Dear Author Enablers,
I’m a former journalist working on a mystery novel and I would be interested in resources to workshop the first few chapters of the novel. I believe I may have a future as an author, but I don’t want to be self-delusional and pursue something I’m not capable of doing, so I’m seeking feedback early on in order to avoid pain and agony later. My friends say, “Oh, this is great,” but are they only being polite? Am I paranoid? You’ll have to be the judge. . . .
Paula Glover
Manhattan, Kansas

It’s a great idea to find peers who will give you a constructive critique of your manuscript. We are big fans of writers’ conferences, writers’ groups and adult education classes for networking and getting intelligent, honest feedback. Check with your local bookstore or public library: Many host writers’ groups and workshops. You can also find many workshop resources online. It’s not easy to find the right group, but it’s well worth the effort. As for being paranoid—let’s just say we’re writing from an undisclosed location.

Dear Author Enablers,
I need to know the names of agents or publishers willing to publish parodies. My love of basketball and Abraham Lincoln has led to my 15th book, If Abe Lincoln Were A Basketball Coach. This parody is in need of a publisher. I enjoy your wit and wisdom almost as much as the wit and wisdom of Abe Lincoln.
C. Byron Buckley
North Vernon, Indiana

Oh no—you stole our Lincoln-basketball coach idea!

Seriously—the best way to find out who publishes similar work is to go to the library or a good bookstore and do a little poking around. Make a list of publishers who have recently published parodies or, even better, who specialize in them. Then look for the publishers online or in Literary Market Place and adhere to their submission guidelines.

Do this with malice toward none and you’ll have a slam dunk.

Dear Author Enablers,
I am bilingual and enjoy reading books in both English and Spanish. Very often, I love reading a book in English—but when I buy the Spanish translation to share with my family, I find it isn’t as good. The words are translated, but the meaning and feeling of the original book do not come across. I am wondering two things: Why don’t publishers take better care to provide good translations? And how can I get a job writing English-to-Spanish translations for publishers?
Nancy Dinkel
Armonk, New York

Translation requires a high level of both literary and linguistic ability. In the best-case scenario, a skilled translator would work along with the author of the original work, and the author would have a working knowledge of the language into which the book is being translated. But let’s face it, how often is that going to happen? Faced with time and money constraints, most publishers are simply interested in selling the foreign rights to a book and moving on to the next project. The company that buys those rights then has the work translated. The results vary widely—some works are translated beautifully, but others are not. The true artists in the world of literary translation are few and far between and are hired for those books considered to be of the greatest literary merit.

If you’re interested in working in this field, the most realistic path is to start small. Check with businesses in your area that might need translations for commercial services. Build up your freelance translation experience before you attempt to sell your skills as a literary translator. There is an obvious need for these services, and we wish you the best!

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