Self-Published? So Were These Authors. They Translated Their Books and Saw Their Sales Go Through the Roof

Self-published authors have a unique responsibility; along with focusing on writing exceptional content, they also have to pay attention to the details and work involved with publishing and marketing their books. Although the responsibility might seem huge, several writers have experienced higher sales with self-publishing than they would have with traditional publishers. Much more so, when they’ve decided to have their books translated to reach international markets as well. In fact, self-published books tend to receive 5.5 times more readership in non-English countries.

Here are some self-published authors who have been successful with their translated works:

Jean Joachim
As a self-published writer, Jean Joachim has had tremendous success. Her books have regularly reached Amazon’s Top 100 list since 2012. After publishing books in English, the romance writer decided to have some of her works translated into Italian. Following the success of that translating venture, she decided to branch out into other languages, including Spanish. In addition to her sizable sales, Joachim has won several awards, including being named 2012 Author of the Year by the Romance Writers of America, New York City Chapter.

James Redfield
After self-publishing his first novel, The Celestine Prophecy, in 1992, James Redfield quickly became a recognized author. The book was so highly regarded that Warner books purchased the rights to it, causing the novel’s sales to soar even more. The book was included in the New York Times Best Seller List for three years, and it was translated into 34 languages. In addition, the book’s sequel, The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision, went on to become a bestseller, owing to the international audience its prequel had created.

Oliver Pötzsch
Oliver Pötzsch, who is known for being one of the first writers to become successful through self-publishing, experienced his triumph when he had one of his books translated from German to English. At first, the German version of the novel did not sell as he had hoped, but it received strong reviews. However, the translated title, The Hangman’s Daughter, quickly did well in the English markets. Set in 17th-century Bavaria, the book is part of a series that is based on the story of his ancestors. Now, Pötzsch has written close to a dozen novels, selling more than 2.5 million copies of his books across the globe.

Elliott Katz
When Elliott Katz first wrote and self-published Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man, he originally intended it for the North American audience. He simply hadn’t considered trying to sell foreign rights. It was only when he received emails from interested parties abroad that he thought his message might resonate in different cultures as well. Cut to today, the foreign rights for his books have been sold to publishers in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, African and Latin America.

Susanne O’Leary

After having three novels traditionally published, writer Susanne O’Leary opted for self-publishing when working on her next books. O’Leary has commented that self-publishing gives her the freedom to choose what to write and when to write it, as well as to select her own book covers and work with the editor of her choice. After learning that there was a market for women’s contemporary romantic fiction in the German language, she decided to enter the German market with her book, Fresh Powder. She achieved her goal to publish the translated book, Frischer Schnee, and she is considering having it translated into French as well.

72% of customers give preference to content in their native language. It’s really no surprise that these authors and so many others achieved such success when they opted to translate their books. It’s a particularly useful route to take for self-published authors. Simply because they don’t have the backing of traditional publishers doesn’t mean they don’t have an audience – in their native country or abroad. And it really isn’t a complicated process either.

Here’s a quick primer for potential authors who’re looking to breach foreign markets with their publications.

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