1. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    Traditional Obstacles, obstacles...

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Ivana, Apr 6, 2015.

    So, here it goes.
    I finished writing my first book couple of months ago. It took me about 2 years. As it turned out, it was the easiest thing to do. :) I gave it away to 20-something beta readers. They all loved it (or so they say ;) ). Found the person from the business who is pretty excited about the manuscript and who wants to try to sell it to the UK market, since she used to work in the publishing industry back there, although she now lives in my country. She sees the book as highly commercial and sellable.

    The book is written in Serbian, and that's my problem. I can't (or I'd never dare) translate it myself, so obviously I need to find a damn good translator (native English speaker). Publishing industry in my country is almost non-existent, so I gave up on trying to publish the book here long ago and I decided to try with the UK or US market. So, there's my problem - I can't afford to pay for a high-quality professional translator since they require 4000+ Euros for the translation (it's a 110k word manuscript), while the average monthly salary in my country is 300 Euros.

    A friend of mine who is a bilingual speaker living in the US took the ms to try to translate it for free. But since she's very busy, I suspect it'll take her more than a year (it's moving really slow). Although what I've seen so far is pretty good for a person who is not a professional translator. But I simply can't hurry her up, since she's doing it for free.

    So I've come up with this idea, and I'd like you to give me some of your thoughts on this. Could it be possible to translate only couple of chapters along with the detailed synopsis, and to send those away to publishers? Could they possibly accept the ms based on these stuff (in case they really liked the plot and the writing style), without actually reading the entire thing, and maybe even agree on paying for the completion of the translating process? Or is this a complete nonsense? Did any of you had a similar experience? I realize it wouldn't be a problem if I were a famous writer, but from this position of an anonymous... I'm kinda desperate. :( Stupid money.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think that's a viable option. It can't hurt to try.

    I'm also wondering with as good as your English sounds in the forum if you'd considered translating it yourself then either have your friend proofread it, side by side with the Serbian translation? Or translate it then have a professional editor make corrections, and have you or your bilingual friend check the translation after the edits?
     
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  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry to say, but when you ask "Is this complete nonsense?" I've gotta say, "Yes. Absolutely." How's an agent supposed to know if the book's gonna sell? They don't normally take up authors until they've read the entire manuscript - in your case, they can't read it even if they wanted to. From that position of absolutely uncertainty, do you really think they're gonna pay for a translator for you? Furthermore, it's the publisher who pays for the translator - not the agent - so you're essentially asking the agent to pitch a book she hasn't even read in full to the publisher, and for the publisher to contract you without being able to read the book unless they first paid the money for a translator?

    I'm sorry, but that's wishful thinking.

    But what if you paid your friend something so that she'd have more motivation to do the work? It would still be cheaper than a professional translator.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No but don't they sometimes read a sample first before asking for the full manuscript? @Ivana could submit at least a query letter and have the process started. If a publisher or an agent is interested, then investing in editing and translating might be more viable. If you can't get past a query letter, let the friend finish translating while you perhaps start on another book.

    Otherwise I agree with you, it's a long shot a publisher would be paying any costs before reading the full manuscript.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I still can't see that as a good idea. Think about it, just because an agent requested the full still doesn't mean she wants to take the book on. She just thinks there might be enough potential so she wants to read the whole book before deciding. If at this stage you tell her, "Oh sorry, I don't actually have the full MS," that's just gonna annoy the agent. The agent hasn't invested yet and her interest really isn't that great yet just because she requested the full. All that's gonna happen is, you annoy the few agents who might take an interest (in a world where it's hard enough to get any agent to take notice in the first place), and you scream "I'm an amateur", which won't inspire faith.

    And the truth is, if you don't believe in your book enough to invest in the translation, then is the book even ready? There's no point testing the waters by essentially wasting agents' time - and your own. I mean, how're you gonna feel when they request a full - that opportunity every writer wants, that confirmation that maybe your writing's good enough - while knowing you can't possibly deliver? Knowing you're gonna have to pass on the opportunity?

    I mean, if you get an agent who's madly in love with your sample chapters then I guess they might wait a year or two while you get your translation in order.

    But whether Ivana can deliver a full manuscript is anybody's guess - nobody knows how long it's gonna take her friend to actually get the work done and she's already said she can't afford to hire a professional one.

    I'm really not seeing anything in this scenario that seems like it might work. I'd rather pay that friend to do the job within a set amount of time or else translate it myself, and only then start querying.

    However, the idea that any agent or publisher is going to pay for the cost of a professional translator for a book they've not even read - c'mon, that's wishful thinking whichever way you look at it. I mean, do you wanna pay for the marketing and book cover design costs of my book, Ginger? It's in English and you can read it in full :bigtongue: Answer is, let's be honest, probably a resounding No.

    Now, imagine if the book is in a language you can't even read. Gonna fork out the cash? :bigconfused:
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    An idea just occurred to me - what if you started a Kickstarter campaign for your book to raise funds for a translator? (and possibly for other things if you go the self-publishing route) It could garner interest for your book in advance, ensuring at least a small readership. I don't know how successful book campaigns usually are but now this is an idea that doesn't hurt you to try :superagree:(I've never used Kickstarter - it's free to set up a campaign, right?)
     
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  7. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    Thanks Ginger! I was considering to translate it myself, but it just doesn't sound right. It doesn't "float" and it is far from the sound of a native speaker. It would certainly take some serious editing.
    Thanks Mckk for your advises. Of course I wouldn't hope for an agent to invest in the book. This situation is a bit specific though - there is this person who used to work in a publishing industry for years, with certain connections in both UK and US publishing companies and who is willing to offer the book directly to publishers. That's why I was hoping that maybe a publisher might consider investing in the translation based on the synopsis and several chapters.
    That's a great idea, I was thinking the same thing. :agreed: It is free to start a campaign apparently. I think I'm gonna wait for a bit longer to see how my friend is progressing and then, if things go too slow, I think I'm gonna try the Kickstarter thing. :)
    Actually, I do believe in my book, but there is simply no way to save enough for the translation right now. The economical situation in my country is extremely difficult, most of the writers here (even the published ones) are poor and barely earning enough to survive if they don't have some other source of income. o_O
    Anyhow, I'll find some way, even if it takes me couple of years. ;)
     
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