Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Italian Job

Deadlines. You know the drill.

Editor Charlie forwarded me the cover art for the Italian edition of Mom's Cancer, which is being published next month by Double Shot-Bottero Edizioni. Looks a lot like the English edition, which is fine with me--although I also don't mind when a foreign publisher changes things up to fit their perception of the audience, as the French did. I find that very interesting. I'm surprised the Italian editors didn't translate the title.

I guess some writers demand painstaking control over how their work is presented overseas. I certainly understand that need but don't necessarily share it. My publisher Abrams has my foreign rights (which, as I've explained before, I voluntarily and happily assigned to them) and our understanding is that the pictures and words of Mom's Cancer remain as unaltered as translation allows. As long as I get that, I'm pretty flexible about format, cover art, soft or hard cover, etc. Of course I want it to look its best, but I figure the foreign publisher's job is knowing what appeals to their market. Since selling books is in our mutual interest, I don't mind investing some faith in them.

I got a very nice note from the Italian editor about a week ago, telling me that they debuted my book at a big national book fair and got a lot of positive response. They seem enthusiastic about it, which feels great. As always, I'm a bit befuddled and bedazzled that people I don't know halfway round the world are reading my story in a language I don't speak. Don't know if I'll ever get over that. Hope not.



l said...

Ooh, Italian! Awesomeness!
It is interesting how they kept the cover and title the same, maybe keeping it like the original is more popular in Italy. Or maybe they think the English looks cool.
One does have to wonder what language your book is going to be translated into next...

Mike said...

As far as translating the title goes, think of the Italian movies that came here with titles intact: La Dolce Vita, Il Postino, 8 1/2 ... okay, that one might have been translated, but how would you know? Then think of the ones that didn't ... A Fistful of Dollars, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly ... it's a question of perceived quality.

Glad they didn't send it out with subtitles, however. Translating the inside is a good idea.

ronnie said...

Ciò è notizie grandi!

Okay, Google translated that, not me, so it might be a little dodgy. :)

lorenzo said...


I'm one of the three guys decided to publish Mom's Cancer in Italy.
We have talked very much between us if we had to translate the title or not.
At the end, we decided for the original title, because the word CANCRO still fears people, and because the book was famous with its original title.

My girlfriend told me if I can thank Brian for his work. She lived the same situation for two times with her parents, and the book gave back to her the feelings she had in that period (the good ones and the bad ones).

Many Thanks
Lorenzo (Double Shot-Bottero Edizioni)

P.S.: sorry for my english. You can be happy that I didn't translate the book! :-)))

Brian Fies said...

Lorenzo, thank you and your partners for publishing my book. Your girlfriend's opinion means a lot to me, thank you for sharing it.

Mike and Ronnie, thanks my friends.

L, I don't know if any other translations are in the works right now. Maybe Spanish, I don't remember. I'm hoping for Japanese someday.