How can authors benefit from translating their books into foreign languages?
For a long time, only a selected amount of books had the privilege to get translated ever year. I must also add here that only traditionally published books could have a chance to get translated one day. Most did not. But even those authors that were lucky to get their books translated into foreign languages, never saw the benefits of it really. Since foreign translation rights were primarily assigned to publishers who then sold the rights to agents and publishing companies in other countries, they were the only ones to see the real financial benefit from translation.
This is why, even to the present day authors tend to think that there is no point in spending money on translations of their books just because relying on how it was ten years ago, they wrongly assume the financial return of this affair will be hardly enough to even cover the expenses.
So when I talked to writers about literary translation I was not surprised to see that many authors still strongly believe that foreign translations are not worth the time and effort. But as a literary translation and writer myself, I feel like it happens only because authors do not have enough of information on how literary translation works these days.
Because today, you do not need to be traditionally published in order to get all the benefits from getting your books translated to foreign languages.
How can indie authors benefit from translating their books?
Technology has made indie global publishing both physically possible and economically viable which means that authors all over the world now have this opportunity to expend their writing business and greatly benefit from getting their books translated to foreign languages.
Multiple streams of income
Let’s say you are a self-published author who has written and self-published your first book on Amazon. You see that you book is selling very well in original language then why would not you start thinking of how you can turn your book into a few more books by translating it to another language?
What if your book has a great potential to be even more successful on international (global) market, doubling your profit and giving you some kind of financial help to start writing your second book?
Think about it this way.
One book in original language can be turned into physical copy, digital copy, and audiobook. So each translated book can be also turned into physical copy, digital copy, and audiobook which triples your streams of income.
Yes, ten years ago it was hard, almost impossible for indie authors to sell translations of their books by themselves, but today it is as simple as to self-publish your first book on Amazon.
Finding new readers all over the world
There is a phenomenon that I am not going to try to explain here but knowing which in my opinion is important when thinking about translation. And it is that by translating your book you not only triple your income but introduce your writing to a bigger audience which will attract more readers and recognition to your works. Over time it will result in more sales in foreign languages as well as in original language of your book.
More creative and financial possibilities
It is needless to say that having your works on international (global) market will open up a wide spectrum of possibilities for you as an author.
From self-published author you will have a chance to become a traditionally published author in another country which will be a complete turnaround of your writing business for better. That is if it is something you would like of course.
But even if you want to stay a self-published author and keep the wheel of your writing career in your hands, think of translation as of a great chance to expend your small writing business and achieve new heights in literature.
I felt like writing this short blog post mainly because, I know a lot of self-published authors who just do not see how they could benefit from translating their book to foreign languages. And of course, there are a lot of things to consider before deciding to get your book translated but this is the base of what every author must know in order to open up their minds to book translation as such.