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Old 10-10-2010, 03:06 AM   #1
Kumabjorn
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Translating indie authors

One of the benefits a large publishing house brings an author is the possibility of being published in other languages. They have connections with publishers in other countries who have access to translators as well as a distribution network in their own markets. An independent author/publisher is somewhat stymied (or so I imagine) in that field.

So I'm thinking herein lies a golden opportunity. Granted I don't know enough about setting up an on-line presence, but if someone here who already runs a business selling and marketing indie authors would be willing to lend a hand, I sure would be willing to translate and selling books on the Scandinavian market (not the biggest in the world).

Let's spread the word!
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:51 PM   #2
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Wow, I hadn't thought of that. It's an excellent idea, but of course, the starving indie authors probably couldn't afford even a modest translation fee, unless they're already selling like hot cakes in their native language.

What might work would be some sort of revenue-share with the translators, assuming the author can show that he's selling a decent number of books at home.

--Maria
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:11 AM   #3
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Great idea, Kuma! There is just one tiny problem: Distrubution. If you want to have a big distrubution, you need to use Elib. And Elib only accept publishers.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:26 AM   #4
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@meromana

Yes, I was thinking of some kind of revenue sharing setup. That way sales in the foreign language becomes part of the translators renumeration and will reflect the effort they put into the work. Obviously sales in the domestic market is an incentive, but sometimes authors just have a voice that will be heard better in another setting. In Sweden we have an author whose sales are kind of dismal in Swedish but he is very hot in French translation. Is often on bestseller lists in France.

@mikaelalind
I had assumed that epub and mobi are the two formats that need to be supported.
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mikaelalind View Post
Great idea, Kuma! There is just one tiny problem: Distrubution. If you want to have a big distrubution, you need to use Elib. And Elib only accept publishers.
How do they define publishers? I believe I'm a publisher. At least Kungliga Biblioteket thinks so, and they've given me 10 isbn's for starters.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:25 AM   #6
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I confess, I've wondered about this; but my conclusion was that it would only be worth getting translated in order to sell to other countries if one had managed thousands of sales.

Remix is doing well - it's spent the last three weeks bobbing up and down between 128 and 500 in the UK Kindle store - but it'll be a while till it reaches thousands of sales.

I'll get back to you when it does.

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Old 10-13-2010, 06:36 AM   #7
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How do they define publishers? I believe I'm a publisher. At least Kungliga Biblioteket thinks so, and they've given me 10 isbn's for starters.

This is from their webpage:

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Elib offers a complete package of services for publishers wishing to distribute e-books and audiobooks over the Internet
They never define what they mean with publishers, though.
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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I'll maybe add them to the list when I start distributing my book(s). Although elib, operating as it does in Sweden, is probably primarily intended for books in Swedish and I write in English.
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:11 PM   #9
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I'll maybe add them to the list when I start distributing my book(s). Although elib, operating as it does in Sweden, is probably primarily intended for books in Swedish and I write in English.
Yepp. There are a couple of books in English, though. So it isn't impossible
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:27 PM   #10
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Yepp. There are a couple of books in English, though. So it isn't impossible
Or one of you can translate it for me. I _am_ an indy author!
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:33 PM   #11
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I am looking for translators and I'm already working with several. I pay 10 percent royalty. That may not seem like much for the amount of work, but when you consider there is no overhead and the money should roll in (or trickle in) for the life of copyright, it can really add up. Email me at hauntedcomputerbooks AT yahoo.com if anyone is interested and able.

Seems like a sensible model to me.

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Old 10-14-2010, 09:29 AM   #12
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What might work would be some sort of revenue-share with the translators, assuming the author can show that he's selling a decent number of books at home.
If there's no payment upfront, in europe, translators tend to get one third the amount of royalty authors get (if the author gets 15%, the translator get 5%). Translators do not have to format/edit though.... I guess if an Indy author wants someone to take care of that as well the percentage will go up. Since there's no further costs 50-50 doesn't sound unreasonable.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:23 PM   #13
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If there's no payment upfront, in europe, translators tend to get one third the amount of royalty authors get (if the author gets 15%, the translator get 5%). Translators do not have to format/edit though.... I guess if an Indy author wants someone to take care of that as well the percentage will go up. Since there's no further costs 50-50 doesn't sound unreasonable.
By 50:50 do you mean that they split the 20% in your example as 10% each? I'm thinking that an Indy author is his own publisher, so your 10% as translator is the same as Scott is offering.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:44 PM   #14
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By 50:50 do you mean that they split the 20% in your example as 10% each? I'm thinking that an Indy author is his own publisher, so your 10% as translator is the same as Scott is offering.
That sounds as very, very little to me. Those I know that translators get between 2k and 5k euro fixed for the translation of a standard fiction book, or some ~30% of royalties. Mostly, I've heard of publishers in the smaller, north european countries paying 1500-3000 euro for the publishing rights of a book--that pays the author and original publisher. The translators either also get an up-front payment, or a royalty, but I don't know how much.

Most awkward, it seems that in most European countries the copyright of the translated work lies with the translator, even if paid an upfront lump sum.

Offering 10% of the royalties for a country with between 5 and 15 million inhabitants won't make it worth for any translator to translate a book that won't be a bestseller. That's even more the case if there's not a publisher involved that takes care of the editing and formatting -- because this will take a translator even more time.

Looking from a different angle, a translator grosses between 20 and 30 k euro a year, if translating a book takes 1 month, ~2k euro should be the prospective income.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:35 PM   #15
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I would love for translators to get in touch, and I think Scott's offer sounds about right. If interested send me a mail, please follow the link in the signature.
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