I spent five months translating my I Wish You Happiness book into bilingual, Spanish, French, German and Italian editions. Here’s what I learned.
1. Give Yourself 3 Months
Back in March, I thought I could hire a translator and have the translated books ready for release within a month. Oh, how naive I was. It has taken five months so far.
Based on my experience, I would say you should allow about three months.
About one month for the translation.
One month to collect feedback from beta/proofreaders readers and get your translator to update based on the feedback.
One month to add the book to Amazon, wait for the Look-Inside-The-Book feature to activate, send copies to beta readers, and double-check for any potential issues.
Believe me-everything takes longer than you expect.
2. You Get What You Pay For
I originally hired translators on Fiverr.com. It was a big mistake on my part. I got sucked into the low prices translators there were asking for. I realised my mistake after I got the translations proofread, by Fiverr proofreaders. They told me the translations looked like they were translated by machine (Google Translate, for example).
So, I looked elsewhere. I found some in this group. I also found experienced, professional translators and proofreaders on Upwork.com.
3. Sign An Agreement Before Starting Work
I highly recommend you sign an agreement and payment terms with your translator before starting work. I made the mistake of not signing an agreement with one translator. Before I knew it, they had done quite a bit of work. When I brought up the matter of the agreement, they quoted me a rate that was a lot more than I was expecting or had planned. The translation was completed for about the amount I was expecting. But, I regret how the process went. If I hadn’t spoken up, I think the project would have cost me 2-3 times as much. It was a silly mistake on my part. So, get an agreement signed, before starting work.
4. Work Closely With The Translator
I was very involved with the translation of my books. I’m happy I got so involved. I realised during the process that a translator can misinterpret or misunderstand the meaning behind a piece of text. Consequently, the translation isn’t quite right. So, work closely with your translator. Use DeepL.com and Google Translate to help you spot potential issues with the translated text. They are not great translators, but they’re the best tools that I know of to help you understand a translation.
5. Translating A Book Is Hard Work
Initially, I wanted translators to translate my story as close to the original text as possible. I thought that would be the best way to approach it. I soon realised that isn’t such a good idea.
If you ask ten translators to translate a piece of text, you would probably end up with ten different translations. I realised this when I got feedback from proofreaders/beta readers. They were incredibly helpful—maybe too helpful. I received so many suggestions, I didn’t know what was good or not-so-good. I was kinda afraid to pass them all onto the translators. LOL 😄
Translation is a combination of science and art. I guess that’s why computers still aren’t that great at it.
One translator for example took my instructions to heart. They tried to stick to the original text as best they could. Whilst the translation was good, beta readers told me it wasn’t quite right. I realised that it’s probably better to let translators translate in their own words rather than try to directly translate the original text. Sometimes, you just need to use different words or phrases to describe something in a different language.
I also discovered some languages don’t have an equivalent word. For example, I was told by numerous multiple translators and native German beta readers that there is no direct equivalent for “happiness” in German. I can’t believe it either! LOL 😄 The closest translation to my “I Wish You Happiness” title was “I Wish You Joy/Luck” That’s not quite the same meaning. People recommended I change the title to “Meine Wünsche für Dich” (My Wishes For You). I thought long and hard about it. In the end, I agreed.
6. It Comes Down To Faith
As soon as I received the first translated text back, something dawned on me. I didn’t have 100% control of the translated text because I couldn’t understand what it said. I had to rely on translation software to translate the text for me. I also had to have faith that the translated text was as good as it could be. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always the case.
It took many reviews by lots of people for me to feel confident enough to release the books. And even now, I am still not 100% confident in all the translations. But, I realise I need to have faith that they’re good enough.
7. Give Credit Where It’s Due
A translator expects to be given credit in the translated book. That’s a given. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that is generally not the case with beta readers and proofreaders. I think it’s nice to give them credit too. I did. It’s the right thing to do. I think it benefits you too. It gives them a vested interest in your book because their name is in it. They’re more likely to give that extra bit to make sure the translation is spot on.
8. Errors Still Crop Up
I asked translators, proofreaders, and beta readers to review the text in the printed copies they received. They found a couple of errors as a result. So, it’s a good idea to keep asking people to check for any issues. It’s easy enough to fix an issue and reupload to Amazon.
Would I do it all again? Absolutely! I love the fact more parents and kids will get to experience my book. If the translated books do well, I plan to add other languages. But, I’ll do it differently next time based on what I have learnt.
I thought that was it. I noticed over two dozen orders for as many as 120 copies from Amazon in recent weeks in my Vendor Central account. I wasn’t exactly sure why there are so many orders. I thought maybe they were for different warehouses across the United States. Well, I think I have just solved the mystery!
Yesterday, I happen to stumble upon my hardcover being sold by Amazon on Amazon.de. I thought how wonderful! Hmm… This got me thinking. Maybe Amazon are selling my hardcover on other Amazon marketplace as well?!
The hardcover is being sold on a few other Amazon marketplaces by third parties. But, they’re charging a lot more than the cover price.
I am so happy that Amazon are selling my book in so many countries on my behalf, without me lifting a finger. This has only happened because I switched to Vendor Central. And, that only happened because the wonderful Jay Miletsky introduced my book to his book distributor. So, thank you so much, Jay! 🙏
(In case you’re wondering, I printed my hardcover with Jay’s IAPC. As part of the deal for printing clients, he would introduce my book to his book distributor. I’m not sure if he still does this. Please contact Jay, if you’re interested.)
Getting access to a Vendor Central account has opened my hardcover up to huge markets around the world. That wouldn’t have been available if I hadn’t signed with them. Getting my book into a local US bookstore is wonderful. But, getting my hardcover into 8 different countries is AMAZING! 🥳🍾
Now, I’m off to drive traffic to those new Amazon marketplaces. 🤗
So, is Amazon also selling your hardcover internationally?
It has taken five months, but I’m finally ready to announce the release of the bilingual editions of my book.
I Wish You Happiness is now available in SPANISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, and BILINGUAL editions (English-Spanish, Spanish-English, English-German, German-English, English-French, French-English, English-Italian, and Italian-English).
Buy them to read to your children, gift copies to your family and friends, and to your kids’ classrooms and school library.
“bilingual picture books play a major role in…second language acquisition pedagogy,” according to Amanda Weber, DePauw University.
The books are available on Amazon (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Japan) for US$11.99 each.
I was browsing their store and came across the 24″ Coroplast Sign you see in the photo. My immediate reaction was WOW, that would be a great feature for a stand. I see quite a few authors showing photos of their stands at their local market or outside their home. I think it’s an awesome way to sell your books! Imagine how effective a 24″ Mom’s Choice Awards sign would be in helping to attract and convert customers. Quite effective I would imagine.
The description says, “Attract buyers using this handy, durable yet lightweight coroplast sign. This durable, lightweight sign is perfect for using in your product display or trade show exhibit. The 24″ sign is made of coroplast and easily mounts with velcro or double-sided foam tape.”
The sign only costs $25. You need to get the Mom’s Choice Award first to qualify though. It costs $500 to submit your book. I saved $200 with this promo code, “INDIECG”. I’m not sure if it still works. You can give it a go.
This is not an endorsement of Mom’s Choice Awards. Before you ask, I have no idea if it will generate new sales. I do believe the award, along with all the other book awards and marketing strategies I use, will help to get the word out on my book, and ultimately generate sales.
If you follow through on this and use it on your stand, please share a photo on social media and tag us.
I only had a few hundred followers on my @piccopuppy Instagram account a few months ago. I really wanted to reach 1000. 🥳
It has taken a lot of work, and trial and error, but I finally did it! Yay!
Most of the followers are organic—people following because they liked what they saw and wanted more.
A small percentage are giveaway followers. I didn’t do any “follow swaps” with other authors, buy followers, or advertising to gain followers. I’m certainly no expert. I’m learning every day. I’ve tried a few things. Some worked. Some didn’t.
Here are some tips that worked for me:
I post at least once a day.
I post to both Instagram and Faceook simultaneously using Facebook’s free Creator Studio web tool – business.facebook.com/creatorstudio/home – I sometimes schedule posts using that tool. This saves having to post twice or pay for a service (which I did previously).
Posts in the early evening (US time) seem to get a better response than when I post later in the night or at other times. Something to think about if you live outside of the US. This tip also applies to posts in this Facebook group.
Posts that receive the most responses (for me) are:
Happy announcements, such as winning a book award
I use relevant hashtags in each post. I always try to use the maximum 30 hashtags that Instagram allow.
I engage with followers by liking and chatting to them on their comments.
I monitor how followers respond to my posts. I try to post more of what people like, and less of what they don’t like. I delete posts that bomb. There have been a few. LOL 😄
I added a “Share any post · Tag @piccopuppy” to my profile. I also add it to some of my posts. A few posts have been reposted and/or shared in Stories. The thinking behind this is, people will repost anyway. So, why not give permission and encourage it. This way, people can repost without a guilty conscience. And, I get some traffic from the tags. A win-win all around.
I like and comment on posts that I follow, as often as I can. This helps to build the relationships I have with my followers. It “may” also help with the Instagram algorithm too, to give my posts more views (no scientific evidence-just a hunch).
I’d thought I’d share how I pack my I Wish You Happiness hardcovers for customers within Australia. If you order signed copies from this website website for shipping anywhere in the world, they too get shipped from Australia. I have shipped books from Australia to as far as the United States, Canada, UK, Europe, and Asia. I haven’t had a single report of damage…yet. 🤞 This box is going to Japan.
Please note that if you opt for the FREE US shipping option, your book is shipped by my US book distributor. They use different packaging that I have no control over.
As you can see, I wrap my books in soft tissue paper to help protect the dust jacket. I include a signed thank you letter. After I took this photo, I added more thin strips of the shredded paper to ensure the books are well protected during shipping. I tape all the edges with strong tape for maximum protection against damage.
Some may feel this is too much. I decided to do this because I remember how I felt opening the box for my first iPhone. I was pleasantly surprised just how much thought had gone into the packaging. It looked and felt really nice, especially compared to what had gone before.
So, I wanted to try to give my customers a similar experience, to build a positive, long-term relationship with my customers. I feel it is worth the effort.
The only downside is that I ordered way more boxes that I’ll likely ever need. 😄 If you’re in Australia and are looking for 30x30cm boxes, give me a shout. You can have a bunch at cost price (what I paid for them), plus shipping (no shipping, if you pick up in Killara, NSW).
In December 2019, this book was an idea in my mind. Seventeen months later, I receive a medal for it—the first for anything I have ever created or competed for. Truly insane! I must admit, it’s kinda cool. 😄
Thank you to my illustrator, Ann Baratashvili @anukkaart, and book designer, David Miles—without whom I couldn’t have done it. ❤️ I’m humbled to receive such an award.