A Bleg and a Business Proposal

I’ve long been kicking around the notion of a German translation of my books, especially the Adelsverein Trilogy – since that story has to do with German immigrants to the Texas frontier, and the Wild, Wild West as a concept is madly popular in Germany, and has been so for decades, if not centuries. Yeah, I know – weird concept, but it is true. I’ve fielded the occasional email from readers asking if there were such, as they have friends who don’t speak English but would just love-love-love to read the Trilogy in German. Early on, I had kind of hoped that I would get some interest from a German publishing house wanting to clean up from all those Karl May fans, but that hasn’t happened, not so far.

So, being advised by another newly-indy author, and a couple of friends, and my daughter (who had a great many caveats, seeing that she is not only my assistant but heir to the whole ongoing literary concern) I have decided to give up on any offers from German-language publishing concerns, and take command of the situation in a time- honored indy-author/free blogger way. Feh – like I had all that many offers for mainstream American publishers anyway …Amazon has the ability to distribute their wares in Europe, and I am the junior partner in a boutique publishing firm with an LSI (Lightning Source International) with the ability to publish in any language that we specify – so publishing a German-language edition of my books would be a fairly simple matter: a separate ISBN, and another set of relatively small fees to upload.

That’s the easy part – the hard part is getting a German translator. I can’t afford to hire one directly. My checks for sales of my books, while adequate, are not yet into four figures. But sales for my books are a good and steady solid stream. I am mildly renowned locally and I do have a solid core of local fans, plus generally good reviews for my books. I figure that I am at the start of an arc of success, and that I can do on turning out another ripping good yarn every two years or so. Every book that I go on writing will bring in more fans; every reader who discovers a book of mine and instantly adores it will go to my back-list and buy all the rest. Such is my strategy, confirmed by the experience of a good few other indy authors … who have a nice augmentation to their regular day-job paycheck. Not enough that many of them can afford to quit their day jobs or start shopping for castles in the neighborhood of R.J. Rowling’s … but in this current economy, a regular income stream is a regular income stream, and to be valued accordingly. Given the focus of the Trilogy, the existing fan-base in Germany for Wild West adventures, I figure this venture would be a pretty solid … for anyone who wants to take a chance.

I am proposing to offer a significant percentage of ongoing sales of a German-language edition of the Adelsverein Trilogy to any qualified linguist prepared to take it on spec. Yeah, to do a lot of work in expectation of eventual royalties, which would sound a bit problematical – except that it’s what I have been doing with my books all this time since I published my first book, just like about every other author does, indy or mainstream pubbed. I gambled that my work on it would pay off eventually and over time. That gamble looks like it is beginning to pay off, so I am in a position to offer this to anyone with mad translating English-to-German skills.
I do have access through friends to means of judging abilities – and of setting up the legal matters … so, anyone out there who can translate from English to German, who wants to take a gamble on a steady income, and is prepared to do the same work I have done and take a long view … let me know.

4 thoughts on “A Bleg and a Business Proposal”

  1. Sgt – To your dilemma – as you probably suspect one can’t simply run your text though a translator (software) and expect a good German version. You have to imbue what the Germans call das Sinn – the Soul – of the language. And they might say things differently from how you would say it in English. A good translation will imbue to the German mind the same mental imagery you have so diligently written in your book. Germans are interested in the West and Texas –

    My German is such that the Germans consider it – for the most part – verstandlich – understandable – but I am no way fluent.

    But to give you an example – many years ago (again my standard preface) while at the Frankfurt Zoo I saw a sign “Keep off the grass” – only auf Deutsch it said “it is forbidden to be on the grass”.

    I think your idea of finding someone willing to share in the profits is on the right track.

    It will take some research bit I would see who has transcribed other English books to German and contact the publishing houses?

    Just my idea…

  2. As it happens, I am a native speaker of German and just starting up as a self-employed translator (mostly English and French to German), so your project would be interesting to me. Contact me and maybe we can work something out.

    Isn’t the Internet a wonderful place?

  3. Indeed it is, Lukas – my direct email addy is clyahayes-at-yahoo-dot-com. I believe this project would bring you a small but steady income stream, once completed.

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