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Friday, April 06, 2001

American Gods Blog, Post 32

And the question comes in from places as far away and as far apart (except of course alphabetically) as France and Finland, “What is happening with foreign editions of American Gods? When will it come out in my country?” And the answer is...

It’ll be a while. (Except in Australia, where they’ll be importing the Headline edition from the UK.)

My literary agents, Writers House, are waiting for the bound galleys to come in from Harper Collins – they should be around any moment now. Then they will send out copies of those galleys to their sub-agents in various countries all around the world, who will show them to the publishers who will offer them money for the rights to publish the book.

(It’s probably worth mentioning here that at last year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, the foreign publishers were all told that American Gods was coming. Really it was. So they are all prepared to read it. And, with luck, to like it and offer lots of yen, francs, marks, zloties and crumbulae.)

And then the foreign publishers will get translators in, who will try and figure out how to translate some things and still keep the spirit of the book, something that I do not envy them on. (A French example from Patrick Marcel, who translated Neverwhere and Smoke and Mirrors into French: Thursday in English translates as Thor’s Day, in French it’s Mardi – Mars’s Day. This apparently trivial fact can be quite important in a book with gods in it.)

And then, probably sometime in the following 12 - 24 months, the book will come out. Sometimes I get sent copies. Often I find out about them only when I sign one for someone, or hear about them from people who grumble about the Serbian translations of my books, and I say “I didn’t know I’d written any Serbian books”.

Sometimes the publishers bring me in to do signings for them, and sometimes they don’t (mostly they don’t, but it’s fun when they do). Sometimes the translations are good, and sometimes they aren’t (I normally find out from people telling me how much better it is to read the book in English). (I’m still waiting for someone to come up and tell me how much improved the book was by being translated into Japanese or Greek; it’s only a matter of time.)

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