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Translation How-To: Everything US Authors Need to Know about the German Market RWA 2014 Courtney Milan – Ute-Christine Geiler Birte Lilienthal.

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Presentation on theme: "Translation How-To: Everything US Authors Need to Know about the German Market RWA 2014 Courtney Milan – Ute-Christine Geiler Birte Lilienthal."— Presentation transcript:

1 Translation How-To: Everything US Authors Need to Know about the German Market RWA 2014 Courtney Milan – Ute-Christine Geiler Birte Lilienthal

2 Overview The Potential of German Sales / Goals of Translation The Translation Process – What to look for in a translator – Things to think about for the finished product Distribution & Promotion for Digital Books Legal Issue Brief breaks for burning questions between each of these subsections, but please reserve most questions for the end.

3 Part I: The German Digital Market German market is small but growing – probably third largest digital market in the world (after the US and the UK) A small percent of readers read in digital – about where the US was at the end of 2010, just before digital took off.

4 Some numbers to give you an idea Amazon: about 40-50% of the German market Apple / Kobo: tiny ; B&N: zero Some German players you have never heard of: Tolino has very large market share, with their e-reader the Tolino Shine. Reach: On, if you are at #100, you are probably selling 100-150 copies/day. In the US, you’re selling between 800-1200 copies a day at that same slot.

5 Sales Potential (over time) My first novella went up October 2011. – 25,768 ebooks – 1508 print copies – $12,947.09 total income First full-length book went up June 2013 – 9,269 ebooks – 406 print copies – $24,242.70 total income

6 How to know you’re ready for translation (overview) Do you have the skill set necessary to self-publish a book in translation? Is there demand for your subgenre in Germany? – E.g. contemporary romances, European historical, paranormal all do well – Western historical, cowboy/ranch books less so – You can tell by looking at the best selling books on Is your book of a sufficiently commercial quality that will make the translation viable? – If you can’t pay for the translation from earnings for that book, it might not be ready for it.

7 How to know you’re ready for translation (cost) Translation is an investment. – German translator organization suggests a charge of 18 euros (~ $24) per finished standard page (1800) — on the order of $10,000 for a 90,000 word book (no editing/proofreading – just translation) – Libelli Agency charges 12 euros per 1000 characters – 7000 euros per full-length book ($10,000) – PDF circulated by Tina Folsom: translators charge.10 euro per word ($.13) + 10% project management fee + 10% royalties = $13,000 Plus royalties (we will explain why this is necessary in legal)

8 Part II: The Translation Process Finding a translator The translation process Editing Proofreading

9 How to Find a Translator Good translators are busy. Libelli is booking for late 2015 at this point & does not need new clients. You want a literary translator who has translated your subgenre of romance – E.g., in historicalromance: the way that titles translate are a German convention; need someone familiar with that convention. You want someone who is a good translator.

10 How to Find a Good Translator, II Go on, find people who have translated in your subgenre, try to find contact information. (NOT EASY.) OR – Odesk, Elance Need to have someone you trust who can speak German well and reads romance Sample translation @growlycub on Twitter is willing to do this (for a fee) – so talk to her! (Or find someone else your trust)

11 Bad translations ENGLISH ORIGINAL: The moon could ignore the earth more easily than he could turn away from her. It took every ounce of willpower he had not to smile at that. Instead, he gave her a level look. “I don’t pronounce anything with exclamation points.” “No?” She shrugged this away. “Then there’s no time like the present to start. Repeat after me: ‘Let’s hear three cheers for the women’s vote!’”

12 Bad translations GOOGLE TRANSLATE: The moon could the earth more easily than he could turn her ignore. It took every ounce of willpower he had not to that smile. Instead, he gave her a level look. "I know not all speak with an exclamation mark." "No?" She shrugged off this. "Then there is no time like the present to start Repeat after me." Let's hear a cheer for the women's vote "!

13 Translation as an Art Every translation is a new work of art Translator should: – Live in Germany – Daily contact with the German language ESPECIALLY for contemporary/New Adult with slang in use Translator has to get facts right Idiomatic expressions

14 Translation as a business A good translation takes time: 3 months for a 90,000 word book Think about living expenses: $10,000 to translate a book, not a whole lot for 3 months, especially if you have a family People who charge less must be spending less time on the book A good translator invested in the final product will give you better work – this is something you get with royalties Translators are our fellow authors in another language

15 Editing process No content editing is necessary (usually) Stylistic/line-editing is necessary just as it would be in the US


17 Editing notes Translator approval is necessary for any changes (we’ll talk about this more in legal at the end). Any translator who refuses to work with editor probably isn’t any good Editor needs to know romance genre Work out a process and a timeline in advance Editor – translator: you should have them talking to each other

18 Proofreader Proofreader needs to be good Proofreading is hard because German has had multiple ongoing German language reforms. (Yes, they do have such a thing. They’re German.)

19 Part III: The production process Formatting Blurbs Titles Covers Keywords Pricing

20 Formatting Useful to speak German because they need to detect: – Scenebreaks – New Chapters – If you are using hyphenations in your print books, you need to make sure your hyphenation dictionary is German, or it will split it like an English word. – BEST OFF: Not using hyphenations at all.

21 Blurbs Don’t just translate the English blurb – Marketing is different – Have the translator write a new blurb in German

22 Titles Please do not just translate the title of the book – Sometimes (especially if your title is an idiom / pun) this is awkward – Sometimes it just doesn’t work Talk to your translator There are also title protection issues (more on this later)

23 Covers Look at other covers in your genre on Some US covers work fine; others will not Talk to Frauke Spanuth (crocodesigns) about potential cover design (but she may be too busy)

24 Keywords in German KDP Talk to your translator about German keywords Start typing in words in and see what autocompletes: “historische liebesroman…” Make sure you’re selecting all possible categories with keywords

25 German Categories selection Fewer romance sub-categories Different categories – not selectable on US KDP Find similar books by German publishers

26 Pricing Prices need to be the same on all venues (we’ll explain why in legal) EVERY platform but Amazon requires you to put in your final retail price—that includes VAT. Amazon requires you to put in your price, and then they add VAT. Price you put in Amazon = Final price / (1 + VAT rate) VAT issues changing

27 Part IV: Distribution & Promotion You want to get on Amazon (40-50% of the market), Kobo, Apple (easy for US) …also Tolino, and several other smaller markets (harder for US) Only aggregator open to self-publishers is There are others, but they are generally only open to publishers.

28 Promotion Big names: – LoveLetter Magazine (like RT) reviews German books I see a sales bump everytime they review one of my books! You can buy ads, and there is also editorial content – talk to Tina Dick if interested – LoveLetter convention (700 readers from all over Europe, mostly German—lots of bloggers/reviewers)

29 Promotion, II German website ( German newsletters/facebook pages German assistants to do spot translations through Odesk/elance ($20 / month) Look for reviews online of German books like yours – I search for books by Lisa Kleypas and then search for reviews of that title.

30 Part V: Legal Issues Copyright issues – The copyright for the translation stays with the German translator – there IS no “work for hire” doctrine in Germany. – Do NOT write a contract saying something is “work for hire”—it is not legally enforceable. – You can write a contract saying the translator grants you the right of use for every use you want – No “everything now known or what will be invented” language works in Germany WHEN IN DOUBT: Hire a German lawyer to look over your final contract. Less than $1000—and if you’re planning on investing series over the course of years, it’s worth it.

31 Royalties German translators must be paid “reasonable compensation” under German law. No way to contract around this: open question whether German law applies to people outside Germany German courts have said this means they must be paid royalties.

32 Fixed book pricing No discounting a book before 18 months have passed. All books must have the same price on all venues. – Ebooks, print books can be priced differently: they are different editions Different editions of ebooks can be priced differently (different cover, different ISBN, some different content)

33 Title Protection In US, titles are not copyprotected In Germany, titles are given a limited form of protection There is a title registry (which you may need help navigating) – but this is difficult for self- publishers to access Easiest solution: check on Amazon if the title is in use, and do not use the same title as another book.

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