Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Am I diverse yet? Why there are no Jews in diverse books


If you've been out of the loop in the world of children's publishing, you may not be aware that the big, huge deal right now is Diverse Books. The battle cry for this movement is "We need diverse books."  Diverse books are good because they show kids "people who look like themselves" in the pages of children's literature.

Google "diverse books" and you'll see all kinds of cute pictures of kids--utterly heartwarming.  This is a Very Good Thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Here are a few examples:


(From We Need Diverse Books website)


(From The JJK Blog)


(From the We Need Diverse Books Indiegogo page)

Cute, right?  All of them are cute.  Just to recap: what do we see

Monday, June 4, 2018

Why translation isn’t magical: What you MUST know before you translate your book into English…


The US market needs diverse books, and that includes the voices of those who live elsewhere, speaking other languages, and living different lives. It’s also great that authors are willing to invest money, time, and effort. If you believe that strongly in your book, there’s a chance it can succeed.

But not if you rush into submitting it the second it’s translated into English.

Working as a translator for the last four years, unfortunately, I’ve met many writers who believe that all it takes to break into the U.S. market is to translate their book into English and sit back waiting for offers to roll in.

Unfortunately, translation isn’t a magic bullet that’s going to shoot your story straight into the heart of an agent or publisher.  And even if you self-publish, having your story translated into English is not a guarantee of success.  It’s not a magic wand that you wave to let those big US bucks start rolling in.

So I want to ask you to pause, just for a second, and ask yourself: Is my book ready to translate? Am I giving it the best possible chances of success?

Here are three issues you might want to consider first.

1. Physical expectations

Be absolutely certain that you know what publishers in the U.S. market are expecting. The standard for picture books is 32 pages, and word count ranges between 600 and 800 words (plus or minus). However wonderful your book is, if it doesn’t look and feel like what they’re expecting, agents and editors will be far more likely to say no without giving you a fair chance.*

To be submission-ready, your book should also be in “bare naked” format—a plain font like Arial or Times New Roman, 12 points, double-spaced, with no fancy graphics. Understand the basics of English punctuation, which may be different from what you’re used to. Sure, your translator should know this, but