babysimonLast month, Mary and I were very excited to welcome our son Simon into the world. This little guy is super cute, and we have had a great first few weeks together. His big sister Hannah seems to like him as well, which is great.

It’s tough to write about parenthood, since it’s one of the oldest subjects people have written about. I don’t have a lot of new things to add or original ways to say them. Steve Jobs once said, “Our children are our hearts running around outside our bodies.” And that sounds about right to me.

So I’ll leave it at that for now. Pictures of these two cute kids are regularly posted to Instagram if you want to follow me there.

In other news, there are some non-baby related posts I’ve been pondering, so hopefully those will see the light of day soon!

I haven’t updated every episode on the blog, so you might not know that Media Carnivores, the new podcast Media Carnivores that I co-host with Brent Hartinger, is still going strong!

We are currently in the Top 50 New & Notable podcasts in TV & Film on iTunes!

Some of our most recent episodes are:

  • “Is HBO Better Than Regular TV?”
  • “What Is It Like To Have Your Book Turned Into A Movie?”
  • and today’s episode: “Is Amazon Evil?”

You can go check all of those episodes out at mediacarnivores.com but if you are an iTunes user, please consider subscribing to the show there.

Building subscriptions is how we get noticed in iTunes and we’d like to get the word out about the show! Please subscribe!

A few weeks ago I sent out an author newsletter. My pledge is to email whenever I have a new title out or a new format. That’s it.

You should totally subscribe. Yes, I talked about Media Carnivores and the translations of my books here on my blog as well as in the newsletter. But the newsletter contained this helpful writing update as well that hasn’t appeared on the blog until now:

I’ve made some real progress in my work on The Iron Harvest, the next book in The Lattice Trilogy. I’ve also been working on a new book in my series of guidebooks for small nonprofits. These are intentionally “little” books, so I’ve been able to work on it without affecting the timeline of The Iron Harvest.

And I have some really good notes for Arthur Beautyman’s next case. Thanks to everyone for reading along! It’s knowing I have readers out there that keeps me going.

So subscribe!

You will be the first to know when the next book is out.

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This might be old news to blog readers, but sometime this month, our family clan will be adding one more.

It’s amazing to think about all the changes that will come with adding one more little one to our family–especially because the first two years with this one (pictured above exploring the beach at Kopachuck State Park) have been so wonderful.

I’ll post photos of our new son (yes, we’re having a boy!) sometime in the future. But you’re more likely to see that first photo on Twitter or Facebook because it’s a lot easier to post there than to here.

LeadCloak_Italian_AppleIn 2012, Kindle opened up KDP publishing to non-English speaking Europe—Germany, Spain, France, Italy—and ever since then I’ve viewed getting my books translated into other languages as a sort of Holy Grail to self-publishing. There’s so much of the world that doesn’t speak English–I’d like to make my books available to them!

Right now, I can sell in foreign markets, but they are still English-language copies. And, yes, it feels good that someone in France or Italy can buy my books right now. But in practice, no one really does. Out of the 20,000 books I’ve sold—a lot, certainly, but not an insanely high amount, and not enough to be full-time—less than 100 were sold in non-English speaking markets.

But how to get my work translated? There are some pretty high barriers:

  • Money—every time I researched this, I found mostly expensive services.
  • Verification—even if I did find a service, how would I verify that the translation was any good?
  • Distribution—I can navigate my way through KDP and other publishing platforms pretty well, but can I do it in Italian? Or Japanese?

Finally, I discovered an opportunity that seemed like it might work. It’s still very much an experiment for me, but the way I see it, I’m not selling that many copies in Spain or Brazil as it is. The worst that could happen is that nothing changes. So I put my books out there and hoped for the best

The service I discovered is called Babelcube.com. And those familiar with how ACX.com connects narrators and authors probably will get how it works pretty quickly: freelance translators connect with independent authors. The site facilitates the process and takes a percentage of any royalties.

The site solves the main issues:

  • Money—the translator, the site, and I split the royalties based on a standard split
  • Verification—the site helps verify the quality of the translators, but I also used some friends who are native speakers to verify the first 10 pages of the translation before authorizing the translator to proceed with the rest of the book
  • Distribution—Babelcube posts the book on sites for me, including obscure (to me) ebook sites in other languages.

MarinaraSpanishCover1400 I only have two translations out right now—an Italian translation of The Lead Cloak (the translator happens to do work for Marvel, a definite plus) and a Spanish translation of The Marinara Murders.

But I have several more in the works, including translations of The Lead Cloak into Spanish and Portuguese, and translations of The Saints Go Dying into Spanish and Italian.

This is all still very new and I’m still really trying to get a sense of how it will go. So far, though, I’ve been very impressed with the translators. Based on their questions and their emails, they are top-notch.

The transaltors are advocates for my books as well, since they have a stake in their success.

If this model does work, over the years I will continue to expand my work into more and more languages. If my four novels were translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese that would be like having 28 different novels, since each new language is like a whole new novel for a new market.

The possibilities here could really leverage a self-publishing author to a global audience.

I am so grateful to the translators who agreed to work with me on these books. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know them a bit. We follow each other on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and it’s very cool to get a little bit of a sense of life in Rome or Sao Paolo.

If you know of someone who speaks Italian or Spanish (and soon to be Portuguese) here’s my page of current translations, with links to stores. I’ll keep it updated as I continue to add new translations and new stores.

I am so excited about this!