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Building an Audience for Translations: Part Two

Last week, Publishing Perspectives ran the first part of an editorial I wrote on building an audience for literature in translation. And now, here’s part two.

Here’s the opening:

So, what can be done to accomplish the change in priority from “How do we pay for translated fiction?” into “How do we get more people interested in these books?”

First off, there’s the “publishers are sheep” problem. I once saw Scott Moyer (formerly of Random House and Penguin, currently working at the Andrew Wylie Agency) on a panel talking about Shadow of the Wind and how the success of that particular book caused editors to seek out the next Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Is this really what we need? Not that Zafon’s not talented, not that I don’t think people should read his books or books like them, but I’m pretty sure that publishers love imitation more than their audience does. Medium-hopping for a second, how many Lost-esque shows came out after the immediate success of Lost? I think about a billion, none of which are still on the air. Readers like similarities, not necessarily repetition. Publishers like sure things. There may be a problem here.

Enjoy!



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