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Translating your work is big business

Posted by Tom Chalmers on October 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

During the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, the translations market has inevitably generated many column inches. One of the main stories being that AmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, announced a commitment to publish exceptional works of literature from Indonesian authors translated into English beginning in early 2016. This was said to be part of a headline grabbing $10 million investment by the company to increase the publication of international books into English. Such a commitment should be applauded; after all there is a wealth of writing talent across a variety of territories which should have the opportunity to reach a wider audience.

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of authors would love to see their work sitting on bookshelves across the world in a variety of different languages, and the question we often get asked is - should I adapt my work so it might appeal to a more international audience?

There is no right or wrong answer to this but what we always advise is that first and foremost you should simply to write the book that you want to write. Generally speaking, aiming your work at specific markets is more likely to distract you and weaken the overall copy. If your work is good enough and you do manage to get it in front of the right people then it will have a good chance of being licensed internationally. Having said that it’s worth thinking about how and why your work might appeal in different territories, languages and formats. This will obviously help in terms of potential connections as well as providing a valuable selling point for a particular territory and audience.

And when it comes to translations another common question is - would it help to get into certain markets if I had my book translated first? Our stock answer to this is, not usually. If a publisher wants to take a book and publish it in a different language, they will usually already have set translators that they work with. There are also grants available to them for translation which they may wish to take advantage of.

Getting it translated yourself just with a view to licensing it in a particular territory is more often than not simply a waste of time and money. However, if this is something that you really want to do then let me underline just how vital it is for both the author and translator to be fully aware that translating the text provides no guarantee of the translation being published. And, also as important, is that there should always be a written contract between the author and the translator. This should clarify the rights of each party and how the proceeds are to be divided if, subsequently, a publisher is prepared to issue the translation.

Writing with an eye on being an international bestseller translated into 12 different languages may be a little ambitious, but if your work refers to a specific territory or territories then why not look to maximise the rights in those territories and that includes rights in translation. Whatever way you look at it, translations are big business and knowing how and where to market translation rights, or knowing someone that does, is the key to unlocking this potentially lucrative sector.


Take control of your promotion

Posted by Brian Jud on July 23, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)
Direct mail is a targeted marketing weapon that can help you sell more books, test new titles, and generate sales leads. When you have a finite, identifiable group of people who are potential customers for your books, direct mail may be the most effective and efficient marketing tool you can use to reach them. It gives you control of the timing, delivery and content of your promotion, a predetermined fixed cost and the means to forecast and measure the return on your marketing investment.


Brian Jud is the Executive Director of APSS ( - formerly SPAN. He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; or

Author Education Key to Showcasing Work

Posted by Tom Chalmers on April 2, 2015 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

In my previous blog post I talked about how self-published authors need to rise to the challenge of exerting greater control over their works to ensure they maximise all potential sales and revenue streams. Judging from the response we’ve had to the recent launch of the IPR License and The Writing Bank: Write, Learn, Earn Masterclasses, especially in the licensing and marketing sessions, this certainly appears to be happening.

How to best market and showcase titles has long been a question posed by self-published and indie authors far and wide. This obviously remains a priority for the majority, which is why the IPR License platform continues to prove so popular as an additional route to reaching a wider audience and potentially generating international interest.

The relationship between marketing, sales and licensing is closer than many writers think. Having said that, for far too long licensing and rights were often words met with quizzical expressions among the writing community. Education continues to remain vital in raising this important sector’s profile and it’s up to companies operating within this field, as well as organisations such as AiA, to carry on outlining the potential benefits when and where possible.

Being a successful indie or self-published author isn’t easy. As I’ve said a number of times, individual books in this market, as well as traditional publishing fields, should be treated as their own small business. For any small business to work it has to maximise all revenue streams effectively and efficiently.

Technology can often play a big role in this process and it’s great to see that more authors of all levels are really starting to embrace advances throughout the learning, creative, marketing, licensing and distribution process. The publishing industry can often be described as slow moving and traditional but it’s those forward-thinking indie and self-published authors who are really helping to propel the market to new heights through finding the most innovative ways to showcase and ultimately sell their works. Long may it continue.


Think minimum instead of maximum.

Posted by Brian Jud on October 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Do not look at special sales (non-bookstore marketing) as a big project requiring you to change the way you sell books overnight. Instead, what is the minimum you can do to get started? Just commit to spending 15 minutes a day for the next week thinking about how a corporation could use your content to help them. How about an association? Could a school use your material? Then next week spend 20 minutes a day searching for potential companies, associations and contacts in the home-school market. As you begin to experience success your enthusiasm will overtake you and you will launch yourself into a new way of doing business – without giving up the old.


Find tips on how to do that at the APSS Book-Selling University, October 24-25 in Philadelphia, sponsored by Bowker. For more information and to register, please visit or contact Brian Jud at (860) 675-1344(860) 675-1344 or


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Entice People to Respond to Your Direct Mail Campaigns

Posted by Brian Jud on August 28, 2014 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Direct mail is a targeted marketing weapon that that can help you sell more books, test new titles, and generate sales leads. When you have a finite, identifiable group of people who are potential customers for your books, direct mail may be the most effective and efficient marketing tool you can use to reach them. It gives you control of the timing, delivery and content of your promotion, a predetermined fixed cost and the means to forecast and measure the return on your marketing investment.


The foundation of direct marketing is to get people to act – to place an order for your book or to request more information about your consulting or speaking services. There are several basic propositions you can use by themselves or in various combinations overcome the recipient’s inertia.


1) Free information. This is often the most effective offer, particularly when your objective is to build a list or generate leads for future business. Tell people that when they send for a copy of your book they will also receive a special report or booklet with free, useful information. You can also direct people to your web site for answers to frequently asked questions.


2) Samples. If you are selling booklets or other low-cost items, a sample will show people the level of information and quality they may expect when purchasing from you. Perhaps making an excerpt available on your web site will accomplish the same result for your books.


3) Conditional sale. If you are selling a subscription to your newsletter, you could offer the premier issue for free if the prospect agrees to a one-year subscription.


4) Yes-No. This is an involvement proposition where the prospect is asked to respond by indicating whether he or she accepts or rejects your offer.


5) Time limit. Setting a time limit on a given offer forces action, either positive or negative. Usually it is more effective to name a specific date rather than a time period.


6) Discounts. A discount is a popular lure and is particularly effective where the value of your book is well established. Three types of discounts are typically offered: for cash, for an introductory order or for volume purchases. Providing free shipping could be considered a discount if the customer is used to paying for freight.


7) Negative option. This offer prearranges for shipment if the customer does not cancel the shipment by mailing a rejection form prior to the deadline (check state laws before using this technique).


8) Positive option. In this case, every shipment is based on a direct action by the customer.


9) Load-up. This is a favorite of publishers of continuity series. For example, you would offer a set of twelve books, one to be released each month. After the customer has received and paid for the first three books you would invite him or her to receive the remaining nine all in one shipment with the understanding that payments may continue to be made monthly.


10) Free gift. The most important criterion for gift selection is 1) appropriateness of the gift, 2) its effect on repeat business and 3) net profit per thousand including the cost of the gift.


11) Secret gift. If the prospective customer completes all the information on the reply card or order form he or she will receive an extra free, unnamed gift.


12) Advance payment. If you want the customer to order with a credit card or to send a check with the order you could offer an incentive for doing so. This might be a special report or free gift.


13) Add-on offers. If you want your prospects to call you, tell them to ask for your special offer when they speak to your sales person. A variation of this might direct more traffic to your web site.


14) Deluxe alternatives. Give the customer a choice between your perfect-bound book and your special leather-bound edition. An autographed copy could be considered a deluxe alternative, too.


15) Offer a guarantee. The words satisfaction guaranteed are at the heart of all mail order selling. If you include a buy-back option it becomes even more effective.


16) Bounce-backs. This offer succeeds on the premise that the best time to sell people is right after you have sold them. Forms offering more of the same item, related books or items totally different from that originally purchased are included in shipments or with the invoices.


17) Optional terms. Here, the objective is to give the prospect the option of choosing terms at varying rates. The bigger the commitment the better the bargain.


Want ot sell as many books as Random House does? See the APSS University keynote presentation by former Vice President, Special Markets, Random House on Oct 24-25 in Philadelphia



Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS –– formerly SPAN). He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344(860) 675-1344; or




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Indie Authors Need to Think Like Publishers

Posted by Tom Chalmers on April 17, 2014 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve seen more articles on rights and licensing in the second half of 2013 and first quarter of 2014 than the past years combined, and that’s a conservative estimate.

The penny is beginning to drop for indie and self-published authors but it’s certainly not hitting the jackpot it should for most. Of course historically these are not areas in which authors really had to care about, or even think about. But times have changed. Savvy author entrepreneurs are swiftly identifying the vast potential attached to rights and licensing and breaking into new territories across a range of mediums such as digital, audio, permissions, translations etc.

Even highly established and successful authors such as Lynda La Plante are adapting to really get to grips with the rapidly evolving rights and licensing marketplace. And just how lucrative it can be. The relatively recent launch of her new company, La Plante Global will see her controlling all of her future book, TV and film deals, as well as digital content and production. It will be interesting to see if many other experienced and influential authors follow in her footsteps.

In terms of those less experienced authors, too few are afraid to admit not understanding certain processes in the publishing world and this is especially apparent when it comes to rights and licensing. Let’s reiterate though that it’s fine to ask, writers aren’t expected to know everything and thankfully resources are available to help fill any knowledge gaps.

Organisations such as AiA do a great job across so many areas to promote the many skills and values needed by authors. But to the same extent authors all need to really do their homework to ensure that they know how and where particular pieces of work may hold the greatest value possible.

It may sound like a big job but indie and self-published authors need to think more like a publisher and therefore as a business if they want to get their work to a larger audience. Fear not , help is out there and on that note if you would like to know more or have any rights/licensing related queries then please leave a comment or contact me directly or tweet me @Tom_Chalmers.

Tom Chalmers is Managing Director at IPR License. IPR License was launched in 2012 and is the global, digital marketplace for authors, agents and publishers to list and license book rights. See or email for more information