Is your book ready for international market?
Have you been thinking of getting your book translated? If so, then you must be familiar with an inner dilemma occurring over how to do this and whether it is something your book truly needs right now.
Think of literary translation as of investment you are making into your writing business.
Since translating your book equals to creating a new digital (or/and physical if we are talking about printed copies) product then it is legit to say that the goal of this investment is to multiply your passive income, win more readers, and as a result to expand your writing business.
But for this to happen you need to evaluate current position of your book first, and take a weighted decision of whether your book is ready for international market.
How is your book doing right now?
Answering this question is the key to understanding if your book is in the right position to even consider a translation in the first place.
How many readers does it already have? Does it sell well? How many positive reviews did it get?
If your book is not selling well right now, then thinking of translating it would be a hasty decision. Right now, it makes more sense to focus on strengthening positions of your book and increasing its sales rather than thinking of getting it on international market.
Of course, there were cases when after being translated a book became an international bestseller, but we all understand it is rather the exception than the rule.
If your book is already doing well in terms of sales and reader’s attention, then it might be the right time for you to finally start seriously thinking about getting it translated.
Here is a checklist to help you plan out success of your book on international market
1. A fitting market for the genre of your book
For example, religion and sports books are not selling well on Russian book market, and non-fiction literature is more popular than fiction in India. Before choosing which language to translate your book to, make sure to research if the genre of your book is popular and in demand among readers of the chosen country.
You can find all the needed information on Internet these days but to make sure that the information you found is correct and full, I would recommend you to also connect with readers of the chosen country and ask what kind of books do they read directly from them. These days, with the help of Google Translate and social media, you can easily do this.
This way you will have a better understanding of whether you book is going to be a potentially perspective in terms of sales and attention on their market.
2. Write an exemplary plan
Before you sign a contract for translation with your literary translator, do not be lazy and create a simple plan on how exactly you are going to self-publish and sell your book on the foreign market.
Most of the time, you can consult with your literary translator and ask to help you to understand how self-publishing works in their country.
Create a list of popular online bookstores and selling platforms popular in the chosen country, so you have at least a general idea of where and how you will be selling your book after it is translated.
As a literary translator, I have a confident understanding of how Russian book market works (how self-publishing generally works in Russia) and always more than happy to provide my potential clients with needed information. Most of the literary translators I know do the same, so do not be shy and feel free to discuss these things with your literary translator before you sign a contract for the translation of your book.
3. Check out legal aspects of the foreign market you plan to enter
The policy of protection of intellectual property is different from country to country. There are a lot of ways how you can claim that the work you self-publish on Russian book market, for example, is truly yours. It is usually not the biggest problem.
The bigger problem is in how the content of your book is used after a reader buys it. Precisely, free downloads, if you have not read my previous blog post, I would suggest you to do this now (Two myths about Russian book market existing among foreign authors.)
You can consult with other authors who already have an experience in publishing their works on the international markets, google it, and/or ask your literary translator to help you to clarify on it if they can as well.
The more information you get the better. Talk to people who already have an experience, talk to your translator, agent, friends on social media. Again, with help of Google Translate you can try to talk to people on different reading forums and book clubs in any language you need. Your job is to ask right questions and to find correct answers to them.
I will write about how you can protect your book for getting in free downloads on Russian book market soon, so stay tuned.
But for now, this simple checklist will help you to ensure some of success for your book on the international market and avoid unpleasant surprises in future.
And remember, the success of your book is in your hands.