Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"Angelas Dotter," for example

In a comment to a September 4 posting of mine, a blog visitor wondered how our international editors choose their Select Editions titles. I thought I'd put the answer in this new post.

There are some great similarities from country to country (we publish 17 different editions). Every edition is basically looking for a good story, first and foremost. American books, especially American bestsellers, often travel around the world, getting translated into multiple languages. So to some extent, international readers all enjoy exactly the same books. Authors like Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly and Dick Francis hit bestseller charts in country after country. As in the US, part of an international editor's job is picking the best of the best. And the editors may also be looking for the discovery books, the surprises, the new authors. They feel as we do in the US, that a good mix of stories is the best way to assemble their volumes.

But there are definitely cultural differences. Some countries, like the UK, use more thrillers because that's what their readers want. Some countries lean a little heavier on the romance. Some countries, especially France and Germany, have local authors that their readers enjoy. The goal is that the editor in whatever country keeps an ear to the ground, giving the local readers what they want, as best they can. It's a fun process, especially when you think that a book you're reading today might be read tomorrow, in an entirely different language, by someone halfway around the world.

Speaking of which, the only thing that may slow our international colleagues down is that they need to get our American books translated. And I'll admit that sometimes I can tell those books by their covers, but sometimes I can't. I don't speak French, but a Mary Higgins Clark book entitled Deux petites filles en bleu wasn't hard to figure out as Two Little Girls in Blue. But Angelas Dotter by Kristin Hannah? Well, that's Sweden's translation of The Things We Do for Love (published in Select Editions in 2005). How were we supposed to figure that one out?

The world is an interesting place.

—Jim

1 comment:

Moa-Lisa Bj├Ârk said...

And just in case you didn't already figure it out: "Angelas dotter" means "Angela's daughter" ... "The Things We Do for Love" is an expression that simply doesn't work in translation to Swedish. At the moment we're struggling with what Dick Francis' "Under Orders" will be called in the Swedish Select Editions, and we're leaning towards calling it "Falskspel", but we'll see ...