By Lucas Klein, published
The discussion following my post on footnotes descended, as discussions involving translations often do, into guesses at the world of publishing, and why English-language publishing might be so averse to translations. I called them cowardly (though I can think, especially in the smaller presses, of many brave exceptions); a commentator said they were overworked.
Whatever the reason translations are kept out of the American book market, I was impressed by how translations are marketed in other countries. A novel written by a college friend of mine, Red Weather, recently came out in German, and the publishers have produced a trailer for its release.
I don't understand German, but the trailer is pretty easy to follow.
But a trailer for a book? A clip to be viewed online, on television, in movie theaters perhaps? I don't think I've ever heard of such a thing, let alone for a first novel by a rather obscure (sorry, Pauls) writer in another language, chronicling (I have to admit I haven't read the book) the life of a first-generation Latvian immigrant in the Milwaukee? It's pretty impressive.
Filming a trailer cannot be cheap. But what's interesting is that the German translation of the book is published by Rowohlt Verlag, part of the Holtzbrinck empire. In the American market, Holtzbrink owns Macmillan, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Faber & Faber, Henry Holt, Picador, St. Martin's Press, and others (in the US, Red Weather is published by Shaye Areheart, a subsidiary of Random House, which in turn is owned by the German Bertelsmann). I'm interested in figuring out why, if German publishers have the resources to find making trailers for books--including translations--cost effective in Germany--which has got to be a smaller book market than in the US--why German publishers don't think making trailers is cost effective for the American book market.