Translation and Publishing Rountable: How To Get A Contract

By Anne Ishii

The "Translation and Publishing" roundtable q&a was predominated by questions from translators on how to get contracts. Having once been the marketing director for a translation publishing house myself (Vertical, Inc. specializing in Japanese fiction), I could offer a few pieces of advice, but probably of no avail to anyone outside of said publishing house's peculiar modus operandi (where we more often commissioned translations, and hardly ever accepted solicitations). But here's what the panelists said:

Make sure the rights to whatever you want to translate are available.

Publishing parts of the whole work in periodicals isn't necessarily going to help you get a book deal.

Poets are a poet's best friend.

And my personal favorite piece of advice, given by Chad Post of U. Rochester's Open Letter: Never start a cover letter with a rhetorical question like, "Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a French maid?"


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