A funny thing happened on my way to getting my first novel published. The first edition came out in a foreign language. This was weird even according to my unorthodox experiences in publishing. Most authors sell foreign language rights to their work after the book has already appeared in the author's native tongue. Not me. My domestic agent at the time had just started shopping around the ms to my historical swashbuckler, The Witch From The Sea, when the foreign rights director at the agency sold the German-language rights to a company in Switzerland, who quickly landed a book deal in Germany. My agent was still trying to make a domestic sale when the first hardcover edition of my book arrived-in German. Now retitled Die Heimliche Piratin (The Secret Female Pirate), it featured cover art of a wonderfully atmospheric original painting, and a stitched-in red silk bookmark. It was a beautiful production, but no one I knew, including me, could read it.
(To add insult to injury, a Swiss friend of mine eventually did read it, and told me he didn't think the translation was very good. Great, I thought, I finally get a book into print and I didn't even write it!)
My domestic agent was never able to make a sale, and I finally took the ms back. About a year later, I received the second, trade paperback edition of Die Heimliche Piratin in the mail. It had another fabulous cover, a lovely Delacroix painting that fit the period exactly. Unfortunately, it was still in German, but it made me more determined then ever to get my book published in a language I could actually read. I got out the ms for one last re-edit, searched the web, and found a small press that was at that time specializing in women-oriented historical adventure. Six days later, they sent me a contract.
Most writers have some weird publishing tale or other, I'm sure. This is mine. I'm also fascinated by the way European cover art differs from the domestic variety, but that's another blog.