I took two weeks off of work to go on a road trip around South Africa.
I’m marking it up as research since I often set stories in South Africa and I needed to know the place a bit better.
Yep, that’s how I’m spinning it. But something important career-wise did happen out on The Big Road trip and it was completely unexpected.
We were in Cape Town visiting friends.
So my friend had been invited to this posh party on the top floor of a building in a very trendy part of the city.
She finagles an invite for me and my husband and off we go.
I’m a bit uncomfortable since I don’t know anyone and they all seem very rich and cool, two things I am not.
But after a bit I meet this woman. She explains that she is a translator and I tell her I’m a writer.
She tells me about a website called Babelcube that she has just started working with.
It links writers and translators. I tell her I’ll give it a look when I get home and she tells me she hopes we can work together.
It seems a small thing, but when I got home and take a look at the website I started to see how important this meeting was.
Bablecube links translators in 25 languages with writers interested in having their books translated.
They then help your prepare the books for all the various ebook formats.
They then put your translated books out on 300+ online retail shops.
They collect royalties and pay you through PayPal.
The royalties are shared between the author, the translator, and Babelcube.
You pay nothing up front. Let me repeat that bit- you pay nothing up front.
How does it work?
1. First you need to make sure that you have the translation rights to your book or short story.
If you’re published with a traditional publishing house, you probably don’t.
2. You then need to create an account at Babelcube.
This is where you tell the people a bit about yourself.
Sell yourself and your writing.
3. Next you need to post the profiles of the books that you want translated.
You can include samples of reviews, if it has won any prizes, a short synopsis.
You should also include an excerpt so the translators can see if you write to the standard that they’re looking for.
4. Now various translators will make offers to translate your book.
Some of the translators work as a team with an editor and a proof reader.
Usually when they make an offer they will include a translation of the excerpt that you included in the book’s profile.
5. You will now check the various translators’ offers and choose the one(s) you want.
6. You will send them the first ten pages of the manuscript and they will translate it.
If you agree that they have done a good job, they will continue.
7. When the translation is finished, if you don’t like the job that has been done you can cancel the agreement, but be warned- at this stage you will be liable for a translation fee.
It is better to check out the quality of translation at the ten page stage to avoid this.
8. After the translations is finished, Babelcue helps you to prepare the book for all the various electronic formats.
9. When this is done, it goes up for sale at 300+ online shops that Bablecube works with.
10. Royalties are collected by Babelcube and dispersed when the accrued money is over $50.
Babelcue takes 15% of net royalties across the board.
The rest of the royalties are shared between the writer and the translator on a graduated basis.
When the book makes $2000 (USD) and less the breakdown is- translator, 55% and writer, 30%.
This changes as the royalties increase to the final (at $8000+) where the writer gets 75% and the translator gets 10%.
I think this is a fantastic thing. Imagine having your book translated into Afrikaans, French and Portuguese so all Africans can read it.
And what about Chinese? Think of the market there! I know I’m definitely putting some of my books up there. I’ll keep you posted.
Of course, like all online self publishing, you will need to market your book.
I would suspect the translator would be keen to assist in that since if the book sells well they do well too.
There’s no magic bullet in publishing but this definitely opens a few doors and gives some much needed options.
The website for Bablecue is http://www.babelcube.com/.