I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Le Manifeste des Oliviers


So, I was thinking to myself, what if I get the first few chapters and the synopsis of my novel translated into French? Oui! Le Manifeste des Oliviers. Why not try to attract the interest of a French publisher? What have I got to lose? I live in France. A big part of my book takes place in France. I would be here to help promote it. French publishers are famous for being more open, willing to take a punt on something, aren't they?

Well, you know what? I have taken a tiny step towards bringing that idea to fruition, just in case it's a path worth walking down. A French journalist friend who lives in Paris has offered to turn the synopsis and the first few chapters into French. He has great English, is really into creative writing and is currently translating a novel and some short stories by an American author. He says he also knows a publisher who has printed work by foreigners who haven't been published in their own countries. She also recently published a book of short stories by a dozen New Zealand authors, so it wouldn't come as something bizarre to meet my main character, who comes from New Zealand.

Of course, for now, I'm just putting my big toe into this new pool. I'm not going to get all excited just yet. But this is an option that I want to look at. It's different - and different is what we need in this business, isn't it? I've been looking hard for bites in the UK and back in New Zealand. One big publisher said my novel would be better suited to a small, independent press; a small press said it would be more successful printed by a big publisher. That's right! That is why we need to think outside of the box, explore different ways of cracking this whole thing!

* * *

Meanwhile, I've been working on my new novel, a short story and some poems this week ... all to the sounds of some wonderful music from Ireland. Has anyone else seen and been blown away by the film Once, starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova? This is a superb movie, full of romance and inspirational music. Here's one of the main songs, Falling Slowly : (click twice on the play button!)

If you want to hear some other great songs from the film then click HERE, where you can hear the entire album for free and on a loop. I strongly recommend these songs: If you want me; When your mind's made up; and Gold. Check out the film if you haven't already; it is quite something!


Unknown said...

Sounds good, Shameless. I hope you get a bite.
I often wonder how many good books there are out there that the author's just gave up on. Probably thousands.
Keep going, take risks - they pay off!

Saaleha said...

Good for you, Shameless. You never know until you try. That's what the infamous 'they' always say...

apprentice said...

Sounds a great plan. Good luck with it and always good to have a potenially sympathetic ear.

I saw a crit of this film, they seemed to love the idea of it, but thought the female lead was a bit stilted. However they thought it was brilliant given the tiny budget etc. Also interesting look at Ireland being the subject of inward migration.

S. Kearney said...

Minx, yes, every little boulevard needs to be explored! :-)

Hi Saaleha, absolutely! :-)

Thanks Apprentice,
Yes, it was brilliant. The acting was very natural ... almost like watching a documentary. I could find no fault at all with it. Very uplifting. :-) And the music ...

litlove said...

As far as I've heard, it really is worth trying the French publishers. For academic books they are certainly more risk-taking and more approachable than the UK ones. So bon courage and it's certainly worth a go, Seamus!

S. Kearney said...

Hi litlove,
Thanks! Yes, I'm up for giving this a go ... I mean, I do live here and speak this tongue now! :-)

Sarah Hina said...

Love, love, love ONCE! That movie touched a chord within me that I won't soon forget. It felt so authentic, and the music was dazzling. Thanks for posting about it.

Good luck with the French translation. Sounds like a brilliant idea. I think I would have a few qualms about surrendering my words to someone else, but I suppose it's done all the time in translations, and it sounds like you've made a good, capable contact who will honor the integrity of your work.

Way to think outside the box! :)

S. Kearney said...

Hi Sarah,
Yes, Once was pretty special! :-) I loved the fact that everything was very low-key, like a documentary, with no great attempt at "hollywood" effects. It was simply the story and the music. Told and shot in a very simple, natural way. Thanks re the translation ... we'll see! :-)

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Great idea, and you know what? I love that photo for your cover...maybe with that other proposed cover from a while ago worked in too.

Best of luck!

The Quoibler said...


I think this is a brilliant idea, one I certainly would have never considered in a million years.

As Minx suggests, there are probably plenty of stories out there that, if translated, might appeal to a different audience.

It's always refreshing to find a writer who doesn't pigeonhole him- or herself into believing that a dead end has to mean THE end for his or her writings.

Keep up the optimistic attitude! It will get you far!


P.S. My word verification started with "aok", but I chose to see it as "a-ok", a positive sign. - Me

S. Kearney said...

Hi Sognatrice. This manuscript shot for the cover? Mmmmmm. Something to explore! :-)

Hi Quoibler! and welcome!
Thanks for your comments here. We keep on keeping on, like moths to the flame! :-)

unarex said...

It amazes me how much they contradict one another as far as what they think will and won't sell. One agent will say they can't sell it because of x, and another will say they can't sell it because of y. In actuality, they really don't have a clue. Stress your "fan" base and the means you have to advertise as best as possible, they are far more moved by dollars than words.

I had one agent tell me that only books between 80-120K can be sold to a publisher. (A load of crap). I had another who told me that 70K was the perfect length for a book. So not even they know what they are talking about even when it comes to matter of fact things.

Getting these people, and people in general to "think outside the box" is the biggest challenge. I threw out the box long ago. Or rather, Oscar is sitting on it:


unarex said...

"they are far more moved by dollars than words."

Or in your case it would be francs!

S. Kearney said...

What you say there is so true ... there are so many examples of readers and agents and publishers saying it really is up to "subjective" opinions, which would be different from person to person. Many of them also don't seem to have a clue about what the market/readers really want, when you see the hundreds of print-runs that go into the recycling bin.

unarex said...

Dan spoke with an agent on the phone and even he admitted that the agents don't have a clue what will sell. Often when there is some success, they will try to duplicate that by publishing watered down versions of it (like Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes--his took off, but afterwards there being the boom in Irish interest & memoirs, some that sold and others that didn't). They don't know quality when they see it, and by making everything seem the same they think they're playing it "safe" when really they're just homogenizing everything, and they all end up in the remaindering aisles. If they DID know what they were doing, that wouldn't be happening. You just have to keep working at it, unfortunately. I say this despite how frustrating it gets.

BTW--have you ever thought of writing a series of essays on your travel experiences? Non-fiction tends to be an easier sell than fiction. Just a thought...

Kay Cooke said...

I wish you all the very best, I'm sure the road to being published has well and truly been started. Good luck - bonne chance.

S. Kearney said...

Hi Jessica,
All so true, but yes, we just have to keep knocking. Re non-fiction, yeah that could be something I'd like to do later ... :-)

Thanks CB! How long is that road ... that's the big question. But if I can have some fun in the meantime, and not make that goal an absolute must, then everything will be just fine. :-)

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great opportunity and a nice bit of lateral thinking. Will keep fingers crossed for you and hope that something really good comes of it. Good luck!

S. Kearney said...

Hi AV, good to see you back up and about! :-) I hope you are feeling better. Thanks for your encouragement ... I just thought, hand on a minute, I've been living here for 10 years, half the book takes place here, there are lots of publishing houses with different philosophies, and I am here to help with the marketing etc. Worth a stab! :-)