English to Tagalog materials which are adaptations, translations, and other forms from broadcast media have always been sourced for immediate publication. While publishers pour money on translations of popular books, they are also intent on translating what they consider as value-laden materials such as those which won’t necessarily become best-sellers but have been proven useful by a target group of readers. This is the reason why so called How-To books are never out of patrons. Just look at the list of bestsellers out there and three in ten will be how-to-books. These books have value because they meet specific needs at specific times, and they can always be updated.
Publishers in the Philippines have different ways of acquiring English to Tagalog materials for publication. Translations and adaptations have certain copyright conditions that either the author/translator or the publisher need to fulfill. The best way to know standard operating procedures is obviously to research the websites of the source and find enlightenment there.
The Author as Marketing Representative
So you, the author have your English to Tagalog material ready (read: not a draft, but an edited final copy for publication). If you have given this big idea your best effort at writing and rewriting (or translation/adaptation), plus you’ve gotten some endorsements and other validation of its value, it’s time to approach a publisher.
If you want to boost sales of your book, give it the widest circulation possible, you have to do your part in some informal form of marketing research.
1. Who is the publisher who can best package, market, publicize and sell your book? How about approaching one that has an aggressive marketing prowess and a deep desire to make every book successful? You can see this in the way they package their books and their creative means of promoting them.
2. Get out of your way to learn about the book business. You have to be specially familiar with the publishing calendar, how a publisher times its publication to gain maximum exposure for its books. Don't dread publishing deadlines. How you are able to meet your deadlines will help boost your sales.
3. Once you’ve found your publisher and signed up with them, don’t just sit there and relax. Draft some plans on how you are going to help promote the book and propose this to your publisher. If you have connections try getting some pre-publication orders. Or if you have prowess in writing copy for teaser tweets, then post a succession of creative 114 characters to promote your book. Continue seeking ways to augment your publisher’s efforts at marketing your material.
4. Study the distribution process – figure out some bookstores SOPs. Spend a good amount of time inside a popular bookstore. You should have at least an idea of how your book will be shelved in there, and the books that will be sitting beside it. Understand the psychology of why people buy what they buy, and who buys what. This is a tall order but from the point of view of a marketer, this is crucial.
5. With the publisher’s encouragement, do not miss a book tour once your book is published. Map all festivals that you can make your book available for sale or for promotion and discuss these with your publisher as well. There is no such thing as a small event. Your call is to plant recall.
Your publisher will have done the useful work on packaging your book that includes enhancements on the cover: image or color, display type and size, how your byline should appear, whether a subtitle will invite interest, and of course, whether it is hardbound or soft bound.
For marketing purposes, even the blurb or the short teaser at the back of the book can’t be taken for granted. And you should know that the spine isn’t worthless so the book title should be prominent there. But after knowing all these, your involvement in promoting your book is what will keep the sales coming. There are no short cuts to this, but today, with mobile search and so on, the possibilities are endless.
Remember, if you write to be read, you cannot be shy. Think like a marketing person. This will also boost your confidence as an author because you will have concrete ideas on how to make your English to Tagalog materials truly valuable to those who will buy them.