by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
I’ve worked hard to make sure that my books are available internationally. They sell well in Canada, the UK, and Australia, in particular. Not only do I have them available through the Amazon sites in those countries, printed books are available internationally through Ingram. Because Ingram has printers all over the world, shipping costs are a lot more reasonable for international readers than purchasing a printed copy through Amazon.
But why are my books doing well in the previously-mentioned countries, in particular? Because they’re English-speaking countries. Although my books do sell in Europe, Japan, and India, the sales aren’t nearly as strong. This is completely understandable. I know with my college French that I wouldn’t want to tackle a book in French to relax. I want to read in my native tongue.
I first posted my books as available for translation on the site Fiberead, as mentioned in this post. But I haven’t seemed to be able to get any traction there. All I’ve done is sign a bunch of updated terms of service agreements.
I decided a few months ago to put a few of my Myrtle Clover books up on a different translation platform: Babelcube.
I’ll admit to doing this a little reluctantly. I knew that Babelcube, although most likely the largest platform, had a reputation for poor customer service on some indie author forums. But I also knew that I’m familiar with similar platforms: ACX (audiobooks for indie authors) operates much the same way. You audition for talent through their portal (pitching your book in the process), communicate with your audiobook producer through a portal, sign your contract through a portal, agree on deadlines for completion, and review work after certain milestones (first page, first 6 pages, etc.) This is also the way that Babelcube works.
Most significantly similar to ACX (and this will be music to self-published author’s ears), the process is free. You split royalties with your translator (as you’d split them with your narrator on ACX, if you chose a royalty share agreement). My only cost for the project will be an updated, translated, cover. This is worth a royalty split for me. It’s not cost-effective to pay for a translator out of pocket and so my books wouldn’t be translated any other way.
As opposed to Fiberead, I received interest in my series within a few months of signing up. The translator, Freddy Moyano, was experienced, had a solid resume of projects, and lives in the US. A translator’s place of residence can be useful because it may result in fewer culture-related questions from the translator. He’ll be translating several books into Spanish.
Soon after Freddy contacted me, another book received interest and is currently being translated into Portuguese by Fernanda Marchezini Brahemcha.
Taking the samples to a bilingual friend to check the content is a best practice. Spanish was easier to check than Portuguese.
I’ve set a date with my cover designer to incorporate the translated copy.
On my side, the process is very simple and easy. On Freddy’s and Fernanda’s sides, it’s a lot more complex and time-consuming. I’m looking forward to introducing my books to new audiences.
For further reading on both Babelcube and Fiberead, read Keith Dixon’s post on the ALLi blog, “Writing: How Helpful are Free Translation Services for Self-publishing Authors?”
Have you considered translation? Are you using Babelcube?