The fall Self-Publishing Advice Conference saw ALLi launch the start of the Indie Author Translation Rights Program. If you missed it, you can catch up with the first installment here, the second installment here, and the third installment here. Today, we’re thrilled to present Indie Author Translation Rights Program session four.
Indie Author Translation Rights Program Session FourOur Indie Translation Rights Program Continues #indieauthor #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #writingcommunity Click To Tweet
Sacha Black: Hello, and welcome back to the Alliance of Independent Authors Indie Author Translation Rights program. Today is session four. So welcome everybody.
Joe Cawley: Hello.
Dakota Krout: Hello.
Michael Anderle: Good to be here.
Sacha Black: We are running today’s session a little bit differently. Although it may say Orna Ross, I am clearly not Orna Ross. So Sasha Black is hosting today. Thank you everybody for being kind to me. And we are going to run a little check in with everybody and then do a Q&A at the end of the session. So I have sent you all three preset questions. So if we perhaps take each question in turn and go through our authors and see how you’re doing and then we will do the Q&A after. We’ll start with Joe. So question number one is what’s been your biggest challenge to date?
Joe Cawley: So far? I think there’s been two challenges really, but I think the main one has been trying to find the publishers slash agents that deal with my kind of genre, which is basically travel memoir, it is quite niche-. I’ve been checking out other authors and I’ve got a fair list. I don’t know how good that list is. I’ve got a main list of about 12, preliminary list of about another 20. But it’s kind of knowing if I’m really on track, on target with these kind of publishers, I think because it is a niche kind of genre.
Sacha Black: Dakota.
Dakota Krout: So for me, in a similar vein. Part of it is just that we’re very data driven and so a lot of people are less inclined to show what they’re really looking for and they more just kind of select from all of the available options. So kind of knowing who to reach out to and what we should actually be doing, what we should be putting down in our cold calls to them can be a little challenging. That’s something I wanted to talk about today is what we should actually be saying to people when we do these cold calls reaching out? Because we do have some that we are interested in discussing with, but we want to come off as professional and someone who’s targeting from a place of strength and not someone who’s kind of just desperate to see their book out there.
Sacha Black: And Michael and Judith, I was trying to take some notes there so I don’t forget the questions. But Michael and Judith, do you want to pick up any challenges that you’ve been facing?
Judith Anderle: Judith Anderle, the chief Commercial Officer from LMBPN. We just recently came out of a conference that 20 books to 50 k conference in Las Vegas and so during that conference, I was able to present to a group of authors who had several questions in. And so for us, in particular, we spent a lot of the time prepping for the conference and post conference decompressing and following up. And so I think that just for our company, a challenge has been to maintain the conversation with the individuals that we met at Frankfurt. And with China. You know, I don’t want to say that it’s a challenge because frankly, in China, it’s a 10 year, 20 year play. So I think it’s just par for the course, you know, where it’s a continuation of “Hello, hello,” and conversation. As far as what I heard at the conference, I think, to Dakota’s point, a lot of individuals are seeking guidance as to who to reach out to and how to reach out to them. But overall, I think the continuation of the conversations has been a challenge for us.
Michael Anderle: And I’m going to take it from the fact that we built translations within our own company as well. So on the German side, we have seen success, it took us about a year and then we had an effectiveness jump, if you will, and being able to translate quicker. And so now, last year, we were releasing a book every six to eight weeks. But then what would happen is, let’s say something happened in the town where our translator was, which actually did happen, one of those huge waves hit the town and messed it up. So that you know, throws things off as they have to figure out their lives.
So we want them to certainly, you know, make sure that they’re safe. So then we also have new books coming on. And so you have financial aspects of it that you want to make sure are in place. And then, since we do the translation, or our team does in Germany, they have to make sure they have the translators and the JFT readers and the beta readers and anything they have to do with on the social side. So we’ve had to do some of the financial legal stuff that Judith headed up, making sure that we had the legal information correct. And can you speak to that just a little bit Judith, related to the legal aspects of Jans and the company and making sure we had the lawyer answer questions.
Judith Anderle: So what we did is, because we are working with an individual who is a foreign national, and I think I alluded to this the last time we met, just doing our due diligence, hiring an attorney, a local attorney, who was familiar with German law, and who actually happens to be barred in New York. So he’s familiar with both US law and German law. And so assessing what kind of exposure we have from a tax basis, you know, in the way we were working, is it considered employment? Or is it a work for hire, and so the basic questions and due diligence that you would do with somebody local, but you know, because in Germany, we don’t know the law, we thought that it would be worth the expense and it was surprisingly pricey, but I think well worth the money to make sure that we at least dotted that I and crossed that T, and making sure that we were on the right path.
Michael Anderle: And then the final thing that we came out of that was the discussion about whether or not we needed to acquire an account at a German bank, because the way that Amazon pays in the local money. So we have a situation where we get paid for the ebooks in euros and then we get translated to American but then we have to transfer money back to euros. And so we’re almost double dipping the conversion issues.
Judith: We’re addressing those challenges and as we learn more we’ll go back to the team and provide the information.
Ethan Ellenberg: That’s a really interesting point I hadn’t, I would never have even considered the bank issue. And I just wondered whether Ethan might be able to come back on any of those challenges and with any thoughts, really? Yeah, well, I guess I’m responding to Joe. That list is very important. You’re really looking for some unique elements that would make you *inaudible*, there’s no right or wrong but having a small pool of *inaudible* potential buyers is not a good thing. But size isn’t really always the issue. It really looking for that one special matchup, that one unique match. And there are times when your book is only suitable for one publisher.
And there are times when only a couple of people will be responsive to you. I think just naturally, people think, “Oh, if I’m going to go into that market, I need to pull a 20 or else what am I doing? Well, you know, it’s going to take that much.” And just in general, I don’t disagree with that. But considering its publishing, and considering that you might have a niche book, the real issue is, can I find the right person? So out of three, if one says, “Yes,” great. If it’s one out of 30, what does it really matter? In fact, you’ve probably done a lot more work. So I think it’s really honing to pick *inaudible*, figuring out what would make you appealing how you match up.
Can you make the publishing case for your book? Can you say you’ve done these books, I see they’re successful, you have a relationship with with Jane or John smith and all those things that you have to really put on your kind of your marketing hat and find the right match. I think it’s very hard to do. But I think that’s really what it is. It’s not just the quantity of potential customers, it’s what makes a customer uniquely interested in you, oh, it’s always going to be a challenge. But that’s what I like.
You know, very often, you know, science fiction is a very big area for us. There are countries where there’s only one real 800 pound gorilla. And if they pass on a book, you know, that’s a real problem. There are countries where there are two publishers, you know, so we are sometimes working with very, very small pools of customers, and we’re trying to just make that one deal with that one customer. It’s just a reality.
Joe Cawley: Yeah, I agree with that. I guess it’s just a question of, it seems that the odds would be better favored with a larger list. But as you say, it only takes one person from that particular region from that list to sign.
Judith Anderle: And I think, so, if I may, for Dakota, what I would suggest is why don’t you go ahead and draft an introductory email if you want. If it’s an email, the cold call that you intend to make, and then perhaps you can, you know, send it to myself and Ethan, since he’s an agent, to review. And maybe we can help you with pointers as to how to, you know, come across in the way that you want to, which again, is from a point of strength, rather than a, you know, a point of weakness and in highlighting the benefits that you give, you know, the talk that I had when I had 20 books to 50 K, I reminded the folks about the WIFM, “What’s in it for me?” right? And so your email wants to make sure that you portray to them, what’s in it for them, to sign you. And so we can help you draft something if you want.
Michael Anderle: I’d like to ask Ethan real quick without hopefully going too far beyond the original question. Ethan, what is your biggest challenge when you could be effectively be drinking from a firehose as an agent? I mean, I’m sure just the people that are watching this can give you 1000 books a day. How do you decide?
Ethan Ellenberg: Well, you know, a lot of it is judgment based on experience. So with what I love, where I think the talent is, what excites me, I’m always making judgment that is isolated to the market. You know, when I go through my unsolicited, I pick out who I think has potential from someone who’s unpublished, from 1000 people that are unpublished. So the first thing is, it’s not just taste like, “Oh, do I like rock or do I like classical music?” It’s really the fact that I am educated and I’m a lover of genres.
So that’s one, and the second is market intelligence and experience. If someone comes to me, and they have sales figures, and they have reviews, and they have blurbs, and they have, you know, a prior audio deal that enhances their level of interest to me in my mind because they have stood the test and they have a platform to sell from.
So those are the things that go into it. I think everyone is working with the same things. On one hand, it’s the actual substance, talent of the actual storyteller and the story itself. And it’s all the things that adhere to that storyteller when they start to have success, but some of my greatest successes were some person who said “Hey, my name is Joe. I wrote this book, what do you think?” And I don’t want to name names but you know these are people that are now substantial authors with great followings. But the first contact was me thinking you’re a great storyteller.
Michael Anderle: Thank you.
Ethan Ellenberg: You know, if anyone’s using the telephone, I just want to say that in my experience that’s not *inaudible*, that telephones are often not answered, you’re going to get the right person. I just want to make, like, email, good or bad is the only way to get to any of these buyers, in my opinion.
Judith: Yeah, I agree.
Dakota Krout: So this is what you’re kind of saying there is that that personal touch is really still that one of the biggest pieces, so actually kind of reaching out to them and getting a chance to meet with them so that you can hand over something and say, “Hey, look what I wrote, what do you think?”, right?
Ethan Ellenberg: Any personal contact’s really good. If you can get somebody on the phone, that’s great. If, let’s say, you had a friend who knew the publisher x books in Spain or Italy or Germany. And your friend said, “Hey, x is going to give you five minutes, get ready for a phone call.” Yeah, of course, if you make that phone call, but just in the great scheme of things, you know, email is the only thing that people will pay any attention to. The phones are not answered at all, but they’re answered by an intern or a secretary, and you’re not going to talk to anybody of consequence. And these days, they’re going to think you’re a nut.
So phone is really not going to help you very much. I think Judith really hit the nail on the head, you know, really write the killer email. “I’ve sold 50,000 books in three months and I see that your company is the largest publisher in France of books about X, Y, and Z. And we are a perfect match.” I mean, this is exactly the kind of pitching you want to do is you are trying to show them that you can fill a need, even a need that they don’t realize they have. And I think, you know, crafting that sales letter, both in voice, in tone, in substance and in metrics and data. That’s what it’s all about.
Michael Anderle: Very glad I asked that question then.
Sacha Black: The second question is, where are you in the process? And in the process, I guess the steps we’re talking about are logging in and creating your rights guide on the PubMatch, gathering your contacts, actually doing the reach out, doing the follow ups, having meetings booked for LBF. So, Dakota, where are you?
Dakota Krout: I have the first nine books in my main series uploaded currently. So we have put together, there’s the two sheets that you put together. One of them is the sale sheet and one of them is the, if anyone knows feel free to jump in, but like that is, there’s one word.
Judith Anderle: Catalog?
Dakota Krout: Yeah, catalog, right. And I’m not quite sure what the difference between those two is, we created one and can’t seem to find the other on the PubMatch, but we’re not sure where to look. So I’ll probably reach out with that at some point. And then, right now what we’re looking at is we have downloaded or at least are looking at a list of various publishers that are available on PubMatch.
And we are going through those lists and seeing what they are publishing, if it is fitting with our genre or could fit with our genre, and basically putting down names that we want to start sending these well crafted emails out to.
Sacha Black: I’m listening so intently that I keep forgetting to unmute myself to ask the next question. Joe.
Joe Cawley: Pretty much the same as Dakota. I’ve uploaded three books to PubMatch, been compiling the list, as I mentioned before, I’ve not got to the stage of actually approaching yet or creating the sales letter. But it’s really compiling, and getting the list ready. I guess the next step is to actually start reaching out.
Ethan Ellenberg: Okay, so Judith and Michael, I guess you guys are in varying states depending on which thing we’re talking about us.
Judith Anderle: Yes. So actually, but it’s a good point. So PubMatch, we have over 200 books uploaded when we uploaded with the older system, which it was easier to do, quote unquote. So congrats to Dakota and Joe for the fact that, you know, you’ve uploaded your books in the new system. It’s a good idea to look at the publishers on PubMatch. I have not done that ourselves.
But what we’ve done in order to prepare for London is we registered. So that’s good. So we have registered to attend. And then the next step for me is, what I usually do then is look at the attendees at London Book Fair to start, you know, pitching to them, sending out requests for invites, but I think looking at the publishers on PubMatch would be a good idea as well and say, “Hey, if you’re attending London, you know, would love to meet with you.”
You know, I think the next step would be maybe to compare the two lists and then say, “I see that you’re attending London and would love to meet with you.” But frankly, I don’t know that I’m, I don’t know, me, that I’m going to, you know, that I would put that kind of time into it. So, but that’s where we’re at, preparation for the book fair.
Dakota Krout: Just a quick note from our old programmers. I’m sure this is something Michael could do too is just having, if there were, like, somewhere that had just these full lists of both things, it should be pretty easy to go through and just say, you know, if in this, check in this and output, the names that are going to be there at the same place. So just something to think about is it could be very easy to narrow down who’s actually there.
Michael Anderle: Are you just giving us a job?
Dakota Krout: No, no, I’m saying, like-
Judith: Good idea.
Dakota Krout: Easily is, like, should be something that it is easy for you to describe to someone else to do when you delegate.
Michael Anderle: I’m going to describe it to KROUT.
Dakota Krout: Okay.
Judith Anderle: Thank you, Dakota. Actually, yes, because, you know, I don’t think in those, I think that’d be perfect. Actually, that would be ideal. Because, you know, part of the pitch would be, “Hey, I’m on PubMatch, you’re,” obviously I’m synthesizing, “I’m on PubMatch, you’re on PubMatch, we’ll be in London, why don’t we get together? And this is what I have to offer you,” you know? So drafting something like that I think would be really impactful.
Ethan Ellenberg: I’ve only started to get involved with looking at PubMatch. But I’ve got one fundamental question, does PubMatch include many publishers just in general, or do you must join PubMatch to be on PubMatch? That’s my question.
Judith Anderle: My understanding is that you have to join PubMatch to be on PubMatch. So it’s not like a blanket, you know, so the people that are, the rights buyers that are on PubMatch are actually interested in looking for items to purchase. That’s my understanding, based on the conversations we’ve had with John.
Ethan Ellenberg: Then I’m of, maybe the minority opinion but you know, again, I think finding the people that most want your book is the most important part of this process. Availability is really secondary, you know, because the problem is the forest has got so many trees in it. They’re just so many publishers out there. So to me, the real goal is irrespective of PubMatch, irrespective of anything, can you isolate the real buyers and the real people of interest in your genre.
And I think that’s the most important thing, because looking at a list of interest areas can be like being snowblind, you know, “I’m interested in” and they list 20 things. It’s very hard to know what they really doing with those 20 categories. You know, you’ll see people say, “We are interested in New Age and health and spirituality and what are they really doing?”
Are there really books in there that matchup with your book in the field of New Age, spirituality, health and fitness, whatever? So I still think that, you know, using the launch of the book platforms, and really digging into those until you’ve generated publishers that are doing those things in those countries maybe a more sound way to go, certainly at the beginning of the process.
Judith Anderle: Yeah, completely agree with you, Ethan. So I think that, so because we had talked about it in previous conversations as part of the due diligence, obviously narrowing it down to the scope that you’re targeting is key, right? It’s not just, you know, I’m going to spam everybody. So, yeah, no, no.
So part of the due diligence, like I mentioned, last time with, with Frankfurt, where it was, you know, 60 pages, you know, of, you know, like, 10, whatever companies per page was literally going in, looking at it, translating it from German to English, a lot of it for me, and then, and making sure that that publishing company would be a match for us because, to your point, you know, just sending out an email to somebody who doesn’t even match would even make, put you in a bad light, you know, for somebody that who potentially someday could be somebody who’s, you know, so yeah, I think the due diligence part should be targeting the publishing companies that would be a good fit, where you would be a good fit for them, again in the WIFM, “What’s in it for them” type of situation?
Michael Anderle: I have nothing. My question, my answer would be, “I don’t know. Do we have plane tickets?”
Judith Anderle: We do.
Michael Anderle: Excellent.
Judith Anderle: And hotel.
Michael Anderle: And hotel. Excellent.
Sacha Black: Okay, so what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned to date? Joe.
Joe Cawley: The biggest lesson would be, I suppose, with the actual rights, creating the right deal would be just to try and minimize as much as possible what you’re giving away. So for Spanish, don’t give away just Spain, I mean, just give away Spain, don’t give away all Spanish territories, minimize to two to three year term rather than a five year term. Just to keep hold as much as possible against, I think that’s the biggest lesson.
Michael Anderle: I’m going to answer it really quickly. Just from a producer standpoint, meaning not the company CEO and that is, from what I’ve seen Judith do and other things is, for me, it would be focused on making the English what it needs to be and getting those books out there and then we’ve had our most successful people finding those books and reaching out to us, from my perspective.
Sacha Black: Dakota.
Dakota Krout: For me, it’s really more “How do I do this and get past my, you know, independent publisher mindset?” right? So, for me, you know, I see these things and places are offering you know, anywhere from two to 6% royalties, just you know, if you look at their website or or sample contracts that you might be able to find somewhere else. And how do I move, how do I say that’s acceptable when I, you know, have been self publishing and taking 70% so it’s more of a mindset thing for me of putting myself in the mindset of “This is a place that I cannot normally send my own contents, I can’t normally get money from there anyway, so anything that I can get potentially is going to be more than I’m doing currently. And so more of a mindset shift for me is kind of where I’m sitting on that.
Sacha Black: Judith, did you want to add anything?
Judith Anderle: It’s actually, Dakota and Joe, you guys hit the nail on the head as far as value, right and one of the conversations in the presentations that I gave, in the conversations, because it wasn’t didactic me speaking was actually more Socratic, was the fact that only you can value your product. Obviously, there’s a market and obviously there’s, you know, parameters, right, that you have to stand, you know, within you can’t ask for a billion dollars, right and expect it in a market that maybe only pays a million. But having said that, at the end of the day, one of the things that we’re learning through this process is the fact that we need to value our time as well.
You know, of course, we want to sell rights and of course, you know, we want to be successful but frankly, it’s going to be more of a hassle to get involved with getting that percentage and dealing with particular process, I would consider whether it’s worth doing it and then focus your time, you know, the 80/20 rule, right, on where you’re really getting your funding. And then, as you shore up your base, like, I think, to Mike’s point, as you shore up your English and as you show up your following, then you can extend.
For us, right now, we’re going very slow, because we have a lot of IP, but we’re being selective. You know, we’re not just going, like, I think in an earlier discussion, not just sending a PDF, just because somebody asked for a PDF, we’re actually doing our due diligence, because what we’re looking for is long term relationships. So we’re not looking for somebody who’s going to buy our book and leave. We’re looking for somebody who’s going to come into the family and potentially look into our bigger catalog and see what else they can gather from us.
So I think Ethan is probably, you know, amongst all of us, the most expert in that networking aspect of it, but I think it has to be a long term relationship. Because if you’re just doing a quick and particularly if it’s only a low percentage, I don’t know, at the end of the day, is it really worth going through the hassle of it? And, again, I think it goes down to value. But it is a learning process for us as well. And it’s something that we’re right now, going through and getting insights into.
Sacha Black: I’m gonna be really cheesy and throw out an additional bonus question just because I’m curious, particularly for Ethan and Judith and Michael’s opinion, just because they’ve obviously been in this arena for longer than Joe and Dakota at this point. But I am curious where you think or how you think AI translations will affect this market.
So obviously, the AI translations at the moment are producing very rough first drafts, but they’re doing it in seconds, which is obviously lowering the costs of translations as a whole. You obviously need a native editor. You then aren’t necessarily able to market in that language, but I’d be really curious for some future gazing thoughts, actually from anybody, on what you think that might do to the market in the next two or three or five years, Ethan, maybe, first?
Ethan Ellenberg: Two things I really wanted to say. The first is that you have to budget your time, focus, energy and money on exactly what makes the most sense for you as a self publisher. And you have to be really disciplined about this and very careful. I’ll just throw out a number, I would say, you know, 5% of your total effort might be put into translation rights for X amount of time, because yes, it may well be a low value add and it’s a mistake to go whole hog here.
So I would say, yes, I mean, the biggest thing I see working with indies, working with with hybrids and working inside my own agency is we have to budget our time and our focus and our finance to the areas that make the most sense. So I’d say yeah, don’t, don’t go crazy here. It is a mistake, number one. Secondly, for myself as an agent, the value proposition is very different. It speaks to what Judith was raising. You know, we are long term institutional presences, at least that’s our goal.
And we allocate over many, many years and many, many clients, we offer a service that we think is extremely valuable and hard to replicate. So it doesn’t matter, to some degree, how frustrating it might be for one client over multiple years or 10 clients or, if you don’t have to sell in a territory for five years in a row. That in some ways is irrelevant, because we’re offering us a suite of professional services allocated over a long amount of time, we want to be an institutional presence.
So we don’t care that much at a certain crazy level, you know, we know that our top people earn enough money to support the entire endeavor. We know it’s a giant value add as an agent. We know some of the books will in fact work. Every so often we will see a book take off in a foreign market, sometimes even bigger than the American market. So it’s a really different equation. This is not, it’s long term representation of 50 clients, not an individual self publisher. So the equation is completely different than what you’re talking about. Sacha, to speak to your question directly, yes, as translations come down in cost, that’s a great thing, and that will open up some doors.
But the countervailing problem is that more and more books will be chasing the same amount of eyeballs to create. And we don’t know how that’s all going to play out and what happens if the German market goes from 60,000 new books a year to 120,000 new books a year, because the AI is generating reams of stuff. Hopefully, the dedicated reader will find some of those, especially in genre, where you have a chance. On the other hand, the competition in the market dislocation is going to be a real thing. And this is something we all face as agents, self publishers, indies, hybrids is how do I get the attention to my storytelling, my storytellers, when the market became continually crowded with new ventures and new books?
Judith Anderle: You know, in our, because we travel a lot to the fairs, we’re seeing AI take a prominence, which makes sense, right? You know, it’s a reality. So the way I look at it is we always strive and our strategy is always as to where the puck is going to be. And so when we’re looking at AI, it’s the fact that it’s not only here, we’re kind of late to the game, in a way; it’s happening. So how do we incorporate a reality into our processes, and I think, you know, as it develops, it is going to get to a point where it’s going to be really a great translation, but you always need a native speaker, to look at it, right, to make sure that there’s edits so that there will always be an opportunity for native speakers to edit.
But translations themselves, I think, are evolving to a point where they’re really great quality. Ethan, I think, you know, at the end of the day, you know, the market and the wave is coming, and so It’s a matter of how to effectively ride that wave is going to be the key. And then, you know, I always look at Kodak as the example. I always look at it whenever I’m thinking about strategy or discussing strategy, when Kodak decided that they were afraid of cannibalizing their film, and so they didn’t want to go digital.
And so of course, Fuji came in and took over, right, because digital was a reality. It wasn’t anything that Kodak was going to stop. So for us, it’s kind of like, we’re not going to stop AI from evolving into the translation world. How do we maximize it is going to be the key and we’re already looking into opportunities to do that ourselves. Because at the end of the day, avid readers are everywhere. And you know, and the eyeballs maybe will get flooded with new content, but in the end, like anything else, that wave is going to come and then the flooding will happen anyway, so we might as well take advantage of it ourselves.
Michael Anderle: A few things, on my side, looking to the future, it would mean that the publishing companies in foreign rights is going to do what Judith said, companies, let’s say, such as ours, are going to implement the technology. But we’re going to have relationships with people in foreign countries that are the bigger ones, they’re going to do the final translations, but more importantly, they’re going to be the marketing arm, and they’re going to come out of our fans, they’re going to be people who are professionals who’ve been reading for 30 years.
And they’re going to be implementing these solutions in these larger countries. And then you’re going to have the smaller countries where the country, it would not be worthwhile, in this case for LMBPN to implement something. And so we’re going to see that it’s creating a new industry already. I’m aware of companies that are implementing in this style and they’re not doing, you know, what’s happening isn’t that a person is taking three months to translate a book anymore. It’s taking a part time person one month to do it. And so they’re doing it quickly. They’re doing efficiently. They’re creating models. And so what will change, in the future, let’s say, for you, Joe, is you can look at it for the biggest of the languages, it’s not going to help on the small languages because the AI engines are just not going to get there anytime soon. And so if you work on the big ones, you might have a fan that knows that language.
And you would do something with him to handle any, you know, a website for, just for the sake of argument, let’s say Joe Crowley German, they’re going to handle the discussion and the topics, but you’ve already used the AI to switch it over to German, they’ve proofed it, everything was good. It’s implemented. You’re selling it on the existing infrastructure. But that infrastructure right now is not complete for digital across all nations in the world. Paper is still really relevant. You’re not going to get that very easily, like you would the infrastructure we’re familiar with right now. And so you have to work with the companies that are in paper for some of the countries for the foreseeable future, five or 10 years at least, and that feels like forever.
Judith Anderle: Yeah, and I think, you know, in the interim, obviously, it is a process for AI before it gets to the point where it could replace a human translator, right? I think for the interim, at Frankfurt, I heard the difference between commercial fiction and literary fiction. And I thought, Okay, I understand, you know, commercial being the ones that sell and they see it more, they consider it a little bit more pulp. They, meaning the industry individuals that were addressing it as commercial. So I can see where AI in the near term will probably take the commercial fiction and be effective at doing it.
Now the literary fiction, I think it’s still a ways away because obviously the literary fiction has a lot more meaning and a lot of a double entendres and so there’s a lot more, for lack of a better word, soul into that writing. And so there, I can see where there’s still some space for a human translator to come in and do a better job to and sorry, just really quick, we went to one of the panels, where they actually in AI wrote a book, a scientific book based on research that normally would take, you know, months and years and the AI wrote the book in like, you know, a matter of a couple of months.
And so the people who read the book said that it was pretty good, but it was missing soul, you know. So I don’t know if it was influenced by the fact that maybe they knew the AI wrote it or not. But I can understand where, you know, there is, in particular with scientific, sometimes, findings, but you really have to come in and extrapolate a lot and input some hypotheses in there. And likewise, with literary fiction, where AI may not, in the near term, be able to replace a human yet?
Michael Anderle: And lots of cussing? Lots of cussing seems to have the same result as literary where it takes a person to translate them.
Judith: Yes. Yes, Mike, so you’re safe.
Sacha Black: Okay, so that brings us to the last section really, which is a bit of a Q & A, what do you need from us? Do you have questions to the panel, a chance for you to say “Ahh!”
Michael Anderle: Twenty minutes with Ethan’s Rolodex.
Judith Anderle: At a price, right, Ethan? Go with what we’re presenting here. Anything’s open at a price.
Michael Anderle: Did my wife just agent me? What the heck? This is not right.
Sacha Black: No questions? There must be a question.
Ethan Ellenberg: I think Judith is right about literary fiction is not going to be translated anytime soon. I still, in Canada, I’ve had conversations with foreign publishers where they tell me, we’re going to republish that book, but we don’t like the translation, and they will retranslate a book that costs six, 8, 10 thousand dollars to translate. I won’t name the countries, but they’ll say “No, that translation was off.” And I think in commercial fiction, and I say that with admiration, and you know, it is easier, you know, romance, mystery lends itself more easily to what AI can do. And I think we will see, you will give yourself a chance in these markets to succeed, because yes, the base of the pyramid really is avid readers, three books a week readers.
And you know, when the buzz starts, when you start getting, you’ve got to read this going from person to person that is the foundation of the whole business and it will open up some doors, I think, for sure. And you’ll still need some effort in there and maybe some finance in order to get that translation, right. But the cost will definitely come down, the access will definitely come down. It will be easier to do, and I think it ultimately is an opportunity. But it’s an opportunity that is dicey. And it’s hard to corral and it’s hard to amateurize over experts over x years of effort, which is why I’ve even suggested that 5% percent of effort.
And I really say that until you have more to go on than that. If you’re getting emails, “Want to see your book for my country,” that’s one thing, but if you’re starting with nothing like that and you’re cold calling, you will make more money and have more success and feel better about your prospects if you really pour it into writing great books, publishing in the American English market and taking your Kindle, KU money, I definitely think that’s where your efforts belong. Okay, so any questions?
Joe Cawley: Sacha, I don’t know if this is possible, but I think it’d be handy to have some kind of online walkthrough on the PubMatch deal creation pages. If, if at all, we can arrange that.
Sacha Black: Have you watched the video?
Joe Cawley: I have.
Sacha Black: Okay, and that didn’t have, what, let me ask John. Okay.
Joe Cawley: I did watch it but I’m kind of concerned because we’re putting, basically putting fingers out for these books. And I don’t know one hundred percent that I’m getting it right, basically.
Sacha Black: Okay. I will ask the question/
Joe Cawley: Okay.
Sacha Black: Anything else?
Dakota Krout: Yeah, I feel like most of my questions are addressed or will be addressed, you know, just by either continuing on with this process, like, for instance, with the PubMatch thing, kind of like he was mentioning, something that we found was that, you know, one of my questions on the last session was how do we know who this is for, like, how do we know if this royalty is what we’re being paid but percentage is this that we’re getting?
So we actually had to do is we had to go in and read the contracts like that were generated after we created the thing. So that we could see exactly what it was saying in the terminology of the contract. So PubMatch, again, so perhaps if they let us see that a little earlier in the process. Or like, highlighted, maybe, something something in there. I mean, it is right away in, like, these blocks, but then just going through. It’s not the most super intuitive software in the world, but that’s okay. It does what it’s supposed to.
Sacha Black: So what we might be able to do is, because this software enables screen sharing, so we might be able to, in the next session, I can ask John, if he’ll do a screen share, and then do a walk through. Okay, so that will be, I think it’s the 18th of December, the next one. So I will ask john and tell Orna we need to reserve a section of the meeting for that.
Judith Anderle: Yeah, that’d be good. Because then we’d have a computer open next to us and walk, you know, do what he’s doing at the same time.
Sacha Black: Yeah. And also, these are obviously recorded. And the first one, the first possibly the first one or two have already gone up so that we are preserving this and that we will bundle it together somehow at the end, so it will be accessible again, for people, for all of you guys to have a look and go back and check notes or whatever. Okay. Thanks, everyone.
Judith Anderle: Thank you.
Ethan Ellenberg: Thank you.
Joe Cawley: Thank you, well done.
Ethan Ellenberg: See you again soon.
Judith Anderle: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Sacha Black: Happy Thanksgiving.
Joe Cawley: Take care.
Sacha Black: Bye.