Anna Kovacs is a Foreign Rights Director. She’s been with Quarto for over 12 years and is based in London.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am originally from Budapest, Hungary. I moved to London in 2004 to follow my heart and found the job through an advert in the Guardian newspaper only three days later. It felt like fate, particularly as finding jobs via advertising with no personal connections, was unheard of in Hungary at the time.
Tell us about and your job at Quarto?
I work as Foreign Rights Director and I’m based in our headquarter office in London (UK). I run a team of 11 people and we sell the foreign language rights of some of the Group’s books to international publishers around the world.
What’s a typical day for you?
My typical day involves a lot of listening, advising and problem solving. I spend a lot of time with my team, making sure we are following the best sales strategies for our books across all markets. I also constantly talk to the editorial teams whose books we are selling, as well as all the other departments we work with to keep improving our products, processes and services. There is quite a lot of travelling too, visiting our customers.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from working at Quarto?
The valuable thing I have learnt from working at Quarto is that passion and care are indeed the best strategy. It is our philosophy of genuinely caring about our partners’ success that has made us grow into one of the industry’s biggest and most professional rights departments.
Which skills do you need to work as a Foreign Rights Director?
A Foreign Rights Director requires many skills, but I would say the most important are people management skills, the ability to quickly grasp market and customer needs, a strong sense of strategy and an open mind. Being able to speak several languages helps a great deal too.
What advice would you give someone who wants to apply for a role at Quarto?
This company is full of very driven and passionate people: be prepared to give 200%!
What’s your favourite place in London?
I LOVE the National Gallery’s museum shop: full of art, books and innovative ideas. And a certain quiet little bar, which serves the world’s best Martinis…
What is your favourite Quarto book?
I guess as a sales person, I am inclined to develop a soft spot for books that sell best – hence my enthusiasm for instance for the Crochet Stitch Directory which sold 70,000 copies in Holland alone (!), even though I am hopeless at needlecrafts.
On a personal level, I am currently in love with 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die, it is a fascinatingly visual overview of both the history of photography and of the second half of the 20th century.
Finally, if you weren’t working in book publishing, what would you do?
I really enjoy the buzz and wide horizons of international sales so I might be in a similar role in another industry, for example fashion. Or I would be making wildlife documentaries.
Behind the scenes