My Job In 5: Vanessa Garden, Rights and Coeditions Sales Executive, Tate Publishing

My Job In 5: Vanessa Garden, Rights and Coeditions Sales Executive, Tate Publishing


Describe your role...
I handle world rights sales for Tate, working across both the art and children’s lists. The job includes working closely with the gallery’s international touring partners on co-publications as well as licensing our trade and children’s books all over the world.

What do you like best about your role?
It’s a privilege to have such a beautiful list to champion, and the best part of the job is meeting international publishers, talking about the books and finding people who feel as passionately about them as we do. I love the satisfaction of holding a translated edition in my hands, especially if it’s been a particularly hard-won deal.

Do you get to travel a lot?
I travel for all the major fairs—New York, Frankfurt, Bologna. Face-to-face meetings are such a crucial part of rights sales and overseas trips are the best way of getting a feel for what books are working in different markets at any given time.

Which new titles are you working on at the moment?
We have some really fantastic exhibitions at Tate in 2015, with catalogues and books around them attracting a lot of interest from international publishers. I’m also really excited to have new books from Quentin Blake and Alice Melvin in the pipeline. I love having the chance to present new work from such established, well-loved names, but I also love introducing people to the work of new writers and illustrators such as Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow, whose book A Possum’s Tail is proving a real hit.

What advice would you give to someone looking to work in the industry?
Rights requires quite a diverse skillset: a head for detailed contract work; an understanding of different world markets and sensitivity to other cultures; strong numeracy and negotiating skills; and of course you do really have to enjoy getting out there and selling. You work with people from all areas of the publishing process, from editorial and marketing to production, warehousing and shipping, so it helps to understand as much as you can about what your colleagues do.