Lingyu Zhang joined the IPR team as Account Executive in February this year, operating alongside Senior Account Manager, Neil Walker. She works closely with our Chinese publisher members, helping them to market their titles globally and to identify potential rights deals for their editors.
We met up with Lingyu recently to ask her about her role at IPR and to explain what Chinese rights professionals are looking to buy right now.
Please tell us a little bit about your background and what interested you about the role at IPR?
After interning at a publishing house and pursuing a BA degree in Literature in China, I came to London for my Masters studies in Anthropology. I enjoyed this city greatly for its diverse cultures and finally decided to stay. I was lucky to land this role at IPR and started working in publishing again.
Before I got into the rights business, I thought that completing rights deals online was something that had already been around for a while, but I only came to realise the amount of work involved when I became a part of it. It is exciting for me to have the chance to try new approaches in a traditional industry, and I do feel the fulfilment of bringing great books to their readers all over the world.
Can you give us a brief outline of a typical day for you at the IPR office?
Usually morning is the time to catch up with our Chinese publishers – as the time in China is 7-8 hours ahead. 9 in the morning is a great time for me to keep track of things happening there before everyone’s off work. After some exchange of emails and phone calls, I will be more concentrated on my own side: answering enquires, book scouting, matchmaking between sellers and buyers, and of course liaising with publishers in the UK and Europe. The casual vibe at the office makes me feel comfortable expressing myself freely and being pragmatic about problems, which I really appreciate.
Are there any types of books in particular that Chinese publishers are telling you they are keen to buy right now?
I guess self-awareness is in human nature, and Chinese publishers and readers are no exception. Chinese publishers are very interested in presenting titles so that the rest of the world can learn more about China and its culture, and in return to buy books that facilitate an understanding of China’s standing in the world. Also, as the number of intellectual readers increases, titles in cultural studies, arts and lifestyles are gaining popularity.
What was your favourite book that you read as a child, and why?
The Wizard of Oz written by Frank Baum. When I was a kid, I had a bookshelf on the headboard of my bed and this book was always lying there. When I was awake every Saturday morning, I would stay in bed and read this book again and again. I remember feeling this vague sadness every time when it comes to her coming back to the grey Kansas from that beautiful world – I didn’t understand this sadness when I was a child and it took me years to know what that feeling is actually about.
If there is one writer (dead or alive) you’d like to have cocktails with, who would that be?
Julio Cortázar. I don’t see him as a cocktail person but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if there was a nice jazz band playing.
If you are interested in getting in touch about Lingyu Zhang about her work with Chinese publishers, please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
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