Tag Archive | how-to

Babelcube beware: what authors need to know before signing a Babelcube contract

Boudicca German web

The German edition of Boudicca was beautifully translated by Christina Loew. Thanks to frequent communication and Ms. Loew’s professionalism, the translation process was smooth and easy — exactly what most authors are looking for when joining Babelcube.

If you subscribe to this blog you know that in 2016 I took my books deeper into the global market.  After an exasperating fore into the Chinese market via Fiberead, I had high hopes for Babelcube, a platform for translation that mirrors many of the features familiar to authors who use Amazon’s ACX.com site for audio production.  But as with ACX, successful production and publication requires understanding the system and knowing how — and when — to walk away from something that is not working.

The ability to walk away is important for independent authors because a poorly translated book is damaging to the author’s brand; it reflects on the author as much if not more so than the original editions written by the author in her or his native language.  Therefore an author’s career is at stake each time the author signs a translation contract.  Don’t mess with this, my friends.  As much as you want to be sweet and nice when it comes to dealing with potential translators your life depends on you being picky and walking away when you can from any deal or possible deal that doesn’t uphold your author brand.

The first place you can walk away is when a translator first sends you an offer to translate.  This is the best time to fully vet the candidate.  Don’t skimp on this and do not feel obligated to accept any particular offer. We all want to be nice and we want to give people their break into a new career.  The problem with doing that is you may end up with poor quality work because the person has never been tested in the professional world as a translator.  Before signing anything TALK TO THE TRANSLATOR — don’t just look at the profile and give the person the benefit of the doubt because s/he seems likable.  Remember that this is a form of job interview and treat it as seriously as any job interview you’ve been on.  If anything does not smell right or you aren’t sure of anything at all politely decline.

But let’s say you’ve accepted the contract.  The next place and final place you can walk away is when the translator submits the first ten pages. In evaluating these, don’t just look at the words on the page but the FORMATTING because, as with your own books you self-publish, the formatting and editorial can make or break the book.  If anything seems like you would not submit those ten pages as a stand alone, polished work DECLINE THEM — this is your last and ONLY chance to get out of the contract.  Despite what you may see in the system, this is the actual point of no return for you.  Once those ten pages are accepted you are committed to publishing the book — no matter the quality of the final product you are given.

And this is the part that no one ever mentions to you:  you cannot decline to publish a completed book on Babelcube — even though there is a button in the review process that says “decline this translation.”

What happens if you do hit the “decline” button?  Firstly you are asked to confirm and warned that confirming the decline will open a dispute with Babelcube.  What this means is that they will investigate and make a ruling.  If they rule for you, the translator has to fix the errors.  If they rule against you then you owe the translator an undisclosed amount of money.  But the system doesn’t tell you that.  I found out by asking via email after I reviewed the final document on one of my books and deemed it of such poor quality that I was not comfortable with continuing.

In essence you have to approve the final book.  You can ask for some changes (hit “return” and then send a message to the translator to do so), but you actually DO have to hit “accept translation” and then publish the book. “Reject translation” means you are willing to pay for the translator’s time for a book that you will not publish.

For most people it’s far cheaper to enlist the help of someone outside of Babelcube’s system to help you fix the document so you can publish — which is exactly what I am doing right now.

This is why it is critically important that you wait until each translation is complete before signing another contract with a translator. Even after publishing one or two books all the way through the process (meaning the book is live Amazon, iBooks, Scribd, etc.) with a translator, my experience shows that it is best to only contract one book at a time with a specific translator.  Life happens and schedules change.  Limiting yourself to one contract at a time per translator helps everyone balance time and priorities to the satisfaction of all parties and empower everyone to create the best work possible.

In summary, Babelcube can be an excellent platform for translating books into multiple languages.  But success with it requires the author always beware of its inner workings and courageous enough to walk away from any project that does not meet expectations either before the contract is signed or when receiving the first ten pages.

This is your brand.  Protect it.

Repost: How Not To Request A Book Review

negative emotion isEarlier this week DA Bale sent me her blog post from BookDaily.com on what NOT to do when requesting a book review.  As always I do not like anything phrased in the negative because that has you thinking in negative terms instead of focusing on everything in the positive.  With that caveat in mind, here is her post in full.  Enjoy!

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You’ve sent out hundreds of emails to reviewers. You wait. You wait some more. Months pass. Impatience grows. You’re tempted to re-contact to ensure they received your request.

Don’t.

Seriously. DON’T DO IT.

Once you’ve sent out that initial request, you’re done. Most reviewers only respond if they’re interested – months later. It goes back to the flood of daily requests and a day’s limitation of twenty-four hours. Cross it off your list and move on.

As a fellow author, I make a point of responding to every request to avoid leaving others hanging in the dark. Yes, my response is usually a canned email (I know yours is too). Yes, I turn down the majority of requests.

Here’s why.

1. Genre: It’s obvious when an author sends romance that he/she hasn’t taken time to read my instructions. I make it very plain I’m not interested in romance, erotica, or horror. My favorites are thriller, mystery, and suspense followed by occasional fantasy. Check a blogger’s likes and dislikes. We put lists out for a reason. Don’t waste time sending romance to a thriller enthusiast.

2. Book title: Missing. If a reviewer has to spend time searching a massive email to discern something that should be in the first paragraph, it’s pretty much going in the trash.

3. Author name: Missing yet again. It’s frustrating not to have any idea to whom you’re corresponding. Even email addresses are just cutesy with no sort of identifier. If you’re going be an author, create an identifiable author dedicated email. Then remember to reference your name at least once, even if only at the close.

4. Book blurb: Excluded! Many authors place a link to the purchase page or website and expect reviewers to click on it. Not happening. Then again, sometimes the blurb is simply boring, long and convoluted descriptions that don’t say anything. I’ve even seen a book blurb with another section to state what the book is really about. Seriously? If you need to describe your description, something’s wrong.

5. Honest review: Telling a potential reviewer you seek an honest review is like telling them all their reviews up to yours have been less than honest. Reviewers try to keep opinions straightforward without outside influences. Saying you want an honest opinion is a slap in the face.

6. Free book: You’re asking me to review your novel. Of course you’re going to give me one. Stating you’re offering a free or reduced price book projects an unprofessional image. I’ve even had authors send me the link to buy their book. Understand this if you didn’t already – if you’re requesting a reviewer to spend personal time reading and reviewing your novel, a free copy is expected. End of story.

7. I’m new: Quick question – would you ever say this to a potential client in your day job? Don’t short-change yourself. You may have been writing novels for five minutes or five, ten, twenty years and just decided to plunge into indie publishing. Approach a reviewer with confidence regardless of how long you’ve been writing. You’re a legitimate, bonafide author.

8. Accomplishments: If you’ve won awards for novels in your publishing quiver, a reviewer would love to know. If you’ve won awards for poetry, journalism, or employee of the month – in other words anything outside of novel writing – don’t mention it. It means nothing to most reviewers. Cold truth.

9. Other reviews: Emails pile into my inbox incorporating excerpts of other reviews a novel has received. Share these with family and friends – not potential reviewers. Goes back to number five about avoiding outside influences. Reviews are subjective, the opinion of the individual reviewer.

10. Links: Unless a reviewer requests website links in your initial correspondence, don’t include any.

11. Attachments: Once again, unless a reviewer’s guidelines specifically state to do so, do not attach your book cover, author image, eBook or PDF file with your initial request. When we want them – if we want them – we’ll ask.

12. Reviewer instructions: Self explanatory. Reviewers put instructions up to help you and save everyone time. Read it. Do it. If you choose not to, shame on you because your request is heading for the trash bin. This leads me to another thing – always check to see if a reviewer is currently accepting reviews. Reviewers close submissions when the reading pile gets too big. If a reviewer has closed submissions, abide by this please. Otherwise it’s a huge time-waster, and your email is another great big delete.

Stay tuned for how to get on a reviewers must read list.

About the Author:
In her previous career, D.A. Bale traveled the United States as a Government Relations Liaison, working closely with Congressional offices and various government agencies. This experience afforded her a glimpse into the sometimes “not so pretty” reality of the political sphere. Much of this reality and various locations throughout her travels make it into her writing.

She dreams of the day she can return to visit Alaska.

You can find out more about her on her website www.dabalepublishing.blogspot.comand on Twitter

Repost: 5 Simple Ways to Say No

Women/ValidationA few days ago I received this fantastic article in my email about how to say “no” to people.  As women, most of us are trained to NOT say “no” no matter how badly we need to say it.  We are told we are selfish, arrogant, and so forth.  But “no” is the most important word any woman can say.

 

Here is Dharma Rose’s Advice on the matter:

“Do you find it hard to say “no”?

If so, you’re not alone.

Many people find themselves saying “yes” to things they don’t really want to agree to out of fear they’ll appear selfish or rude… or in an effort to avoid conflict or hurting another person’s feelings.

Saying “no” isn’t always easy, but it IS vital to your own self care.

You see, healthy people have healthy boundaries, and part of being healthy is occasionally saying no to requests, situations or people that you can’t or don’t want to accommodate.

Here are 5 simple ways that you can say no with ease, power and grace:

Tactic #1: The Full Plate

If you’re way too busy to accommodate the person’s request, let them know you’re slammed and that you simply have no time to fit what they’re asking you to do into your schedule.

“I’m sorry, I’d love to help you, but my schedule is crazy today/this week/this month and there’s no way I can fit this in.”

Tactic #2: The Think-About-It

If you’re not sure if you can fit the person’s request in, or if you’re dealing with someone who is super pushy, consider buying yourself a little time to think about what they’re asking of you and to get back to them on your own terms.

“Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”

Tactic #3: The Boomerang

Are you super busy? Or in the middle of something else? You can ask the person to come back to you later on when you have more time to listen to and consider their request.

“I’m in the middle of juggling a few things right now. Can you please ask me again in a couple of hours/days/weeks? I’ll have a bit more headspace then to consider what you’re asking.”

Tactic #4: The Counter Offer

If you can’t or don’t want to agree to the person’s request for whatever reason, but you’d still really like to help them out, consider making a counter offer for a lesser commitment that works better for you.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you move on Saturday. But I CAN come by for a few hours to help you pack on Friday evening. Does that work?”

Tactic #5: The Firm No

The simplest way to say no is to simply… say no! You can be direct and let the person know that what they’re asking of you just doesn’t work for you, and you’ll be surprised how often people will respect a firm, direct no.

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t.”

As you practice declining requests that don’t align with your schedule, values or needs, you’ll find that saying no becomes easier and easier…

And that you’ll have more time for yourself, the commitments you already have and the things that are most important to you.

Rock your day!

Dharma Rose
Abundant Entrepreneur

Reblog: What Authors Can Learn From American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, And The Voice

I received this fantastic piece of advice from Marla Madison on BookDaily.com and just had to share it with you:

 

What Authors Can Learn From American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, And The Voice

Does the best singer win American Idol or the Voice? Is the most accomplished dancer the winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the stars?

Anyone who is a regular viewer of talent reality shows knows this uncontestable fact: the most talented doesn’t always win. In fact, the most well executed dance or song, seldom wins.

What does win?

The winner is the performer who is most popular, the one who captures the hearts of the viewers with both performance and personality.

How does this relate to our writing?

It’s all about entertainment!!!

A few ways to keep your work entertaining:

1. Know your genre. Read, read, read. To entertain requires originality. If you’re afraid your plot is hackneyed, be sure to have a new twist on it. If you don’t keep in touch with others’ work, you’ll have no idea what readers are tiring of.
2. Make your characters original. We’ve all met the perfect protagonist, the one with the super face, toned and buffed body, and excellent skills. Readers want characters that they can identify with—make then real.
3. Make the first chapter exciting. I’ve deleted dozens of books I’ve downloaded because the beginning failed to be interesting. Make your first chapters pull the reader into your book and want to read the entire thing.
4. Series books – Take time to learn how to make each book worthy of standing alone. Check for either too much or not enough back story.


5. Be accessible to your readers. Have a presence on popular networking sites, broadcast your blog, and have a mailing list. Answer every personal message you get.


6. Read reviews of books in your genre. Reviews will put you on th
e fast track to discovering what entertains your readers.

About the Author:
Marla Madison is a retired Federal Mediator, now working as an Arbitrator for the state of Iowa and the Federal Mediation Service. She’s Not There is her debut suspense novel, and Relative Malice, her second. Marla is working on a third suspense story, that while not a sequel to She’s Not There, does have some of the same characters.

Marla lives on Prairie Lake in Northwestern Wisconsin with her significant other, Terry, a beloved shelter-dog, Skygge, and Poncho, an opinionated feline from the same shelter.

Also an avid reader of suspense, some of her favorite authors are Tana French, Lisa Gardner, Jeffrey Deaver, Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Tess Gerritson, and Tami Hoag.

When not reading or writing, Marla enjoys playing duplicate bridge, golfing, and going on long walks with her dog.

You can catch her on her website www.marlamadison.blogspot.com and Twitter.

Home-Spun Coasters: The Perfect Homemade Gift

Originally posted January 25, 2012

 

I’m a medievalist. I love history. I love learning how to make things the way they were made before everything was pre-made for you and sold in stores. Before the industrial revolution, most people spun their own thread and yarn which they then knitted, crocheted, or, if the yarn is fine and smooth enough, strung into a hand loom and wove into cloth. Up until the 19th century, these methods were the dominate ways most people produced the textiles used in everyday life. Spinning wheels emerged in the Renaissance, but they were expensive and not portable. So the drop spindle, our method for yarn and thread production since humans started creating textiles, remained the tool of choice.

Spinning with a drop spindle takes some practice. I’m just a beginner, so I won’t explain how to spin. Instead, I discovered the perfect gift that blends these timeless techniques and applies them into a useful gift anyone can appreciate-all the more so because so much of the process is done by hand.

 

Materials You Will Need:

Approx 4-6 oz of wool roving spun into 1 skein of hand-spun yarn (any quality; avoid merino wool as this is a coarser project)

Food coloring & Vinegar (optional)

Medium size crochet needle

drop spindle

Step 1: spin the skein of thread.

Step 2: wind off the skein and secure with thread or yarn in figure 8 pattern

Step 3: In a medium sauce pan, boil 1-2 quarts of water. If a dyed yarn is desired, add food coloring. Use from 18-25 total drops of food coloring for a vibrant color. Think Easter egg dying and you have about the right amount. Add 2 to 3 tbsp of vinegar to the boiling water to set the dye.

Step 4: remove from heat. Add skein. With a fork or chopstick, beat skein vigorously in the pot for about 2 minutes. Drain. Refill pan with ice and tap water and beat vigorously. If you have added color to the yarn, rinse until dye no longer runs off.

Step 5: beat skein against wall; dry overnight on doorknob.

Step 6: Crochet using single and double crochet into a round coaster 4-5 inches in diameter.

Repost: An Example of a Smart Book Promotion

This post on the CreateSpace Community is very helpful for independent authors looking for a smarter way to promote.

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My friend Cathy Livingstone wrote a clever (and useful) book called Bubbe, Mimi & Gigi: The Best Grandmother Name Book Ever. The guide recently received a glowing review ingrandparents section of About.com, which described it as “a perfect gift for a grandmother-to-be and an especially cool way to let a mom know that she’s about to become a grandmom.”

 

Wow! That’s about as good as it gets. The grandparents section called it a perfect gift? Talk about target marketing!

 

Cathy published the book on her own, so how did this wonderful review come to be?

 

It happened because Cathy made it happen. I love that!

 

Here’s what she did:

 

1) She searched online for a book reviewer in her genre
2) She sent the reviewer a personalized email query
3) The reviewer replied and said she would consider it
4) Cathy sent the reviewer a book
5) The reviewer wrote a review

 

See how effective marketing can be if you’re smart (and organized) about it? When efforts to promote a book go nowhere, it’s often because the author isn’t reaching out to the right audience with the right message. By searching for reviewers in her genre, Cathy was able to connect with a woman who was interested in hearing what she had to say. That’s half the battle right there.

 

Another reason book promotion efforts go nowhere is because the author isn’t assertive enough. Cathy sent the reviewer a book without knowing whether or not it would result in a review. Another smart move.

 

Cathy was smart about her book promotion, and look at the result. You can do it too!

 

-Maria

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more atwww.mariamurnane.com.