Samstag, 20. Juni 2009

Once, long ago, before I woke up and screwed my head on properly, I contacted an agent here in Germany.
At that time I was convinced I needed a representative to sell my tome to the great wide world and so make my millions. This lunacy all stemmed from those bloody forums that are full of people who haven't really a clue about the industry themselves, but insist on dishing out bad advice as if it were from Dan Brown, Ken Follet or J.K.Rowlings personally.
Anyway, as I wrote, I thought I needed an agent.
I sent my manuscript off to several agencies around Britain and America, all to no avail.
I was simply too unknown to be interesting and my book was crap as well, I guess. ;-)
Whatever, one day, whilst licking my spiritual wounds from yet another rejection, I came across an agent in the Writers and Artists Yearbook who was based in Hanover, not fifty minutes drive by car!!
Hurrah and hussar I thought as I happily punched in the telephone number, this could be my lucky break, (which sadly it never is, no matter how often I think it will be.)
I was put straight through and spoke to a very nice chap who said to me that if I write the manuscript in German, he'll take me on.
Now, needless to say I was a bit flummoxed; smugly pleased with my marketing skills but still flummoxed.
Why would any agent say that without even seeing my MS???
So I asked him and the answer is amazing. The thing is you see, according to the agent, Germany, that great land of scholars and poets, is suffering a drought in the creative writing game. There are loads of books on the market but the majority of them are translations from foreign authors.
Of course he could have just been pulling my leg, or perhaps he was a madman or whatever reason you can find to not believe him. However, it's still amazing to me that so many German language prints are translations, especially when you consider the population count of the German speaking lands. A good measure of this is the fact that I have never once read a book translated into English by a German author. Not one. Well not intentionally, lol.

So why is that?
Why is a land like Germany a poverty stricken desert when it comes to authors? Is it because German is such a hard language to translate?
I think any translation work is hard and very often a lot of the original magic of a story is diluted by the act of the conversion itself. However, if that were the case, why do the translated novels by English speaking authors do so well in Germany?
It's all very strange.

Whatever, I didn't try to translate my book and now it's at a publishing house in London somewhere been given a critical once-over… hopefully a not too critical once over, mind.

Have a good one.
Reg :-)

3 Kommentare:

tee hat gesagt…

WOW way to go matie get in there and get it translated one way or another...what have you got to lose? Well done.

R.R.Jones hat gesagt…

Translating it would take an age, Tee.
Plus I don't want to risk a situation where I translate something dramatic or horrific and it turns out comically farcical in German.
I left the idea whither on the vine, to be honest.

tee deflated for you hat gesagt…

Oh what a shame. But I understand what you mean.