Not Really. Some people would argue with my answer saying how the shelf life of a title is limited and the most important thing is to release a title with a bang to get the most sales at the beginning. I think that their argument made sense few years ago, but not today.
In my opinion the publishing plan of a title needs to look further than “short life theory” thanks to the globalization our times and the internet offer. The target market of one title is not just in English (for example) the target market can exist in different languages within the border line of one country. Just look at all the different nationalities in the US that include audiences for Fiction Thrillers, Mysteries, Children or Nonfictions such as Self-Help, Health, Religion…etc. Don’t believe me? Let me explain where I am coming from:
I was born and raised tri-lingual. Came to the US in 1989 100% fluent in English – Spanish and Italian. However at that time if you would ask me what I was reading, the answer would be an American title translated in Spanish or Italian. After over 20 years, my first choice is English, however, when it comes to Fantasy or SciFi I still prefer Spanish or Italian because I can understand better than English scientific terms, or old English. So yes, I would purchase them in Italian or Spanish rather than English. Actually, even now, I will many times skip Sci-Fi and Fantasy (genres that I love) unless I find the translation, because it just takes me too long and too much effort to read it in English.
What makes my experience even more interesting is that while growing up in Venezuela, I knew so many people there that, although fluent in Spanish, would prefer to read English as American Immigrants, German as German Immigrants, Portuguese, Italian…etc. We were all a part of different target markets which many times did not purchase the book we wanted because it was not available in our preferred language. This is going on still now on at even greater scale because the movement of people throughout the globe has not only increased, but thanks to the Internet, globalization is happening with most people not leaving their countries!
Think about it, just with my book Innocent War which has to do with Italian History. If I translate it in Italian (coming out before the year is over) and sell it as an eBook, Italians all over the world that are not fluent in English but are in Italian or Spanish, will most likely check it out even though they never read the English copy (including my mother). So even though my title was published the first time in 2009, and as a revised edition on 2011, it is clear to me that it is still far from R.I.P. I am so convinced about it that this week I am meeting with our next addition in Reader Views to open the Foreign Language Department not only to offer affordable book translations to our authors, but to offer reviews for foreign language books as well. Furthermore, our catalog for libraries will also have a foreign books section as well.
For once, I think that the concept of globalization can have positive consequences as we all can share our messages beyond the language barriers in hopes to enrich someone’s heart who would not have read it otherwise.
Stay tuned with us, as I share some tips on what to take into consideration before deciding to translate your book next time, and keep you updated on our Language Department!