I Think Today Is All About Esposito and Barcelona

Following on the Monzo review, Conversational Reading has an interesting Friday Column by Barcelona author Neus Arques called “On Translations or the Pursuit of the Domino Effect.”

Arques recently published her first novel, and discussing the long, winding road to trying to get her book published in English:

My agent’s strategy was to immediately move it in the European market. First, she approached publishers in smaller markets, such as Greece or Portugal. This would be the first tier.

If you succeed in overcoming hurdle one—and my novel has been fortunate enough to do so, with rights sold to Portuguese—then the agent targets more competitive markets, such as the Italian or German publishing industry. In the words of an Argentinean publisher: “Spanish is a marginal language as far as translation goes. It takes years to persuade an Italian or a French publisher that we have quality books to offer.”

She also includes a list of five ideas for trying to get her book published in translation, including having translated a chapter, and possibly being willing to translate the entire book to reduce the publisher’s costs . . .

Not sure any of her ideas will directly lead to publication, but whatever, it can’t hurt. I still find it strange and disturbing that the presumed best path to getting published in English is getting published everywhere else first. Like American editors need the confirmation of a dozen other countries/reading markets before they’re willing to look that closely at a book like this. . . . This is more true for large, commercial houses than it is for independents, but even so, it just seems backwards.

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