In my blog post on Friday, I discussed the opportunities that present themselves in Spain for self-publishers who aren’t hamstrung by territorial restrictions and whose competition will be high-priced books from local publishers, which Amazon are legally prevented from discounting by more than 5% for the first two years of publication.
Several commenters pointed out that for most writers the cost of a professional translation is prohibitive (running to several thousand dollars per book). And you really need a professional to do the job – automated software will make an unholy mess of your book, and someone without the requisite experience and qualifications can do just as badly.
I knew that Scott Nicholson had been pursuing a creative solution, and when he appeared in the comments hinting at that again, I emailed him for details, which he kindly agreed to share. In short, his idea is to pay no upfront fee to translators, instead sharing the profits with them.
It’s like a foreign language deal except there is no agent involved and no publisher. Which means more money for the writer and the translator, and cheaper books for the reader. Sounds a lot like indie publishing, right?
And it’s not just talk. Scott has struck deals in six languages to translate his books, and one of them – the German version of The Skull Ring, translated by Christa Polkinhorn, who Scott speaks very highly of - has already been a Top 100 smash there (until an Amazon snafu caused the book to be unpublished and lose all momentum).
I asked about the specifics, and Scott said:
Scott also agreed to let me reprint the relevant chapter from his superb book The Indie Journey: Secrets To Writing Success.I originally started out paying a 10 percent royalty but have increased it to 20 percent, even for translators who did the work for 10 percent (a retro raise). The 20 percent is off the net revenues of the translated edition. I pay quarterly, unless the payment is less than $20, in which case I roll it to the next quarter.
Every quarter I have to sit down and crunch the numbers, but I expect it to be the bulk of my income in a few years–and I suspect I will be way better off than those who sell their foreign rights through an agent.
For obvious reasons, I can't reprint that excerpt here. But to read that, and to get more information on how we are putting together a list of interested translators, and a great discussion on how it will all work, please see my blog post: http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011 ... ion-costs/