1. Entoursis

    Entoursis New Member

    Nov 29, 2015
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    Publishing a novel in English after publishing it in other language.

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Entoursis, Nov 29, 2015.


    I am currently writing a novel in two versions at the same time: in English and in Russian. The latter version will be finished sooner, and the dilemma I am facing now is whether to offer Russian version to publishers instantly or to wait till I have both versions finished and publish simultaneously.

    Obviously, I want the novel successful on both markets, however, English-language version concerns me more (market is bigger, and maybe for a few other reasons).

    Advantages of publishing it immediately are obvious to me: I can earn something from it faster, which is an issue given that I will need an editor for English version (not my native language). Also, my book might just be crap and I'll know it sooner if I attempt to publish it before English version is finished.

    But on the other hand, I worry that publishing it in not English first could negatively affect its potential success on English-language market. If I have a book published in non-English, English version will then likely be perceived as translation. I heard that translated books are poorly accepted among English-speaking readers.
    I tried to research the issue myself and asked several people, and found contradicting results. Some people and sources say that if a book is okay, Russian version in no way will encumber the success of an English version, and even say that there might be extra benefits in publishing it in Russian first (e.g., publishing it in English will refresh the interest for the Russian version).
    On the other hand, some people say that translated books are poorly accepted and there is just no chance for its success in English (unless it's crime fiction, they say for some reason - what's the deal with the crime fiction???). Also, that's what I see in fact happening to modern Russian novels myself: most of them, even those that are very popular in Russia, were never published outside of post-USSR. A few enormously popular ones were translated and published in English, but as far as I know, they are no-names in UK/USA, and mostly collect dust on bookstore shelves.

    I would appreciate any advice on this matter. Where it the truth then? Are there many examples of successful originally non-English books in English?

    Thanks in advance,

    P.S. Of course there is a possibility that my book is just not super-good, and even local success alone would be great. However, I want to consider the best scenario, think it's understandable :)

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