I put together a short FAQ for you to answer some basic questions regarding a translations job, but also some for working with me specifically. My examples are random numbers, go here to request a quote.
The Standard Page
We often get asked for a quote by word, but that’s not how you calculate a translation job. Instead, translators work with a Standard Page, which is defined in its dimensions as 30 lines á 60 keystrokes for literature. However, Rogue Books simply uses the resulting total of 1800 keystrokes for calculation instead of asking you to re-format. Thus, in order to get the number of standard pages to request a quote, you will need the total number of keystrokes with spaces(!) of your story — and only your story! Leave out author bio, meta data, and anything else you have in there which is not part of the story.
total keystrokes with spaces / 1800 = standard pages (always round up!)
Example: 236,954 keystrokes / 1800 = 132 standard pages
When you get the requested quote, you’ll find three main numbers on it: Project Worth, Down Payment, and Minimum Proceeds. And, of course, percentages for royalties.
Project Worth is calculated using the number of standard pages you gave, times price per page. Thus, it is basic compensation, the total we have to eventually get out of the working hours we put into the translation, but it is not what you pay to get going. This sum is split into Down Payment and Minimum Proceeds.
Down Payment is generally 35% of Project Worth when you request a quote. But this number isn’t set in stone! We can adjust it so it fits your budget, as it is the larger sum due after the translation has been delivered to you, and before you are allowed to publish it.
Minimum Proceeds is the part of Project Worth that’s left after the Down Payment has been made, the sum we have to earn off royalties for sold copies. With each month of sales, we work this number down until it hits zero.
Example: Project Worth 2,500 – 650 Down Payment = 1,850 Minimum Proceeds
Royalties are split simply into two stages. Starting with a higher percentage until the amount of Minimum Proceeds is reached (Stage 1), then it drops to a lower percentage (Stage 2). Percentages are negotiable, except for the fact that zero percent is out of the question, even after Minimum Proceeds has been reached.
Example: 20% until Minimum Proceeds is reached (Stage 1); then 10% (Stage 2)
Generally, proofreading is part of the translation job, part of the service. However, as you value your freedom as indie author, and we respect that, you have the option to either let us hire a proofreader, or hire one yourself. As this option exists, proofreading is not factored into Project Worth, but has to be payed seperately.
If you request quote for a proofreading job right away with one for your translation, we’ll give you an estimate with the numbers of the original text.
The Copyright Question
According to German law, the translator holds the copyright to the translation. That may sound confusing, but here’s what it really comes down to:
1) The translator has to be named, at least on the front page of the book.
2) Both parties hold exploitation rights, entiteling them to make profit with the translation. Thus, a contract has to state who can do what exactly, or when both parties have to be in agreement.
What’s in the Basic Agreement?
The main contract we’ve drawn up mostly covers either general legal questions (i.e. formation and termination of a contract) and handles rights holding questions, which general aspects you already know from contracts with your distributors. But let’s give you what’s either important or new:
1) By default, you will hold the mayority of the rights, like pricing, distribution, etc and the right to grant those rights to third parties. This way, you can choose the distributors you want to sell with, when to do price changes or promo events. Like with your original work, basically everything is in your hands.
If you want your translator to handle everything from distribution to royalty splitting, that is handled in the subcontract for each book individually.
2) Translators are granted the right to promote, as well as to make, use, and distribute promotional material, and the right to read the translation in public.
What’s in the Book Contract?
1) All the numbers for Cost.
2) If a book contract or the main contract is terminated, and there is no new contract to subsitute, both parties loose each and every exploitation right to the translation(s) in question.
3) If you want your translator to handle everything from distribution to royalty splitting, all the needed rights will be stated and granted in this subcontract.
Of Course You Can!
The handling of price is totally up to you. We’ll give you input, but the choice is ultimately yours. You can make a translation free for a limited time for promotional purposes even while we’re still in Stage 1.
However, we will include a paragraph in the contract so you can only make a translation of ours permanently free once the amount for Minimal Proceeds has been reached, meaning after we’ve entered Stage 2.
Fixed Price Law
In Germany and several other European countries, unlike in the US or UK, books are subject to a Fixed Price Law. In a nutshell, it means that a book must have the same price at all stores. Thus, if you want to have a sales week, you cannot just offer it on e.g. Amazon, but have to reduce the price on all other platforms as well.
The law is valid through the first 18 months after publication.
Value Added Tax
The VAT on print books is 7%, on digital editions it’s 19%, and it’s already included in the price you enter. Example: You set a book price to 2.99. After a purchase, VAT (here 19%) is reduced off that price = 2.42, and only after that royalties are split.
Artists’ Social Security Insurance Levy
No worries there for anyone outside Germany, there’s no extra costs hiding for you here. This only concerns authors, publishers, and anyone else who’s making use of our translations who’s based in Germany (mostly meaning they pay taxes in Germany).