Translating Your Book: What You Need To Know

Hello in Multiple LanguagesIt’s a subject most self-published authors avoid and I don’t blame them, translating a book seems complicated as well as expensive. It’s murky territory, where we’re flying blind because we don’t speak the language.  I mean could you imagine embarrassing yourself in another country?  So out of fear we indies stay put in the shallow waters too terrified to dip our toes in the deeper parts of the pool.  Well, I’m getting my poodle noodle as well as my floaties and I’m diving in.

Before I go on, I’m not discussing selling your foreign rights, that’s a completely different issue which I’ll discuss next week.  Today, I’m simply discussing translating your book and all the things that come along with it.

You’ll Need Two People To Help You

First you’re going to need a translator, you can find these people all over the place. The more established (expensive) translators can be found at the International Federation of Translators as well as the American Translators’ Association.

Many (cheaper) freelance translators can also be found at Elance, Odesk as well as Guru, the online outsourcing sites.  Now before you hire someone, please consider everything you’ll need to have translated. Believe it or not, it’s not only your book you’ll need to have translated. You’ll also need to translate the title of your book and any subtitles, your book blurbs, as well as your new Amazon author page.  Here are some more things to consider translating as well:

• Newsletters. You do plan on capturing emails in your ebook, right?
• Social Media Posts
• Ads
• Interviews/ Blog Posts
• Website landing/sales pages

Once your book has been translated, now you’ll need to find a line editor who specializes in your language of choice. You can also find line editors at Elance, and Odesk as well.

Important Tip: When contracting this type of work out, make sure to discuss the terms of the rights of the translation. In some countries the translators own part of the rights of the translated version of your book, meaning they get a cut of the royalties, so be sure you’re clear in your contract about who owns what.  However, if you’re smart, you can use this to your advantage and insist in your contract that if the translator owns part of the rights to your book, then they must help you with promotion.  Hey, it’s only fair!
This is the more expensive way to translate your book however, long term it’s the most profitable.  But there is another cheaper, way to translate your work…

Bablecube: The Poor Author’s Translator?

Bablecube is the only online website that I can find that offers translations services for no upfront fee. However, there is a catch, you must share royalties with the site as well as the translator. The split is 50% for the translator, 30% for Bablecube, 20% for the publisher (you). This means if you want to make big bucks off of your translations, you’ll have to price your book reasonably in order to get a decent cut of the profits. But there’s more…

There are issues that I find troubling with Bablecube. For one, you must keep your book on the market for 5 years as explained in their FAQs. (Click on the link that says Rights to the Translated Version of the Book) This is done so authors can’t grab free translations and skip town, leaving the translator broke.  Also, Bablecube holds the distribution rights of your newly translated book for 5 years. This could be a huge problem with indies who are still shopping their work around to traditional publishers.  Many publishers want you to own the rights before they’ll even think about purchasing a manuscript.

Another thing I noticed is that some authors upload their work to the site only to find that no one is interested in translating it.  That could be because of genre or even a poorly designed cover, who knows?  Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of the translators as to which project they’ll choose.

Reviews & Beta Readers

Now that you’ve gotten your book translated and uploaded, you’ll need reviews and beta readers. You can go to Goodreads or Shelfari to find native readers who can give an honest review. Just type in the search engine something like: “Arabic Literature” and see what comes up.  You can do this on other social media sites as well.

You May Have To Change Your Cover

Have you noticed that a book published by a company like Random House usually has multiple versions of their book covers for various countries?  Hopefully, you made sure to get all rights to your book’s cover, right?  If not, you may have to use a different cover for the translated version of your book.

The Hobbit Compairison

The Hobbit ebook cover: U.K. version on left, Spanish version on the right

Another thing to consider, are trigger happy censors in certain countries. Places like the Middle East, Asia and even Eastern Europe have some of the most notorious (annoying) censors who won’t hesitate to ban a book whose cover they consider obscene or controversial. This affects those writing in the romance or erotica genres the most.  Your best bet is to investigate the books in your genre in the particular country you’re targeting and see what’s acceptable, cover wise.

In Closing

I know I’ve given you a lot of information and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Take it slow and test the waters with one book then, expand gradually with your other work.

Okay, So I Was Wrong About Pinterest: An Author’s Guide to Using Pinterest


By Roxanne Ready via Flickr

Recently, I had to eat crow when it came to Pinterest. Though I never said anything publicly, I did once joke (privately) about how Pinterest was social media for people who couldn’t read. However, on June 18, that all changed when I was graced with a repin by a Pinterest power user. From that one user, I got almost 150 new visitors to my blog, as well as 5 new subscribers in just a few hours. The last time I’ve seen results like that it was from StumbleUpon.

But I’ve been wrong before remember, when I talked trash about Wattpad last year until I learned how to dominate that site? Honestly, I don’t mind being wrong, however, I do mind staying that way. When I realized there was something to Pinterest, I had to investigate and of course, share what I’ve learned with you.

Do SEO & Hashtags Matter?

Yes, Pinterest is heavily focused on all things visual, but they also have an algorithm that favors certain keywords.  However the jury is out, when it comes to hashtags, not everyone agrees that hashtags even matter.  That’s because recently, Pinterest changed their algorithm so that certain hashtags aren’t searchable.

The Pinterest experts suggest that in order to get repinned you must have a good photo with key words in it as well as keywords in the description!  Notice how it isn’t as simple as post and run?


Meeting the Pinterest Superstars

As with Facebook and Twitter, there are power players that you should know about. In fact, it would wise to befriend these people so that you can enlist them in your Pinterest army. Pinterest itself makes it real easy to find power users.

As if that weren’t enough, there are also Pinterest boards that authors should be aware of. Here’s a list of “Bookish Pinterest Boards” via Book Riot.  Some boards are public like this one, which means you can post on their boards but only if your pin is relevant to the board.

The Time You Pin Matters Tremendously

Just like with any social media site, you need to be most active when your audience and the power users are online, otherwise, what’s the point?  If you haven’t noticed, Pinterest buries old content further and further down the timeline with newer, fresher content like Twitter.

From what I’ve noticed, my best results have been around the late afternoon and evening hours. It makes sense, people are most active online after school and work.  You can even schedule your pins using sites like; Hootsuite, Viraltag, and GoPixel.

Authors Who Would Benefit From Being on Pinterest


By mkhmarketing via Flickr

Pinterest’s audience consists predominately of women, at 68% and of those women 50% are parents. Their ages range anywhere from 25- 44 but keep in mind, some of them are teachers, librarians as well as authors. If you’re a man don’t worry, this isn’t an anti-male site.  For example, I know of a male author on Pinterest who writes about mobsters as well as crime and he not only pins his books, but also articles about famous mobsters.  His account is well set out and you won’t catch him pinning things that don’t exemplify his personality or his work.  Same goes for Orna Ross author and founder of The Alliance of Independent Authors she also has an awesome account as well.

Tip: Don’t just use your boards to promote yourself, create one or two to help to promote others. I did so here with my board, “A Few Authors I Know” and another called, “Stories on Wattpad.” Even if you don’t have a large following, people will appreciate the effort and will reciprocate. This is how you build a loyal following on any social media site.

Short Cuts: Building Your Following Quickly

It was only a matter of time before people starting looking for ways to increase their following numbers and there is one website that caters to just that.  Hat tip to Hazel Longuet and her site “The Novel Experience” for the awesome Pinterest hack.  Viralwoot is a website that is similar to Twiends and ILikeTraffic where you pay for seeds and those people collecting seeds repin one of your pins.  It’s almost like cheating the system but not quite.  Those people who get free seeds can then use them to promote their own pins and yes, they can unpin or unfollow you quickly, it’s not unheard of with sites like this.

Well I hope I gave you a few ideas for using Pinterest to promote your book. I also hope I showed you not to knock a site until you’ve actually tried it.  I’ve opened the comments section if you want to share a link to your Pinterest account please feel free.

How to get Featured or Reviewed by Amazon


By Noelas via Flickr

Today marks the end of our Promotional Hacks Nobody Tells You About series and I saved the best for last. When I began this series I didn’t want to include this information because there were no cases of indie authors successfully pitching to Amazon. But there’s always a first time for everything right?  For those of you unaware of what I’m talking about, Amazon has a section on their website called, Editor’s Picks where they review and even feature author interviews.  They also have a blog called, Omnivoracious and an email newsletter that goes out to readers weekly and monthly. Today I’m going to show you the who and where to send your book if you want to be considered.

So Just How Do You Become A Chosen One?

I asked the kind folks at Amazon how does a book become an editor’s pick and got no response. So I went looking in chat rooms and read in this KDP Amazon Community thread which says you need to sell a lot of books just to get on their radar. However, that made no sense because several picks have been books by unknown authors.  The real reason why nobody in the indie community knows anything is because Amazon doesn’t want you to know. They get so many submissions from publicists and traditional publishers that they don’t want anymore dang books to add to their TBR pile!

Now here’s the kicker, Amazon only accepts review copies by snail mail! I was totally stunned when I heard the biggest online retailer in the world is using ye ole’ postman to pick their next big thing.  That’s something out of the NY Big 5 playbook.   Anyway, here’s the address:

Attn: Editorial – [Product & Category]

701 Fifth Avenue

Suite 1500

Seattle WA 98104
*Hat tip to Aggie Villanueva on Goodreads for the info.*

Before You Send Off Your Masterpiece

Amazon Features

By Nomadic Lass via Flickr

Keep in mind you have to be sure that all your ducks are in a row. When you submit your book, make sure you have the correct editor, here is a list of all of the editors and the genres they review. (Scroll to the near bottom of the page)

Important Tip: Be sure to pitch Amazon during the end of your soft launch so that you have a few reviews just in case they need social proof.

What to include in your mailing:
1. A review copy or proof.
2. A brief cover letter with an awesome blurb/synopsis.
3. Your contact information; website, blog, or email.
4. If you don’t have any online presence, create a media kit with picture, bio etc.
5. A mention of  your book’s Amazon page (the exact web address).

In Conclusion…

Before I sign off, I think I need to advise you to not get too depressed when a major company like Amazon, doesn’t feature or review your book.  The publishing industry is very competitive and it was way before self-publishing even took off.  Besides, there’s always Kobo, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble, you know, they also feature authors. 

Anyway, I hope you learned a trick or two that you can use for promoting your books.  I compiled these posts together with a few others to create an ebook called: Self-Publishing Hacks No One Tells You About and it’s available in PDF for free.  If you missed out on this summer’s blog posts, check it out here.  P.S. No, you don’t have to give your email address, when I say free, I mean FREE!

Creating Successful Blog Tours & Social Media Events

Social Media

By MKHMarketing via Flickr

Let’s be real, social media events and blog tours have gotten a bad rep mainly, because authors have an unrealistic expectation of sales. Now add shady bloggers to the mix and you got a disaster on your hands. I’ve heard all the stories about authors paying money for blog tours only to have said blogger disappear with their money.  Same with social media events, I’ve seen people on Facebook and Twitter charging authors anywhere from $50 to $500 for a share or tweeting blitz and that is way too much! You’d be better off buying advertisements or promoting your posts.

So how do you have a successful blog tour or social media event?  I’m so glad you asked…

Remember: Blog Tours are Sooo Not About You

Your tour really isn’t about you or your book, it’s about making a pleasant experience for the blog host, and their readers, keep that in mind.  Also keep it fresh, try not to post the same blurb or excerpt over and over again.  That’s boring and you don’t want to be boring.

Give away unique items, for example, Hugh Howey, gave away flash drives with a nuclear symbol on it (it was his book’s theme) and downloaded his book right on it.  Study the blogs you’d like to target and see what kind of gifts have been given away in the past. If they’re always giving away Amazon gift cards, then maybe you should try something a bit different. Maybe a t-shirt with a quote from your book or a mug with your book’s cover on it?

An Important Tip: Many bloggers complain about authors who post and run, don’t be that author! Ask them if they need help and offer to return the favor if they ever have a product to promote.  Also, find out where they are on social media and follow them and if you really want to go the distance, share their posts occasionally.  If you haven’t read my article, “How to Approach Social Media Influencers” I suggest you do so now.

You Need Time

Social Media Events

By Hartwig HKD via Flickr

Whenever promoting anything, time is always your friend but how good of a friend is completely up to you. You need to give readers as well as bloggers time to plan for your event or blog tour. You also need to plan what you’re going to say or how you’ll present your book.

A Few Things You Need to do for a Blog Tour
• Pick several exciting excerpts from your book to share
• Schedule social media posts
• Create an opt-in form for an email list (you got one right?)
• Write blog posts
• Create eye catching/sharable banners with all your book’s info.

Many authors believe they need to pay major bucks just to do a blog tour but they’re wrong. You can create your own blog tour like I and several writer friends did last year, when we created “The Fantastic Blog Hop.” It was a small tour which was good, because I cut my teeth there.  I would advise you also start small so that your mistakes will be small.  Trust me, there will be mistakes!

But what if you don’t have any author friends to start a blog tour with? Well, there are people online offering free blog tours, why not check them out?

Free Book Tours


Social Media Event Partners

Thankfully, social media events work the same way as blog tours and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a few authors to share the event with. After all, the more the merrier. If you’re smart, you’ll invite all your new blogger friends that you’ve met along the way as well. Invite them, and allow them to participate in your giveaways or contests.

The Golden Rules for Successful Events:
• Invite friends and family
• Cross promote, if you’re doing a Facebook event tell your followers on Twitter and Google+ as well.
• Make sure to schedule your event when people are most active online, weekends, late afternoon, night and holidays.
• Remember don’t just do giveaways, create some fun games, quizzes or talk about pop culture if you want to connect with readers.

I’ve participated in several social media events as both an author and as a reader and they can be fun. It only becomes a chore when it’s all about selling and promoting. I met a lot of new people during online events and some of them have helped me tremendously later on down the road. So go forth and find new readers but don’t forget to make friends along the way.

Tune in next week, when I tell you how to get featured on Amazon and no, it has nothing to do with algorithms.

The Art Of The Pre-Launch: Putting It All Together

Book Launch

By Contemplative Imaging via Flickr

Pre-launches are a confusing issue for indies, many mistake pre-selling as pre-launching however a pre-launch is the issuing of a book for industry purposes and not necessarily for public consumption. Actually, a pre-launch is a powerful tool and can get the ball rolling when it comes to sales and reviews.   In fact, a pre-launch is a business plan for your book.  Simply clicking publish is not a pre-launch.  Many authors think that uploading their book to Amazon is the sum total of indie publishing when in fact, it’s only the beginning of the journey.  Today, I’ll lay out the basics in a pre-launch, and give a bucket list of things you should consider after you publish.

Elements of a Successful Pre-Launch

If this is your first book, it may take some experimentation and research to figure out where to put your time and money when it comes to promoting your book.  That means rolling up your sleeves and figuring out where your readers are. But there’s no need to despair, if you make a pre-launch list things shouldn’t get that overwhelming.  Here was the one I came up with:

• Query magazines, bloggers or podcasters about interviews
• Connect with Social Media Influencers
• Reach out to reviewers
• Schedule posts for your social media accounts and your blog
• Schedule advertising for major newsletters/ book sites
• Build up your email list.

Tip: The first thing you want to attack on your itinerary list is querying reviewers because you’ll need to give them plenty of time to read your book and write an intelligent review. That could take a few months especially, if we’re talking about a popular blogger.

Bonus Tip: The second thing you’ll need to do is to schedule a date for an ad before all the good dates are taken like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

If you’re thinking, geez this is a lot of work, you’d be right. A pre-launch is nothing to laugh at, it’s as time consuming and emotionally draining as writing a book. During your pre-launch you will essentially become a project manager and will have to make sure things are done on time and on budget. After all, you don’t wanna disappoint the boss (your readers) by delivering a sloppy product. If things become too overwhelming you may want to consider hiring some help to help ease the burden.

You’re Allowed to get it Wrong:  Launching and Relaunching

The cool thing about indie books is that they can be launch and relaunch sometimes, years later. This is something the traditionally published author can’t brag about.   Yes, some trade books are rereleased but only if they’re bestsellers.  However sadly, most books in the trade pub world are treated like fruit that will rot on store shelves.  Indie authors don’t have this concern.  If our books aren’t selling, we can take our work down, and change our manuscript, get a new cover or even change the title then, relaunch.  Now how many Big 5 authors can brag about that?

In fact, many self-published authors have given readers second and third editions of their books with multiple covers.  And from what I’ve been told, yes, people will buy the same book with a different cover. Weird huh?

Well there you go, more info to digest before you launch your book.  Don’t forget to hang around because next week, I’ll discuss the elements of successful blog tours and social media events.



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