As of this writing, I currently have 4,700+ followers on my Facebook page. It took me a while to realize that it’s a snapshot of the people who read my novels set during Hollywood’s golden era. For a long while, it seemed like the lion’s share of the people who followed me were fellow Angelenos. I gauged that from the comments they’d leave on the vintage LA & Hollywood photos I post on Facebook: “I live around the corner from here!” and “This is still my favorite theater in LA!”
Then, as the number of my followers grew, I noticed the comments began to change. More frequently I started to hear from people who grew up in LA but had moved away: “Your photos make me miss LA.” or “My grandma used to take me to lunch there!”
Then, as time went on, I noticed people leaving comments like: “When I get to LA, I want this to be the first place I visit.” and “We have nothing like that here in Munich.” That’s when I noticed that I was blipping the radar of people who lived not only outside LA…or California…or the United States, but Norway and Romania and Singapore and Buenos Aires and Madrid and Istanbul. I tended to think that an interest in old Hollywood movies and the culture they emerged from was mostly (not exclusively, of course, but largely) confined to English-speaking countries. But my growing Facebook audience showed me that’s hardly the case. At all.
That got me thinking about how wonderful it would be if I could find a way to make my books available to non-English speaking people. I know enough French to buy a croissant in Paris, and enough Spanish to find the nearest men’s room in Madrid, but that’s hardly enough to translate a whole novel (let alone four, and counting…) What I needed was a professional translator.
And just like that, when I needed it, along came a website which did just that. Babelcube.com pairs authors with translators in the same way that Audiobook Creation Exchange pairs authors with narrators. On Babelcube, you post your book, along with a sample chapter and information about yourself, and then wait to see if any of the translators are interested in taking on your project.
I knew enough about translations to know that – like producing audiobooks – they’re a heck of a lot of work. But I figured that if my Facebook numbers were anything to go by, there might be some interest. And it turned out there was. Within a couple weeks I heard from Carlos Ucar, a Spanish guy now living in London, who wanted to translate my first book, The Garden on Sunset. Right after I heard from him, I was contacted by Gabriela Garcia Calderon, a lawyer in Lima, Peru, who wanted to translate the second one, The Trouble with Scarlett.
I also knew enough about translations to know that, as handy as Google Translate is, they’re as much an art as writing the original material. So I asked Carlos and Gabriela to translate the first chapter of each book, which they did, and I gave it to two friends who speak fluent Spanish AND who are into the old Hollywood era to see if these translations were good. Both Carlos and Gabriela got big thumbs up from my test readers so I gave Carlos and Gabriela the go ahead.
I heard from each of them when they were about halfway through, and then before I knew it, they were finished and hey presto:
So I am now very excited to announce that the Spanish version of my ebooks are available through all the usual channels:
El Jardin en Sunset:
El Problema con Scarlett:
Hollywood’s Garden of Allah novels:
- Book 1 – “The Garden on Sunset”
- Book 2 – “The Trouble with Scarlett”
- Book 3 – “Citizen Hollywood”
- Book 4 – “Searchlights and Shadows”