Wow. Your post on Konrath’s blog blew me away and there are at this very moment thousands of heads exploding over thousands of keyboards.
The sounds of a revolution.
For those who haven’t read it yet, stop what you’re doing, go pour yourself a stuff drink, then go to JA Konrath’s blog and read it. I’ll wait here.
So–Barry and Joe–your number crunching abilities are extraordinary and I bow to them, not being very numerate myself , but in all your analyses of the coming world of publishing, there’s one thing I missed in your conversation.
Yep, the world of 1.8 billion English readers. 1.8 billion readers who up until now you reached with difficulty. Oh, sure, your books could eventually make it to Australia, New Zealand, India, the UK, Ireland, Canada, but not without huge corporate friction that ate at your royalties, requiring sub licensing agreements and new covers and two and sometimes three corporations all taking their share of the pie. Not to mention all those English readers in Europe, Africa, Asia, where the American edition was sold at a huge markup because it’s an imported good.
Imagine those 1.8 billion English readers having instant access to your books. Press a button and there you go. They haven’t digitalized yet but when they do, the sky’s the limit.
And then of course there’s the rest of the world that loves American books but must read them in translation. The translation you have no say over, and in which (sorry guys) your text was probably cut by the translator to fit local editorial book sizes.
Not to mention olive-green garage door covers.
Now imagine a world where you control the translation, the cover is the same cover you chose. Right next to your book in English on amazon, there’s a button on amazon.de for the German language edition, or on amazon.jp there’s the Japanese edition, etc. And you get all those royalties. All of them, with no intermediaries. It will cost you about € 5000 and you’d have to find a translator you trust, but once you do and have paid the cost (which you’ll probably make up in 4 days of sales) all those royalties go straight to you.
Hark! What’s that sound I hear? Of pitchforks being sharpened at the gates of the Bastille? And that fire on the horizon? Those are the torches.
Allons enfants de la patrieeeeeee….