When my agent Luigi Bonomi sold Origin to Headline Publishing, it was for 'world rights.' As the subject of rights is something that is rarely discussed, I thought it might be useful to share my own experiences.
A book can be sold in various territories; sometimes books are sold for UK rights, or Commonwealth rights (sometimes with exclusions), or UK/US rights, and so on. In the case of world rights, the publisher has bought the right to publish in, distribute to, or sell to other publishers in, all world territories.
In terms of what this actually means, most publishers will be able to distribute worldwide, but will sell the rights on for foreign translations.
This is what is happening to Origin at the moment. It is due to be published by Headline in Commonwealth countries on 25th October, and the foreign rights division is also engaged with various other countries to sell translation rights.
The United States is treated separately. Hachette (which owns Headline) also owns two US publishing companies (Little, Brown and Grand Central Publishing), and so they will get 'first refusal'. If they do not want to publish it, it will go out to other US publishers.
It's a complicated business!
But the good news is that Origin was apparently the most requested title of the London Book Fair (!), and so the final edited manuscript will be going out to the interested parties in the next few weeks.
Also I have just been offered my first radio interview, with Bradford Community Broadcasting (http://www.bcbradio.co.uk/)! I'm going there on Monday, so I'll report back how it went!