My deadline was November 1. This was a carved-in-stone, don’t-you-dare-be-late, the-heavens-will-collapse deadline.
I turned in When We Were Sisters exactly on time. It’s now November 17th and the book seems to be happily napping, all curled up and dreaming about its June debut, somewhere between “written” and “edited.”Am I surprised? Unhappy? Perplexed? Nope. I’m a writer with lots of books to my credit. I know what deadlines actually mean. I’m just delighted to be finished with my part for a little while.
Am I really finished, though? “Finished” isn’t a concept a novelist understands. Because turning in a book isn’t an ending. When We Were Sisters still has lots ahead. Including:
- Line editing
- Copy editing
- Wheedling review copies to send my Krewe of Review
- Promotion as the book makes its way to stores
In the meantime, though, let’s talk about foreign sales. Because very soon the book will be marketed to publishers overseas.
The books in the photo came today. Two of them are foreign language editions of No River Too Wide. En öppen famn (the same cover as the US) is from Sweden. How do I know? Because the edition was copyrighted in Stockholm.
Can you guess which of the other three is also No River Too Wide? It’s the one directly below it. Three women, backs turned, on a riverbank. Ces liens qui nous unissent. My French is just good enough to alert me to the language, and just bad enough that my translation makes no sense nor does Google’s. Connections? Attachments? United? Hmm. . . But since Janine Stoddard’s name is in the cover copy, I can see which book it is.
By the way! I learned at my recent conference that in Germany–and if I’m not wrong, in France, too–book titles must be original. So in addition to translating a title to make sense in another language, the publisher there must come up with a thoroughly original one.
The book on the far left has the same cover art as a Mother’s Day anthology I was once part of. Den vakneste gaven is Swedish, too. Care to guess which book? It’s Sister’s Choice, the fifth book of my Shenandoah Album series. And if you can read the title on the right, you’ll know the book immediately even if, again, you don’t speak Swedish. Broen til Happiness Key is pretty clear, isn’t it? Happiness Key rides again, only this time in Sweden.
But actually, no. This book is really Sunset Bridge, the third and last of the Happiness Key trilogy. Fooled me, fooled you!
Speaking of my conference and Sweden? Did you know that people in Sweden have the highest proficiency in English outside countries that speak English as their first language? I didn’t.
Selling to foreign publishers isn’t an easy task. I’m not free to zip over to Europe and plead with publishers to translate, design covers, sell and market my books just because I want them to. In the case of these editions, my publisher sold them for me. In publishing that’s a trade off. My publisher has contacts all over the world and I’m published in dozens of countries. I’ve had the pleasure of personally seeing my books on European shelves, all because of their extensive contacts. The trade off? My royalties are much less because we share. But I have the fun of getting boxes like the one I got today. I’m glad I could share that with you.
And now, if you’ve been good and read all the way through this? Email me and let me know why you should receive one of the non-English language books I’ve featured here. Do you speak French or Swedish? Do you have a good friend who does and would love a signed copy for Christmas? If you live in the U.S. or Canada, tell me which book you want and why. If I get more than one request for a certain book we’ll let random.org make the choice. (Remember I am giving away the books you see in the photo, not their English counterparts.)