Our Italian Adventure. The Story of a Translation
This is an out-of-sync blog post to celebrate the publishing of my book in Italian!
PART 59.5: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.
We live in Puglia in the Summer and then back again in the winter.
Before the pandemic, I wrote a book about Rome called "She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome." In this work, I gathered some of the past and present stories that make Rome unique.
The chapters include encounters with Nero, Augustus, Caravaggio, street performers, expats, and contemporary Romans.
The book has done relatively well, having been published by a small UK publishing house (Dixibooks).
But I wanted the book to be published in Italian so that those living in this beautiful country could be part of the "love affair with Rome" described in this book. But how?
Step 1: Starting point.
Dixibooks has been good about seeking out publishers in different language areas; the Rome book was published in Serbian and English. However, the publisher needed help finding contacts in Italy willing to take on this book. I would have to do the footwork.
My starting point was confusion: Where do I begin? Who do I know in the Italian publishing world? The answer: nobody.
So, I turned to LinkedIn.
Step 2: Contacts, Annoyance, and Rewards.
I've used LinkedIn in the past to recruit readers for the books I have published in the past. Being an unknown author, one has to start by connecting one-on-one with people, asking that they might read and review the book.
Recruiting readers on LinkedIn can be annoying for some since most are on LinkedIn to connect with job contacts or career advancement. But, from all of the social media apps I have used, I have been most successful on LinkedIn in finding some interest in my books, especially the one about Rome.
One must have a thick skin when putting oneself out there; some responses were warm ("I'd love to read your work!" others were angry ("So you come here to peddle your book?") and others seemed like scams ("Sure, I'd love to review your book. Let's talk about fees.”).
I love writing but hate marketing, but there is just no way around it if one is trying to build their own readers base.
So I jumped in, didn't respond to rude contacts, and am still building a base of interested readers.
While searching for readers, I found an Italian publisher interested in my Rome book.
Step 3: Copyrights and translations.
One of the disadvantages of having a publisher (as opposed to self-publishing) is the contract's web of legal and financial obligations. For example, if I find a foreign publisher, there has to be a contract and financial agreement between the original English publisher and the translation publisher.
I didn't yet have a clear understanding of these challenges.
Step 4: Visiting Alpes Libri in Rome.
Trying to accomplish something in Italy face to face rather than through phone calls or emails is much more effective. I gave the publisher the dates I would be in Rome, and we agreed on when to stop by.
Step 5: This was easy!
The staff at Alpes was/is interested, open, and professional. After discussing the book translation and contract with Dixi would involve, I set out to put the two publishing houses together to negotiate terms. I also agreed that I would find a translator for the book.
Step 6: Where can I find a legitimate translator?
There are offers for translation work all over the internet, but I needed to figure out where to start, who to trust, and the costs involved. However, after a few starts and stops, I again turned to LinkedIn. It was providential that an Italian professor from Southern California contacted me and asked about translating the book. She was already using the English version of the book in her classroom and thought that an Italian translation could benefit students and others.
Step 7: Relationships.
One great lesson of our time living in Italy is that, in the end, it is relationships that matter.
A collaborative relationship sprung up between the translator, Alpes, and myself, in which we worked online and in person to craft a translation that would focus on transmitting meaning rather than just words. This was a long and sometimes challenging process; we went through several revisions to capture what each chapter, story, and dialogue was trying to convey.
Step 8: The result.
The result of this translation journey is the Italian publishing of "Lei mi ha sedotto: Una storia d'amore con Roma."
I am happy that some of the stories that make Rome unique are now accessible to the Italian-speaking world.
It was an arduous journey, but worth it.
More next time.
Italian: https://www.alpesitalia.it/prodotti-994-lei_mi_ha_sedotto. (Also on Amazon Italy)
She Seduced Me: A Love Affair with Rome. Featured on Edicola WebTV: https://www.edicolaweb.tv/generica/mark-tedesco-una-storia-damore-con-roma/