Monday, January 18, 2010

foreign sales

So let's see if I can explain this. Not sure I can, because it's kind of a mystery to me. How does a book end up translated and pubbed by a foreign publisher? In my case, the original book is sent from my agent to an agency in London, and that agency submits the book to UK publishers. Once a foreign publisher contracts the title, they are responsible for hiring a translator. These translations can be horrible, or they can be amazing. I've had Swedish friends tell me the translations of my Swedish books are pretty bad, and that the poetry of language really suffers. But the wonderful person who translates my German titles does an amazing job, and I credit him with much of the success of those titles.

Since my books were doing so well in Germany, I had an idea. What if I wrote some new crime-fiction titles exclusively for them? But unfortunately, this idea came to me about two years ago, and I no longer had an agent. So I thought, well, I'll go to the London agency. But when I looked them up online, I discovered they only represented US reprints, not originals. Foiled again. Without an agent, there was really no way for me to contact the German publisher and present my idea. I even contacted my old agency, but understandably didn't get anywhere. After thinking about this off and on for over a year, I finally gave up. Just didn't know how to proceed or who to contact. And unfortunately, the books should have been written two years ago to follow up the success of the previous titles.

Flash forward. I received an email today -- won't say from who -- asking if I might be interested in writing new books, not reprints, for the German publisher. Would I ever. Not sure if this will happen, and like I said, ideally the books should have been written way back when I first had the idea, but I so hope we can work something out.

PS: Just saw the cover comp for Bad Karma. So cute!!


  1. To be translated into another language must be pretty damn cool. Which other languages have you been translated into?

  2. paul, it's kind of odd, because you receive a contract out of the blue, then maybe a copy of the book 2 years later. never work with the publisher or the agent, so in some ways it doesn't even seem real. can't remember all the languages. at least 20. Japan has the coolest book designs, Polish translation had nice covers, Germany the best translations. never had a book translated into french.