It is not easy to find direct clients so you always have to be on alert to take advantage of any situation in which you can meet potential clients in different fields. You can explore the ones you know well but you can go beyond and explore new ones too. Have you ever thought of writers as potential direct clients?
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A writer is widely aware of translations, as it is very important for him to have his books translated and sold in other countries. Generally, publishing houses take care of this task because foreign publishers buy subsidiary rights and so they translate and edit the original book. But this is not always the case as not all writers are famous enough to be included in the budget of the big publishing houses. Also, a big self-publishing industry is developing and an increasing number of authors are doing all the work by themselves.
Therefore, when a writer owns the rights of his book or manuscript he himself can contact a foreign publishing house and offer his foreign version of the book for consideration and to do that he needs the services of a competent translator.
Contact a writer and offer him to translate one of his books on speculation. That means that you will translate the book into the target language so that the writer can sell it directly to a foreign publishing house. In addition, you can be the liaison between the writer and the foreign editor while the transaction takes place providing you with letters, phone calls, contracts, press releases, book promotion and much more to translate.
Once you contact a potential client and you see a hint of interest, don’t stop visiting him, emailing, phoning him, suggesting some new ideas or providing info about the foreign market or whatever you think it’s sensible for him. At the beginning, offer something free so he’ll have a chance to know and build a trustworthy relationship.
While doing the translation you´ll have the advantage of being in contact with the author of the book and discuss dark points or doubts, have access to the bibliography the writer has used as reference and so you’ll have the chance to do an outstanding job. Besides, your name will appear in the first page of the book and this certainly doesn’t happen when you do other kinds of translations.
Different ways of payment can be arranged as you can charge the writer per word or you can split the amount of money the writer will receive from the foreign publisher in a convenient way. That means you’ll have to wait to be paid but if you want to develop a long-term relationship and get a flow of work coming to your desk in the future it is worth exploring.