Pub Rants

Big In Slovenia!

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STATUS: What craziness. Sara just got her wallet stolen and since of course she’s got the company credit card, we had to do some quick phone calling. Lucky for us, the thief was not able to act quickly enough to use the card.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? IF NOT NOW by Tracy Chapman

Okay, this is terribly embarrassing story. Yesterday, we sold one of our client books to be translated into Slovene.

Yeah, I had to look up Slovenia on google maps.

I had guessed former Yugoslavia but the fact that I couldn’t say for sure, well, that shows a bit of shortcoming on my part. Bad agent! If I’m going to sell a translation right, I really ought to know to which country and where it is on the globe…

But hey, maybe we’ll be big in Slovenia! May this be the first of many.

21 Responses

  1. Lisa Iriarte said:

    I’m just wondering, if it’s not too personal, how the wallet was stolen. We’re heading out to Denver for WorldCon. Anything we should be wary of?

    Lisa Iriarte

  2. Don said:

    I guess between being half-Slovene, half-Czech and growing up in a neighborhood full of Slavs as a kid, but I know the countries of Eastern Europe quite well. Slovenia, btw, is one of the prettiest spots on the planet.

  3. Anonymous said:

    Why should you know where a country is located simply because you’re selling the rights there? It would not make your sale any better. If you think you’re not great at geography and its embarassing to admit it, OK, I can dig that… but does it really matter if you’ve never been to Denmark or Sweden to let someone handle the rights to those countries? your perfectionism is showing!

    Look at it like this: Do you think you really know all of your clients that well? Have you spent time in person with each of them so that you can honestly say you know them beyond their writing strenghts and weaknesses and the their surface personality presentation? Even when you’ve made the above-and-beyond gesture of inviting some of them to Kristin’s Special Spa Day for fun and girl-talk or hooked up at conferences–do you really know them?

    I’ve had a number of very substantial and well-known agents over the years. Only one of them did I ever meet in person. Beyond knowing me through the written word and some phone conversations, none of them really knew much about me. This did not stop them from taking me on or trying to sell my work.

    Point being: you can do a lot for people in the business of agenting without really knowing them very well–as long as you’re good at making the right match of their work with your editorial contacts. No?

  4. Eric Riback said:

    Cool. I’ve sold maps in translation to Slovenia. Ljubljana looks like a beautiful city from pictures I’ve seen. If only our deals were big enough to necessitate visits!

  5. Jana Lubina said:

    I’m Croatian, and I’m frequently amazed that people don’t know anything about the former Yugoslav nation or the independant countries that formed (reformed) after it’s collapse. Especially considering that it was the scene of the worst, most brutal war crimes that ocurred in Europe since WWII. This is a war that ended barely over a decade ago where numerous people, including children and the elderly, were tortured and slaughtered in concentration camps. Yet many people know nothing of it.

    Granted, Slovenia was largely spared the attrocity.

    And this comment is off-topic, but your post reiminded me of that fact.

  6. Anonymous said:


    I understand how you feel. It’s embarrassing sometimes even if no one else ever knows.

    Just remember that a lot of former Soviet/East Bloc states have reverted to traditional names and territorial boundaries that haven’t been in common use since the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

    Add to that the fact that some of this stuff still hasn’t been ironed out completely yet and its not surprising that we all need a map.

  7. Marianne Mancusi said:

    That’s like when my publisher told me they sold the rights of my News Blues book to Estonia. I had to look it up to figure out where that was. It turns out it’s a country of about a thousand people. Wonder what a typical print run there is? 🙂


  8. Just_Me said:

    That’s great! I can guess where Slovenia is but I probably couldn’t label it on a blank map.

    Still, much fun for the author.

    Which book did you sell over there?

  9. Anonymous said:

    Hope they don’t pay you in slotsky’s…or whatever they call their currency. Or is that a sandwich?

  10. JES said:

    One of my tech reference books was translated into “simple Chinese.” (I think that’s what it’s called.) My one copy of that edition remains a favorite one to pull off the shelf and browse through, even though I can’t read a lick of Chinese, simple or otherwise. I’m kind of charmed to see all the stuff they couldn’t translate — screen shots, especially.

    Know what you mean about thinking you might have overlooked something important — not knowing where Slovenia is, in this case. Almost anybody who takes a lot of pride in his/her work would feel at least a twinge of that; only a lucky few souls have the psychological armor to say, Hey, it’s all good, just keep the good news flowin’, pal — no matter where it’s coming from! I envy such people. (But at the same time am glad I worry about such issues.)

  11. Anonymous said:

    Dear Ms. Nelson,
    If possible, please write more about beginning writer’s mistakes. How about a fun workshop? I enjoyed your Query Workshop. It was not only interesting and fun, but it was also informative and it gave us something to look forward to each day. Ditto for last week’s entries.
    Not that its your job to entertain your readership, but sure is fun when you get us up and participating on something together.
    Just a thought…

  12. AstonWest said:

    They claim that the only plus side of the US going to war is that it brushes everyone up on a small section of world geography.

    I think it would be fascinating to have a book translated, and then have someone who knows the language actually translate it back into English for you. There was a “love offering” donation box through our denomination which had text printed in various languages on it, and one of the translations was French, “giving of love.” When one of my roommates (from France) in college saw it, he asked me about it…because apparently that particular usage of “giving of love” meant something COMPLETELY different than what the church had intended.


  13. Scott said:

    When I lived in Graz, Austria for a few months, I paid a visit to Maribor. Slovenia was still part of Yugoslavia then, and for a 20-year-old American, the border crossing felt a little scary, so I never ventured any deeper into that very beautiful country.

  14. Chumplet said:

    My hubby is Slovenian! His mom passed away a few weeks ago and the Slovenian Catholic Church here in Toronto had a full Mass with a choir singing in Slovenian.

    She had lots of stories about the farm on which she was raised.