The Pros And Cons Of Exclusivity

Should you self-publish exclusively on Amazon? That is the question many authors consider whenever they put a book out.

side of the fence

Which side of the fence are you on?

Which side of the fence are you on?

The benefits of exclusivity

Here are my thoughts as to why you should consider exclusivity with Amazon, which basically means that you cannot publish a particular work anywhere else BUT Amazon for a 90 day period when you opt in with the checkbox on the KDP publishing page.

KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited

The KDP Select help page describes the benefits to opting in as:

  • Earn your share of the KDP Select Global Fund amount when readers choose and read more than 10% of your book from Kindle Unlimited, or borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Plus, earn 70% royalty for sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico.
  • Choose between two great promotional tools: Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting for your book while earning royalties; or scheduled Free Book Promotion where readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time. [Note: you can still make your book permafree if you publish on multiple platforms, pricing free and then reporting the cheaper price to Amazon.]
  • kdp selectHelp readers discover your books by making them available through Kindle Unlimited in the U.S. and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) in the U.S, U.K., Germany, France, and Japan. Kindle Unlimited is a subscription program for readers that allows them to read as many books as they want. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle can choose one book from each month with no due dates. When you enroll in KDP Select, your books are automatically included in both programs.

Ease of changes

One of the big pains when you go direct to all platforms is the timing of price changes for sales. You can schedule a price change on Kobo and iBooks, but Nook can take a few days and Amazon’s speed of change vary between 4 – 72 hours. Similarly, if you want to change back matter or fix a typo, you have to do it multiple times. Of course, you can use services like Smashwords, BookBaby or Draft2Digital and update once for all platforms, but I prefer to publish directly for the extra metadata fields I get on the various platforms.

If you are exclusive to Amazon, you only have to manage one site and one set of changes.

The drawbacks to exclusivity

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t be exclusive to Amazon.

Global growth of digital markets. Don’t miss out!

kobo sales

My Kobo sales in 58 countries

Amazon may be the biggest player in the US and the UK, but there are other retail stores and devices that dominate in other countries.

Germany, for example, is possibly the next big market for ebooks, and Amazon has 40% of the market. Apple iBooks and Tolino, an ebook reader and associated stores that are run by a group of German publishers, have the rest. I have found that my sales on the other German platforms match Amazon almost exactly.

My sales in Canada primarily come from Kobo, and both Kobo and iBooks break sales down into 50+ countries. We haven’t even got started in the massive Asian markets yet!

The Compound Effect

I’ve found that by going direct to iBooks, Kobo and Nook, I have started to grow an audience there, and my income ticks up every month as their compound effectecosystems discover my books. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is a fantastic book that describes how little actions taken every day can add up over time to massive change, or massive impact over years. You can’t expect to load your books up on Kobo and expect them to sell straight away, you need time in that market.

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, says in his post on exclusivity that,

“It can take years to build readership at a retailer.  Authors who cycle their books in and out of KDP Select will have a more difficult time building readership at Amazon’s competitors.”

I have seen the Compound Effect on my blog, my online platform and my book sales over the last six years. I know things take time to build, and a few hundred dollars a month now may grow if I stay my course.

Independence and possibility of disruption

I’m an independent author, so I don’t want to be dependent on any single income stream.

I love Amazon as much as the next indie author, as much as the next Amazon Prime junkie and happy customer, but in early 2008, I was laid off, along with 400 other people in one day from my department.

gfcMy one source of income disappeared very fast.

Few people saw the Global Financial Crisis coming, and we all had to adapt. Change is inevitable, so I choose to spread my bets amongst the retailers as well as selling directly from my own site.

In Jeff Bezos’ interview with Charlie Rose in Dec 2013, Jeff said that at some point, Amazon itself would be disrupted. He just hopes it happens after he is dead!

I think about the future of this business a lot.

I’m 39, and I am not just building for the next year, I’m building for the rest of my life and hopefully leaving something for my family when I’m gone. As Amazon continues to rise and rise, we see the push back of many different industries against their domination. Who knows what the next 5 years will hold?

Conclusion: My personal choices around exclusivity

One of the best things about being an indie is personal choice, but of course, this can make it harder as well. I can’t tell you what to do with your books, I can only say what I do myself.

  • For anyone with one book and no platform, exclusivity seems to be the best way to get your book moving, at least in the initial period. I helped my Dad self-publish his historical thriller, Nada, last year, and put that in KDP Select. There was no point in going with the other platforms when the majority of his sales would be Amazon, and he had no intention of doing any ongoing marketing for the book. Free books allowed us to get the sales started and get some reviews.
  • For translations, in a new market, with little ability to do other forms of marketing, exclusivity is also a good idea. I’m using KDP Select for my Spanish and Italian books, and the free promo days have enabled us to get the algorithms moving and get some reviews.
  • For an established series that you are building over time, using more than one site is my personal choice. The compound effect will mean that over time, as I add books onto the platforms, and reach readers one by one, my sales will grow on the other sites. I also like spreading my income streams so I am not dependent on one platform for my livelihood. That’s why the vast majority of my English language fiction and non-fiction is on all the major platforms.
  • Trying new things is important! For this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’ll be writing a stand-alone novella that I will put on KDP Select in order to try out Kindle Unlimited. As a reader, I love the idea of KU. I already utilize borrows on Prime and I consume a lot of books. I also love to play with the available options we have.

So basically, when you have multiple books, you can adopt multiple strategies. Fantastic!

What are your feelings around exclusivity? Do you keep all your books on Amazon only, or do you spread your books on multiple sites? Have you started selling direct, and why? Please leave a comment and join the conversation below.

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons fence by John Curley, solving the GFC by Cathrin Idsoe

Self-Publishing In Italian, Tips For Translation And The Launch Of Profanazione

Continuing with my adventures in self-publishing translation series, today it’s the turn of Profanazione, my first novel in Italian.

ProfanazioneSmallI wasn’t intending to self-publish in Italy, mainly because the market is very small, but when experienced author and translator, Virginio B. Sala emailed me, I jumped at the opportunity.

Here’s an interview with Virginio, and if you read Italian, or know people who do, Profanazione is free on Kindle between 26 – 30 August, 2014. You can read the description and watch the trailer at the bottom of the post. You can also read the interview in Italian here.

Plus, there’s an interview with me about why I wanted the investigate the Italian market on here.

Virginio, tell us a bit about you and your writing/publishing background

virginiobsalaI’ve been working in the publishing field since I was 18. My first job was with a press agency – as a translator of sport news from German to Italian. There weren’t any personal computers then, only mechanical typewriters and teletypes… After three years, the agency closed but I went on working in the field, partly as a freelance and partly as an employee.

The most interesting experiences were as an editor with “Le Scienze”, the Italian edition of “Scientific American”, my first job as an editor in chief with Franco Muzzio Editore, then as responsible for the books division of Mondadori Informatica, and my last job as “editorial director” with Apogeo. I was with Apogeo for eleven years, then at the end of 2008 I quit and decided to go back freelancing. In 2013 I moved from Milan area to Tuscany, with my family – we now live in a small “borgo” in the hills of Lunigiana, near Pontremoli, a handful of houses with less than twenty regular residents.

I wrote about your work and your blog in a recently published book: my contribution is titled “La Galassia Gutenberg e la nebulosa Turing” (Gutenberg Galaxy and Turing Nebula), and is part of the volume “Digital Writing” edited by Alessandra Anichini and published in 2014 by Maggioli, Milano.

What is the book market like in Italy? What kind of books do Italians like?

Unfortunately, Italy is not a great market, it is virtually the only market for Italian language publications – and book reading is not one of the most widespread habits. It has to do with our history. There is a “hard core” of power readers, but for a large proportion of the Italians book reading is not on top of their interests. As for the taste of the Italian readers, it is not so different from the taste of the other European countries. Fiction and literary fiction are usually at the top of the bestsellers lists – many translations but also a few Italian authors: crime, thrillers, romance, fantasy, and also books about current affairs.

What do you see as the changes coming in the Italian publishing scene, in terms of the rise of ebooks and self-publishing?

Things are moving – slowly, but moving. Inertia is strong, and the crisis of these years doesn’t help. But there are a few interesting new realities, young (digital only) publishers, indie authors. It will be a challenge, given the limited size of the market for the Italian language, to find the right mix of elements for an economically sustainable activity – for publishers, authors, translators.

Why did you want to translate Desecration?

I became interested in The Creative Penn blog a few years ago, when you published the first version of your “Author 2.0”: it was an interesting work. I began following the blog regularly and followed the “making of” Pentecost and your first moves in the fiction world. I even used the blog as a case study, lecturing at the University in Florence.

The idea of translating one of your books came later, as an outcome of many reflections about the evolution of the book industry, the e-book, the world of indie authors. In my career, I have translated many books (mostly non-fiction), but always following the traditional chain of work. The idea of a different approach was tempting, and having a direct relationship with an author is interesting.

In Desecration, I was attracted by the context of the Royal College of Surgeons, the connections with the history of anatomy –history and philosophy of science are among my passions (I have a degree in Philosophy), as well as music.

What are some of the particular challenges around translating to Italian? Were there any surprises in the translation of Desecration?

I read Desecration before starting the translation, and it wasn’t the first of your books I read – so I knew fairly well what I was going to meet. Challenging, but not impossible.

Some of the most intriguing decisions were with the translation of the pronoun “you” – in Italian (as in French or in German) there are two possible choices, the more personal and intimate “tu” and the more respectful “lei”. Sometimes it is clear what the right solution is, but not always. I had the problem in a couple of cases – in particular for the relationship between Jamie and Blake: it begins as a relationship between two strangers, but then it gradually changes.

What are your tips for translators working with indie authors?

The same I would give for any translation. What makes the difference is the relationship with the author: not being mediated by a chain of publisher-agent-publisher or whatever, it is a personal relationship. No safety net, in a sense – but it can be more rewarding. But, as any other personal relationship, it has to be nurtured, first of all by trust.

What are your tips for authors who want to find a good Italian translator for their books? How do they evaluate the translator?

If you cannot read the language, it’s not easy. If the translator already did other works, you can probably find some evaluation online, or you can try to go backwards, identify first a translated book (somehow comparable to yours) and then try to contact the translator. LinkedIn and Facebook are great for this kind of research.

But I wouldn’t discard the idea of a young translator at his first work: you could try to go through a school for translators, contact a teacher and ask for a newly graduated student who can be right for you. The teacher could also act as a reviewer… There are also master courses at university level, often linked to creative writing schools. It would be interesting if anybody would set up a specialized, international network directly connecting authors, translators, reviewers and so on, all the people involved. Probably something of this kind will be necessary, in the future, if self-publishing will grow. Or maybe somebody already did it – and simply I’m not aware of it.

How can people contact you?

My (occasional) blog is at

Twitter @viacartesio


Profanazione – Free on Kindle 26 – 30 August, 2014 and then 2,99

ProfanazioneSmallNon sempre la morte è la fine.

LONDRA. Nei locali del Royal College of Surgeons viene trovato il corpo di una giovane donna, e le indagini sono affidate alla Detective Jamie Brooke. Un’antica, inquietante figurina d’avorio, lasciata accanto al cadavere, è l’unico indizio, e Jamie chiede aiuto a Blake Daniel, chiaroveggente riluttante, per scoprire quale sia il suo significato.

Quando una tragedia personale la colpisce, la vita della stessa Jamie finisce per intrecciarsi con la torbida vicenda: dovrà correre contro il tempo per impedire che ci sia una nuova vittima.

Jamie e Blake penetrano in un mondo macabro di profanatori di tombe, di modificazioni del corpo e di mostri creati con l’ingegneria genetica e devono lottare per non perdere la salute mentale e la vita.

˃˃˃ Autrice bestseller del New York Times e di USA Today, J.F.Penn

Autrice bestseller del New York Times e di Usa Today, nata in Inghilterra e laureata a Oxford, J.F. Penn ha viaggiato in tutto il mondo per studiare religione e psicologia. Queste sue ossessioni, l’amore per i thriller e l’interesse per il soprannaturale si fondono nelle storie che scrive.

Leggi un estratto o acquista su Amazon


Prossimamente in stampa e altri formati di ebook.

Book Trailer

Ricerche e fonti di ispirazione alla base di Profanazione.

Self-Publishing And The Bookstrapper’s Guide To Book Marketing With Tucker Max. Podcast Episode 193

When an author and entrepreneur who has sold over 3 million books puts out a book on marketing, you know you have to learn more! Tucker Max on the show today.

In the intro, I talk about the introduction of pre-orders for indie authors on Amazon KDP, already available on iBooks and Kobo. I’ve used it immediately, so you can now pre-order my next book, ‘Business for Authors: How to be an Author-Entrepreneur,’ all the links here. I also thank my new backers of the show through Patreon and explain a bit more on how that works..

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets kobo writing lifethrough the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

Kobo’s financial support pays for the hosting and transcription, and you can now support my time on Patreon.

tucker maxTucker Max is a multiple New York Times bestselling author with over 3 million books sold. He’s also a serial entrepreneur, running a publishing company and a marketing business, as well as other ventures. His latest book is “The Bookstrapper Guide to Marketing Your Book, Creating a Bestseller by Yourself.

You can watch the interview on YouTube here, listen above or on the podcast feed on iTunes or Stitcher, or read the transcription below. We discuss:

  • BookstrapperTucker’s early experiences with rejection in the book industry and how he built a platform online, transitioning to being an entrepreneur and moving into the publishing business himself.
  • Why professional publishing is so important
  • Why some people still perceive a stigma of self-publishing, but readers don’t actually care
  • On asking permission
  • Tucker’s advice to writers starting out
  • How much of the marketing advice out there is espoused by people who haven’t sold many books. Be careful who you listen to.
  • The importance of deciding your definition of success
  • Marketing suggestions for introverts
  • What’s next for authors? Tucker talks about what he thinks is coming …

You can find Tucker at and and on Twitter @tuckermax. You can find ‘The Bookstrapper Guide to Marketing Your Book, Creating a Bestseller by Yourself,’ here on Amazon.

Continue Reading

Book Marketing With Visual Content. 7 Ways To Stand Out With Images.

Think about how you surf the internet these days. Think about how you decide what to click on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

standoutNow multiply that by all those people who are overwhelmed by the amount of information and entertainment options online.

Let’s face it – in a sea of content, how do you stand out?

Visual images can be a way for people to make an instant decision over whether to stay and read any further. Posts with visuals also get more engagement on social media.

It’s the same concept as book covers – and we all know that people DO judge a book by its cover.

So what are some of your options as a writer to use visual content?

1. Use images on your blog posts

I see so many authors ignoring this basic advice and writing articles on blog platforms with no visuals on to entice the reader. This is a basic must-do for everything you write online.

You can get Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr so it doesn’t have to cost you money.

Use the Advanced search option and then make sure you link back to the image provider, or use Compfight to do the searching for you. All my own photos are available for you to use under a Creative Commons license on Flickr here.

2. Make shareable images using quotes from your books

pentecostquotesThere are lines within your books that will be perfect for sharing.

First you have to find them, and if you have enough sales, you can find them on your Amazon page, right at the bottom, where the most highlighted passages are listed. Some of mine from Pentecost are shown right. You can, of course, go through the book with a highlighter and find some you like.

Then you can use tools like Canva or PicMonkey to format the quote with a great image, or you can just use Powerpoint/Keynote and then save as an image. Post them on any of the social media sites with links back to your books, blog posts or profiles.

You can do this for other people’s quotes as well, for example, I did one for my podcast with mega-bestselling author David Morrell, the creator of Rambo.


3. Use Pinterest for story-boarding, research and inspiration

I love Pinterest, and I use it mainly for my own story ideas.

I create a Board per fiction book project, and it helps me capture ideas and images, as well as provide an extra dimension for my readers. I always share the Pinterest Board in the Author’s Note at the back of my thrillers.

vikingspinterestRegister at and download the Pinnable icon for your browser, then you can pin away when you’re doing book research. I start my Boards very early, so often they are named after my working titles, which generally change later. For example, my Ragnarok Board became ‘Day of the Vikings’ later.

For more ideas, check out A Guide to Pinterest for fiction and non-fiction writers by Frances Caballo. You can also find a whole load of ideas on Pinterest for using Canva to create book covers here.

4. Use infographics

These are perhaps best used for non-fiction books or for blog surveys or other useful information that begs to be shared. If you’re someone who loves to play in Powerpoint/Keynote or Excel, you can prep the data there and then use the previously mentioned tools to format it.

You can also use services like or, or you could hire someone from or to create one for you. For more ideas, check out 10 tools for creating infographics and visualizations.

5. Share ad hoc pics on your social media timeline

When people tell me they don’t have time for marketing, I usually point them to a smartphone and taking pictures.

A picture creates a moment of connection, and someone will likely comment on it, favorite it or click to follow your profile because of it.

bristolsignThese are not pictures of you and your book! It is usually just something you see or that inspires you, for example, the sign on the right that I saw in a shop window in Bristol, UK, was retweeted and favorited 48 times. It took me about a minute to snap the picture and share it.

Attraction marketing is based on being useful, interesting, inspirational or entertaining – and you can do that with just one picture a day.

You might think your life is boring or mundane, but where you live might be fascinating to people on the other side of the world, or even in the next state. Try sharing aspects of it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and see who discovers you.

6. Use SlideShare for your fiction or non-fiction book

There’s a whole article on using SlideShare for your book here.

But basically, you create Powerpoint/Keynote presentations that are heavy on the visual side and load them up to From there, they can be shared easily on any social media, and embedded within your LinkedIn profile. Here’s one I made for my political thriller, One Day In Budapest.

7. Create Book Trailers and Book Research Videos

Making a book trailer yourself takes some time and commitment, but it can be done!

I must admit to having some doubts about book trailers as an effective use of marketing budget, as I don’t see much evidence that they really impact sales. But I have recently come around to the idea as translations mean the same content can be used multiple times, and with a proliferation of books, it’s an effective visual differentiator. But be careful, there are services that cost a lot of money, and if you do it yourself badly, it can do more harm than good.

My trailer below in English is for Desecration, London Psychic Book 1 and I’ve used the same video for the German and Italian versions of the trailer, just by switching out the text. I also have Spanish coming too, so can reuse it all over again.

I outline the process for making a book trailer yourself here, and I made the one below for around $40, which included the royalty-free stock photos, video and music from Incompetech. I wouldn’t recommend spending a lot of money on this but if you are feeling visually creative, give it a go yourself!

For more information, check out the following resources:

What image marketing are you using for your books? What else can you suggest? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below.

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons Nick Wheeler not different, just special

The Intricacies Of German Translation. Plus German Pentecost Print Giveaway And Ebook On Sale

It’s fantastic to hold your book in your hands … and it’s faintly fantastical to hold a book with your name on it when the interior is in a different language!

Pentecost German Banner 1In a continuation of the translation adventure, Pentecost, Ein ARKANE Thriller is now available in print as well as ebook formats and on special this week. Plus, my reclusive, literary translator finally comes on the blog to reveal some of her secrets …

Read German? Or please pass on to friends!

Pentecost is on sale at 99c 19 – 22 August for the ebook here on Amazon and here on iBooks

You can also join the Goodreads giveaway for a print edition, and I can always send it to a friend :)

You can also see Pentecost on here.

Interview with Tina Tenneberg, experienced literary translator

You can also read the interview in German on Tina’s site here.

Tina, what’s your background in translation and language work?

Tina TennebergWhen I first started working, I was as a civil servant in my native country Germany, but this made me so unhappy that I decided to quit after a while. I studied linguistics and literature and I have now lived in London, England, for 13 years.

Apart from literature I have translated film subtitles, web sites and various material. Other work has included magazine writing and sub-editing, audio work and teaching German.

Can you explain how a translator actually translates the work?

How do they keep the ‘voice’ of the author as well as adapting to a new audience?

In an ideal scenario the translator should be a native speaker who is translating into their own language and can relate to the voice of the author, especially when it comes to fiction. The original should be converted into a book that reads like a work in its own right and the readers are not supposed to notice straight away that they are reading a translation.

There are hardly any publishing houses that let someone translate into a non-native language and it makes sense – not many translators can juggle the words in a foreign language in the same way as in their own, especially as you are dealing with another person‘s voice. Even though I have lived in the UK for a long time, I would never translate a novel into English.

When you are reading a translation, you will inevitably not just notice the author’s voice, but also the voice of the translator, and if you ask two people to translate the same text, there will always be two different results. You cannot just translate word by word and translators often have to come up with their own creative solutions.

An example from Pentecost: it is not as straightforward as you might think to translate the word “power” into German – there can be several different solutions or none will really fit in certain contexts. That’s why I chose to translate “power” as “mysteriöse Kräfte” in the Pentecost marketing text, which would be “mysterious powers” if you translate it back into English.

Why did you want to do a royalty split deal with an indie author? What are your tips for translators who want to do this kind of thing?

I used to translate fiction for German publishing houses, but I don’t do it anymore because it doesn’t pay my bills in an expensive city like London. In general, publishing houses pay very little for literary translations if you translate not into English but into another language. There is of course no guarantee how a royalty split will work out in the end, but I was interested in self publishing anyway and knew I could learn a lot from Joanna, who has so much experience. I met her at one of her own self publishing workshops and at first I did not even plan to do another book translation, but I decided to give it a go again, when Joanna told me she was looking for a German translator.

My advice for translators who are interested in the split-royalty model is to choose books that are successful in the original and think about whether they would also appeal to another audience.

It is also best if you like the content enough to do it even if the translation won’t be successful – there is no guarantee. And it will help if you have some knowledge of the self publishing market in the target language market or be interested in learning about it.

You should be willing to do some marketing as well, which can be in various forms, for example blogging, social media, contacting book bloggers and anything else that helps selling the book. I believe the split-royalty model could be quite interesting for translators who are authors at the same time. It is said the more books you have out there the easier they will be found by readers – why not go for a hybrid model with your own as well as translated books? I am planning to do this myself.

How should indie authors find a good translator for their book? How do they evaluate it when they don’t speak the language?

I would only consider translations if your book does already have many readers in your own language. Then you could look out for translators who have some experience with book translations, even better if it is in a similar area to the one of your book, but in my opinion the same area is not strictly necessary if the translators have a passion for what they are doing.

One place to find translators would be and And then there is the platform that works with the split-royalty model, which some authors are now trying. None of the experienced German literary translators I talked to are that interested in Babelcube, mainly because the more successful the book gets, the less the translator‘s share as it decreases with sales.

I suspect the majority of authors are not aware of the fact that the most important thing is not how well the translator speaks English, but above all they need to be really good at their own language and interpret the work well, although it is usually easier to translate non-fiction, unless it is a very specialized book, in which case the translator should have knowledge in this particular field.

People can lose part of their language skills when living abroad and therefore it helps if translators make an effort to keep up to date with their language in that situation. It‘s easy for me, as there are many Germans in London to socialize with (you can actually find the whole world here, which is one of the reasons why I like this place so much).

How do translators work with authors during the translation process? (e.g. the questions that come up)

Translators who work for publishing houses often do not even have access to their authors, which means they are not able to work with them at all! I heard about an extreme case recently: when a literary translator friend of mine had no success in contacting an author via the publishing house, she left him a message on his website, but he still didn’t answer. This author possibly had no idea how much can go wrong if he doesn’t answer questions.

Here is an example of a simple question I asked Joanna: in the book “Pentecost” the heroine has an assistant at Oxford University and unlike in English you have to make a decision in German whether it is a man or a woman (“Assistent” or “Assistentin”). If it is a series, as in this case, and the assistant is going to appear again in a future book, it doesn’t look good if the translator gets the gender wrong.

Unlike in traditional publishing, I am sure problems with questions will rather not happen in self publishing – translators and authors are probably in touch with each other anyway.

What are some of the issues we have come up against?

One of the issues we faced was the German hyphenation for the print book, which is different from English. You cannot just ignore this, as there are some incredibly long words in German. If you are planning a print edition, make sure you are using a formatting software that allows you to switch to German. Doing the hyphenation manually would be a real pain. And leave the hyphenation till the very end – any proofreading stages should be done before this – I made a mistake here myself.

If both the translator and the author are using Scrivener, don‘t send Scrivener files back and forth. We had a real formatting mess with two different language settings and it probably didn‘t help that I am using a PC and Joanna a Mac. Therefore I would only exchange Word files and just one person, either the translator or the author, should convert everything from Scrivener to ebook formats in the end.

Then there was the question which title to choose. Nowadays you will find a lot of book titles on the German market that contain both the original and the translation, although in this case the cover would have needed a complete reformatting with the longer title. The direct translation “Pfingsten” would have sounded a bit awkward in German, although at the end of the day this is all a matter of taste. You can of course argue against keeping just the English, but it‘s a mysterious thriller after all and the additional “an ARKANE Thriller” was translated into “ein ARKANE Thriller.” Some readers have even been excited to figure out that “Pentecost”means “Pfingsten” in German.

The longer title “Pentecost – ein Arkane Thriller” also made it safer in terms of copyright, as titles are copyrighted in Germany once they are published.

We have marketing help as part of our agreement – is that important for a royalty split deal?

I do not think it is essential, but if the author doesn’t speak the language I would advise to have at least someone who can read your reviews and tell you what is going on in self publishing in the market of the translation – things are changing so incredibly fast!

There might also be differences in the other culture that are hard to grasp for someone who does not know the mentality. Here is an example: I was convinced that the latest cover of Pentecost in English (woman with a gun) that worked so well in the US would not be well received in Germany. My opinion was confirmed when early German readers had a chance to vote and choose between two covers before publication – hardly anyone liked the one with the armed woman. It was nice to be consulted on this, as normally the translator has no say at all when it comes to covers.

If you are looking for help with marketing, there are other options than translators and the platform aims to bring authors from different countries together to help each other. It was set up by German self publishing expert Matthias Matting and I am sure you will find German authors there (and maybe authors of other nationalities as well) who can help you out with specific marketing questions.

Example of marketing – I made the trailer below in English and Tina translated the text.

What are you enjoying about the process? And what is difficult?

Learning a lot about self publishing and ebooks is the thing that I am enjoying most and it is also fun to work with Joanna.

I found it a bit difficult to juggle my short term paid work with the long term self publishing projects, as I need to make a living, and unfortunately I was not able to finish the translation as fast as I would have liked to. But we still managed it all within a year.

Another thing that I found tricky was to set up blogs and social media – which language should I choose for which angle? Even though many people in Germany can speak English nowadays – at least up to a certain level – being able to order a pizza and a beer doesn’t mean readers are able or willing to read a book or blog in English. I think it may help to have at least one platform in the book’s language.

I have enjoyed the self publishing process and look forward to more exciting learning experiences :-)

PentecostGermanBanner2Where can people find you online?

I have two blogs now, one in English:

and another one in German:

Read German? Or please pass on to friends!

Pentecost is on sale at 99c 19 – 22 August for the ebook here on Amazon and here on iBooks

You can also join the Goodreads giveaway for a print edition, and I can always send it to a friend :)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Pentecost. Ein Arkane Thriller by J.F. Penn

Pentecost. Ein Arkane Thriller

by J.F. Penn

Giveaway ends August 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

If you have any questions about self-publishing in translation, or anything about the German market, please leave a comment below. Thanks!