…and isn’t it a fine old world? I’ve had the great good fortune to have seen a fair amount of it over the years, and so have my books. Some of the world’s leading publishers have done a stellar job of making my work available in a vast array of languages.
But I’ve written so many books over so many years that it would be unrealistic to expect any publisher to keep all of my work in print. Here at home, in the English language, I’ve turned to self-publishing as a way to make my backlist accessible. It’s served me superbly, and recently I’ve begun exploring my options in other languages. As you’ll see, there’s a fair amount going on.
For years, both my Matthew Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr novels were successfully published in Germany. Then some years ago that stopped, and aside from the film tie-in edition of A Walk Among the Tombstones, my books have been, um, in der Nacht und Nebel verloren. Now, in partnership with Stefan Mommertz, I’m doing what I can to change that. We’ve recently brought out Aus dem Fenster, the first Matthew Scudder short story, and Die Sünden der Väter, the first Scudder novel. Both are available exclusively for Kindle, and are priced at 99¢ (or €0,99) and $2.99 (or €2,99) respectively. Die Sünden der Väter is also available in paperback (€10,69) and the paperback edition is outselling the ebook.
Stefan is back at work on the second Scudder novel, after an interval of translating my bestselling novella, Resume Speed. As Mit leichtem Gepäck, it should be available as soon as it wends its way through the Kindle Single publication process. (I’ll let you know of its availability as soon as I conveniently can; those on the German newsletter list will get immediate word, and you can add your name to that list by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the header NEWSLETTER—DE.)
Aside from five of the Matthew Scudder titles, I’m hard to find in Spanish. But that’s beginning to change, and I’m delighted to announce the first two titles in the Biblioteca clásica del crimen. My novel Such Men Are Dangerous, transformed into El hombre peligroso by Ana and Enriqueta Carrington, has just become available on all Amazon sites, including amazon.es and amazon.com.mx. It’s #7 in the BCC, and Eduardo Hojman’s translation of Killing Castro, Matando a Castro, is #10.
I know what you’re going to say, but the answer’s not that elusive. As you’ll recall, I’ve published 16 of my non-series crime novels in the Classic Crime Library—and we’ll be doing the same thing with the same books in the Biblioteca clásica del crimen. So doesn’t it make sense to keep the same numbers? And, I’m pleased to report, we’re keeping the same low prices as well. They’re all priced at USD $2.99, €2,99, or MEX $49.99.
Ebook only, right?
Wrong. Matando a Castro is already available in paperback, and El hombre peligroso should join it very shortly. The English-language titles in the Classic Crime Library have been moving very nicely in paperback, and readers seem inclined to collect a complete set. I hope the Biblioteca clásica del crimen gets a similar reception.
Meanwhile, Jordi Garcia’s translation of Getting Off, entitled Excitación, is widely available, though only as an ebook. And Jordi’s at work on a book in the Burglar series, even as other Spanish translators are preparing translations of Hit Man and Telling Lies for Fun & Profit. And the Carrington sisters are keeping very busy, with a few different projects on their plate. I’ll let you know as more books and stories become available; the best way to get these announcements early on, and in full detail, is to get on the Spanish newsletter list by sending a blank email to email@example.com with the header NEWSLETTER—ES. (Though if you head it BOLETIN, we’ll figure it out.)
No, I’m not self-publishing my work in Chinese. I’d find the prospect daunting—and there’s no need, because I’m very effectively published in both Taiwan and Mainland China. But this seems like a good time to let readers in Taiwan know that I’m contributing a monthly column to Unitas, the Taiwanese literary magazine. My first three columns were extracted from writing books that haven’t been published in Taiwan, the fourth was a previously untranslated short story, and columns five and six are new material on self-publishing, drawn from the just-published and not-yet-translated Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel. My arrangement with Unitas is for one year, so I’ve got six more columns go, and expect they’ll be a mix of fiction and non-fiction. (And, if they ever want to sign me up for a second year, I’ll say yes in a heartbeat!)
Again, I’ve set up a mailing list segment for Taiwan; you get on it via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org headed, duh, NEWSLETTER — TAIWAN.
Self-publishing in Japanese isn’t a great deal less daunting that in Chinese, but at least Amazon makes it possible, and a young woman in Japan is having a go at Defender of the Innocent, the book-length collection of Ehrengraf stories. If we can solve the formatting problem, perhaps the dapper little lawyer can work his magic in Japanese. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve always been well-published in France, but my backlist is a little overwhelming, and I’ve ventured into self-publishing with Des Hommes Dangereux, Sara Sugihara’s fine translation of Such Men Are Dangerous. The company that brought us together published the book to Amazon and other platforms, and that not only took the pricing out of our hands but made it impossible for us to change certain things. Like, for example, the book description on Amazon; it’s in English, and the book’s in French. If I’d published it myself, it would take ten minutes to fix this. Instead it seems to be impossible. Never mind. It’s an excellent translation, and if you’d like to read the novel in French, well, have at it.
This is all interesting, LB. But a lot of us are pretty much limited to English. Anything for us?
Quite a bit, actually. I’ve dug up another entry for the Classic Crime Library, a novel called Crossroads that has never been published since its pseudonymous appearance in the early 1960s. Not sure when we’ll bring it out, but soon—and in both ebook and paperback. And I’ve launched a companion series, the Collection of Classic Erotica; as of today we’ve got 9 of the books eVailable—21 Gay Street, Candy, Gigolo Johnny Wells, April North, Carla, A Strange Kind of Love, Campus Tramp, Community of Women, and Born to Be Bad. There are another 8 or 9 waiting in the wings—and, as soon as we can make it happen, they’ll all be available in paperback editions as well.
And Resume Speed continues to sell well, and to garner 5-star reviews. The novella, long a commercially awkward length, seems to have come into its own in the ebook universe, and I’d love to publish more of them. In fact I’m hoping to strike Kindle Singles gold with another that’s in the works now, starring a familiar character—but I won’t say more about it until I know if it’s going to work out.
So there’s a lot going on, and the most exciting news of all is that In Sunlight or in Shadow: stories inspired by paintings of Edward Hopper is Pegasus Books’ lead title for the fall season. I’ve seen page proofs, and it’s going to be the most beautiful book with which I’ve ever been associated.
Who’s in the book?
Oh, nobody special. Just Megan Abbott, Jill D. Block, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Child, Nicholas Christopher, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Craig Ferguson, Stephen King, Joe R.Lansdale, Gail Levin, Warren Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Kris Nelscott, Jonathan Santlofer, Justin Scott…and, um, me.
Last but least.
Exactly. It’ll be out in December, but they’re already accepting advance orders, and if you order now you can lock in a very favorable price. Or you can wait—you’ll certainly hear more about this one.
I guess that’s plenty. You know, you’ve spoiled me, LB. I’ve become so used to getting something for free, but I guess those days are over, huh?
Think so, do you?
How about a Classic Crime Library title? Ariel, set in Charleston South of Broad, is the story of an adoption that didn’t work out, of a spooky little girl. It’s sort of horror, sort of psychological suspense, but I always saw it as a portrait of two appealingly geeky kids, Ariel and her friend Erskine.
But y’all can make of it what you will. It’s free right now on all Amazon platforms worldwide, and will so remain until the witching hour: Monday, April 4, at 2:59am Eastern time.
And that’s all, folks. I always invite you to forward the newsletter to anyone who might enjoy it, but I’ll particularly stress that this time, as the most difficult thing with publishing in other languages is to get word out to the appropriate readers. So if you know someone who reads German or Spanish or Chinese or Japanese or French—or, come to think of it, English—well, send this newsletter their way. They may thank you for it. I know I will.
PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to email@example.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.
LB’s Blog and Website
LB’s Facebook Fan Page