round to try and get your books printed and distributed by other publishers all over the world.
Of course, writing a story with universal appeal also plays a part, as does having a smart editorial team with insight, foresight and eyesight - it helps to be paired with an illustrator whose work has appeal in more than one market. Tastes and trends differ across the world; if you're lucky enough to travel overseas, check out the kids sections in book shops and you'll see.
I was recently lucky enough to visit the stunning ZiNiN Bibliotheek library in Nijverdal, Nederlands where my books are stocked and borrowed. The photo below shows my lovely little friend Sofia with a copy of 'Hoe Je Een Wollige Mammoet Moet Wassen in Tien Lessen' ('How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth in Ten Lessons'). It's a popular book by me and illustrator Kate Hindley. This particular version was translated by Dutch children's writer Imme Dros and published by Querido.
How to increase your chances of co-editions?
Try rewriting one of your texts in prose.
'How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth' was originally a rhyming story when Simon & Schuster first took an interest in it. My would-be-editor suggested I rewrite it in prose. I wasn't convinced I was capable, but I put on my poker face and said of course I could. The resulting story has now been printed (and reprinted several times), in ten languages at the last count - all thanks to Simon & Schuster's brilliant business brains, Kate Hindley's gorgeous art and a seemingly timeless interest in prehistoric mammals.
It really is a wonderful feeling to know kids and families are enjoying your stories all over the world. Huge thanks to the Vloon-Taliani family and ZiNiN Bibliotheek for the warmest of welcomes.
Michelle Robinson is a