Author Archives: Jose Luis Cortes

About Jose Luis Cortes

I am a bilingual Mexican writer and translator with more than 10 years of experience in the following areas: - Translating Literary works between English and Spanish, - Translating Technical, Corporate and Commercial copy between English and Spanish, I am also a Technical Writer and a Children´s author. I am experienced in different Digital Marketing techniques such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Inbound Marketing and I can also tailor my writing work to comply with these different techniques. I currently live in Canada.

eBook review: The R.O.B.I.N. by Paul J. Dunn

robin

 

The REMOTELY OPERATED BROADBAND INTELLIGENT NETWORKING DEVICE, also known as the R.O.B.I.N. is a deadly machine that is the size of a fly. Remotely controlled by a highly specialized technician, the R.O.B.I.N. can get virtually anywhere and watch everyone, sending back a video signal to be recorded or broadcasted. Since the R.O.B.I.N. can carry and launch tiny missiles, it can kill anyone, at any time.

What happens when the only engineer in the planet who can control the R.O.B.I.N. is kidnapped by a terrorist organization? This action puts the whole planet in danger, since, who can stop or even see a deadly bug?

Now the R.O.B.I.N. has been set up for a deadly mission: kill the president of the United States!

The R.O.B.I.N. is also a book written by Paul Dunn. The book has a very creative idea that it may not be far from reality: the US is producing smaller devices all the time and a real R.O.B.I.N. may be performing on the field soon, if it is not already. The book is also full of action and plot twists that will sure surprise everybody.

I loved the R.O.B.I.N. idea and the story in general. There were only a couple of things that I did not like: I think Paul´s writing could benefit from a professional editor who could fix some typos and who would stress the principle of “show” rather than “tell”. I also found it difficult to get attached to any character; they were just too many for me, and some of them passed so briefly through the pages that it was difficult to care for them. In my opinion the bad guys need to be meaner and the main characters need to express much more their feelings: pain, anxiety, happiness, sadness, etc. That way we will be able to empathize more with them. That is just my opinion.

If you like fast plots full of action and a story with a good idea, pick up the R.O.B.I.N. You will never look at flies the same way again.

If you are interested in the R.O.B.I.N., visit the following links:

Best,

Joe

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

 

eBook review: Aunt Phil’s Trunk by Laurel Downing Bill

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Our popular culture has thrown away decades talking to us about the Wild Wild West: we can find it in movies and TV series; we can read about it in books and comic books; we can sing songs and ballads about those brave cowboys and vaqueros. And, like Sienfield would say, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But up north there is another magical place full of stories about adventure, hardship and courage: Alaska.

I have found little references to Alaska, until now.

“Aunt Phil’s Trunk” is a series of books written by Laurel Downing Bill and her own story is also magical: Laurel inherited a treasure of information about Alaska from her aunt Phyllis when she died. Phyllis had been a librarian and historian and she had researched her native state, Alaska for many years. Laurel was lucky enough to receive this information.

But luck goes a short, short way. To truly succeed you also need determination and Laurel had tons of that too: at 50 she returned to school to become a journalist and then she started reading, classifying and preparing all the information for a new publication.

Today, thanks to this generational effort, we have not 1, but 5 books about Alaska. And what books they are! Filled with entertaining short stories and packed with photographs, these chronicles will keep you entertained for months and months to come.

In volume 1, with more than 300 pages, Laurel takes us thousands of years back to show us the first migrations to Alaska and she finishes at about the year 1900. I was amazed at all the black and white photographs that Laurel managed to pack in her book and was moved by the stories of all these brave men and women that took a challenge that I could never do.

The second book focuses more in the 20th century. Again, it has more than 300 pages and hundreds of photographs. I have never found such an extensive research about Alaska anywhere else, and to me, Laurel Downing Bill is the definite source to learn the captivating story of this land.

My author friends, Susan Keefe and Barbara Ann Mojica have also written very good reviews about these books.

I recommend these books, not only to the people who want to learn about Alaska, but also to anyone who has doubts about the capacity, the courage or the compassion of the human race.

Here are some resources to learn more about Laurel:

Best,

Joe

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

 

 

Translate your eBook as a serial

Translate your ebook as a serialYou have written your eBook and you have promoted it in English. Since sales are good, you are interested in having your work in other languages; perhaps Spanish. But when you look at different prices, you get discouraged because you are not ready to make the investment. But, maybe you don’t need to translate all of your book at once: you can translate your eBook as a serial in Spanish.

I am not talking here about the Kindle Serials Program that Amazon announced some time ago, since I understand that Amazon is not taking new entries anymore.

Although Amazon is not publishing anything new in their “serial” format, nothing prevents you from breaking your eBook in installments and sell them in Amazon, or any other portal, separately.

Advantages if you publish your eBook as a serial

  • The main advantage of this approach will be, of course, that you can break the cost of your translation over the course of many months. Because translations are priced depending on the number of source words of the original piece in English, the price of the translations of your installments will depend on how many you have and how big they are.
  • You can use this format to grow expectations and build a fan base. This trick was tried by Daniel Handler, of “Lemony Snicket”  fame, for his book “Why We Broke Up,” and was done again for the Spanish version of the book, “Y por eso rompimos.” The serials in Spanish are published by Editorial Alfaguara, a very prestigious publisher in Latin America. Part of the marketing campaign included a tumblr site where people could tell why they broke up. Some reasons are rather stupid such as “we broke up because you never held my hand as tight as i (sic) held yours.”
  • If, after some installments, you find out that your eBook is not going anywhere, you can stop the publication (and the investments in the translation) for some time, until you find out how to approach the market better.

Some other considerations

  • If you want to translate your eBook as a serial in Spanish, evaluate if you need to change the text a little bit; tweak it so that you have the proper cliff hangers or anything else that this particular style may need. According to C. R. Myers  and this book “How to Write Serial Fiction & Be Ready to Publish In Less Than 24 Hours”, serial fiction is not simply cutting up your book, but a different style that requires serious consideration.
  • Finally, keep in mind that Amazon may not be the only place in cyberspace to translate your eBook as a serial. There may be many other portals to explore in this adventure.

Have you ever published a fiction eBook in small pieces? Was it a good or a bad experience? If you can, please share your experience with us!

Best,

Joe

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

 

 

 

Sales of eBooks in Spanish are up! Is it time to jump in?

ebooks in spanishAccording to Publishing Perspectives, Amazon carries today 70,000 eBooks in Spanish, or more than double of what they had when they opened their Spanish-Language Kindle Store, back in 2012, with only 30,000 titles.

As time passes, the contribution that the Spanish versions are making to the total sales of eBooks is increasing considerably.

According to Publishers Weekly, the trilogy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has sold more than 100,000 units in Spanish so far; At $ 9.99 per book, that would amount to 1 million dollars! Clearly, this is not a market to ignore.

Why is the market for eBooks in Spanish increasing? 

There may be a couple of reasons for the current success of this market.

  • The Spanish market seems to be following the English speaking segment, with a delay of 3 to 5 years. If this is true, then the Spanish market is enjoying the grow that its equivalent in English had some years ago.
  • The Latino population in the US not only has increased the use of Cell Phones, Smart Phones and the Internet in general, but it is more likely today to go online using a mobile device than the white Internet users!

How big is the market for eBooks in Spanish in the US?

Publishers Weekly states that there are about 50 million people speaking Spanish today in the US, but for some reason, puts the market for Spanish book readers at only 12 million, a quarter of the total Spanish population. Nevertheless, it argues that those numbers still put the U.S. at the 10th most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.

But, once you have your eBook in Spanish you are not selling only to the US; you are also selling to potential readers in all Latin America, including Mexico and Brazil, the  two economic giants of the region.

If you already have one or several eBooks in the market, this year can be an exciting time to get into some new markets with your products. Is it time to ride the wave?

Best,

Joe

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

What is popular in Spanish in Amazon today?

Popular in Spanish in Amazon today

 

May 24th, 2014.- What is popular in Spanish in Amazon today regarding YA and Children’s eBooks? This is a little report that I hope I can bring to you periodically, so you will have more information to decide how your own book could do in Spanish. A word of warning, though: I will only talk about some eBooks and I will certainly not cover everything that is out there.

Divergente

In the first place of the list in Amazon Mexico we find “Divergente” the Spanish translation of “Divergent“, written by Veronica Roth. “Divergente” is the first part of a trilogy, now completely available in Spanish. The trilogy is certainly selling well in Amazon Mexico and what is more interesting is that the eBooks in Spanish seem to be a good marketing vehicle to promote the eBooks in English, since the “The Divergent Series Complete Collection“, available only in English, is also a hit in Amazon Mexico. My guess is that Latin American fans who have read the Spanish version also buy the English Collection to re read the stories and find out if they missed something. Veronica is also at position number 12 in the Mexican list with her book “Four: The Transfer: A Divergent Story,” available only in English.

El hallazgo

In place number 4 today I found “El hallazgo,” a science fiction book written by a Carter Damon. Oddly enough, I did not find any books in English from Carter Damon. Could he be a Latin American writer using a pen name? I don’t know. This eBook seems to be an adventure dealing with an intergalactic war.

Maze Runner 1 – Correr o morir

One of my favorite stories ever, Maze Runner, by James Dashner, is always doing well in Spanish. Today he appears in position number 13 in Mexico, but he is constantly in the top 100 with one book or another. As is the case with Divergent, most of the Maze Runner titles are available in Spanish, nurturing a new market of Spanish speaking fans in all Latin America.

Mi nombre es Stilton, Geronimo Stilton: Geronimo Stilton 1

geronimo

In number one in the 9 to 12 years old children category, we find the Spanish version of good ol’ Geronimo Stilton. Geronimo has carved himself a nice little niche in the Spanish market, specially since he does not appear in the same place in Amazon US, where the first place is occupied by… Rush Limbaugh??

rush

God, I think I will stick with the Latin American Market.

No me lo vas a creer

Finally, one of my favorite books, “No me lo vas a creer” by talented Alicia Molina, is popular in Spanish in Amazon today. I have only read Alicia in Spanish and I could not find her books available in English, but to me, she constitutes an excellent example of what is being produced today in Spanish for Children’s books. “No me lo vas a creer“, which could roughly be translated to “You will never believe this” tells the story of Juan, a kid who is always late to school, but who always has an incredible story to justify his tardiness.

Do any of these eBooks sound like something you have today in English? Do you see yourself or your books in the Latin American market?

Think about it.

Best,

Joe

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

I can’t seem to sell my Children’s eBook character!

You have created a lovable Children’s eBook character who is both tender and funny, perhaps inspired on someone you knew once, or made up totally from your imagination.  Yet, no one seems to get it: the publishers don’t want to publish the book or even if it is self published in Amazon as an eBook, the readers are not buying it. You thought maybe your creation needed more time, but some months have passed now and still, there is no action!

Is there something terribly wrong with your characters? Not necessarily. Maybe they just need a little tweaking, or maybe they are just fine!

We’ve all heard the stories about Dr. Seuss and J.K. Rowling: how they got rejected time and time again and how they were ready to quit when they finally got their break. Just the other day, I was thinking about another amazing pair of creators who had to endure some tough times before their invention got approved. Do you remember Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster? They created a man dressed in blue called Superman.

Granted, Superman is not a Children’s eBook character, but he is the most famous superhero. And many many years ago, superhero adventures were meant to be read by children.

What most of us don’t remember is that the first version of Supes was created in 1933, five years before he was finally published by DC! The funny thing about that first Superman is that it was totally different from the man we know today. He was a bald villain trying to conquer the world and it was published as a short story in a small magazine the two kids had, simply called Science Fiction. The piece was written by Siegel under a pseudonym and illustrated by Shuster. Take a look at it below:

The Reign of the Superman

But it was clear even to the two young fellows that a villain would have a limited lifespan. What they needed was a good guy. After some time, they created The Superman, a dude with good intentions and some amazing powers.

The Superman

It is reported that this guy, now in a comic book format,  had no uniform and that he was just walking around in a T-Shirt and some pants. The Superman almost got published by a real comic book publisher… but he didn’t. Joe Shuster was so frustrated that in a fit, he destroyed all the art of his creation and only the cover depicted above was saved by Siegel.

Close, but still no cigar.

Sometime would pass before the pair finally came up with all the features that distinguished Superman from all the other characters that had come before him: the powers, the alien origin, the suit, the S on the chest, the secret identity, the girlfriend and a very long etc.

And was he an immediate, incredible success? Well, no…

Already in his final and most known form, Superman started doing the usual publisher rounds that the Children’s eBook characters probably do today. Some people said he was “too incredible.” Some other said he was “not incredible enough.” He was called an “immature creation” by yet some others and he ended up in somebody’s drawer in a company related to a publisher called “Detective Comics”.

By now, several years had passed and the two creators had been forced to take up on several odd jobs. These were difficult times, but Siegel and Shuster never stopped believing Superman was “The Most Astounding Fiction Character of All Time”.

Then, in 1938, when DC wanted to publish a new book called “Action Comics” and they had no material, someone said something like “Well, we do have Superman,” and they thought that Superman was better than nothing. This is Superman we are talking about, here. And someone thought that it was better than nothing. 

Good ol’ Supes appeared in Action Comics No. 1. As they kept pushing new numbers out, Action Comics became a success, but nobody at DC seemed to know why. Legend has it that, to find out, some executive went to the nearest place selling the comic book and asked a kid buying Action Comics why was he getting it. The kid turned around and said “Because it is the one that has Superman in it, mister.”

From then on, nobody doubted the Big Blue Boy Scout. He has been going stronger everyday since day one.

So, what does that have to do with your Children’s eBook character? I see some teachings here:

  1. Don’t quit if your story or your character don’t become instant successes. Sometimes, all they need is an extra month, an extra year, or an extra five years.
  2. Sometimes, you do need to do some little adjustments. But, not necessarily what others are saying, but what your heart tells you to do.
  3. Never, never lose faith in your own creations. Always believe that they are the most fascinating children’s characters since Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Have you had a similar experience? Are your characters struggling to find success? Have you made some small or major changes? We would love to hear about you and your Super story! Do share!

Best,

Joe

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

eBook review: “The Girl Who Couldn’t Draw”, written by Rosemary Rivera and Illustrated by Mario J. Menjivar

the girl who couldnt draw

 

A Tale of Optimism

Sometimes in life, if you are lucky enough, you will meet someone who will bring light into your life; a person who has an unbeatable smile and an easy laugh, even in the worst circumstances. If you are even luckier, you will be able to keep that star around you for some time, to shine some light into your path.

Myra, the girl who couldn’t draw, is just like that: a portable sunshine hiding behind the biggest and most beautiful smile; a tiny treasure with pony-tails.

Myra’s teacher has decided to run a contest for the best drawing on what to do on a sunny day, and she is sure she will win. You see, one of the most wonderful treats about Myra is that she will never concede that she is the girl who can’t draw. And to tell you the truth, I don’t really care if Myra wins the competition or not; she has already won my heart with her happy smiles, her funny ideas and her crazy fantasies. And you know what? I don’t think she cares much about winning that school contest either…

This book is really a delight to read from the first to the last page; the text by Rosemary is funny and cheerful and the illustrations done by Mario are wonderfully polished and hilarious.

I declare myself a Myra Fan and I demand a second book about her.

Pick up your copy now: It will surely improve your mood and make your kids laugh with Myra´s adventures.

Here are some useful links for you:

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

eBook review: “The Girl Who Couldn’t Draw”,
escrito por Rosemary Rivera e ilustrado por Mario J. Menjivar

 

the girl who couldnt draw

 

Un cuento de optimismo

A veces en la vida, si tienes suerte, te encontrarás con alguien que traerá luz a tu vida; alguien con una sonrisa invencible y una risa fácil, incluso en las peores circunstancias. Si tienes aún más suerte, podrás mantener esa estrella a tu alrededor por algún tiempo, para que le dé un poco de luz a tu camino.

Myra, la chica que no podía dibujar, es como eso: un sol portátil escondido detrás de la sonrisa más grande y bella; un pequeño tesoro con colitas de caballo.

El maestro de Myra ha decidido realizar un concurso para premiar el mejor dibujo que muestre qué hacer en un día soleado, y ella está segura de que va a ganar. Porque sabrás, que una de las cosas más maravillosas acerca de Myra es que ella nunca va a admitir que ella es la chica que no puede dibujar. Y la verdad, a mi no me importa si Myra gana el concurso o no; porque ya ha ganado mi corazón con sus sonrisas de felicidad, sus ideas raras y sus fantasías locas. ¿Y sabes qué? No creo que ella se preocupe mucho por ganar ese concurso escolar tampoco…

Este libro es realmente una delicia para leer desde la primera hasta la última página; el texto de Rosemary es divertido y alegre y las ilustraciones realizadas por Mario están maravillosamente pulidas y divertidas.

Yo me declaro un fan de Myra y exijo un segundo libro sobre ella.

Compra tu copia ahora: Seguramente va a mejorar tu estado de ánimo y hacer que tus hijos se rían con las aventuras de Myra.

Aquí hay algunas ligas interesantes para ti:

Mi misión es ayudar a los autores que escriben en inglés llegar al mercado latino traduciendo sus libros electrónicos al español. Ponte en contacto conmigo en http://www.publicatuebook.ca  o en joe@publicatuebook.ca 

 

Repurpose your children´s ebook content

Can you repurpose your children´s eBook content? Let´s say that you have created a lovely story for children and that you have spent endless nights writing and/or drawing your eBook. Your creation is now in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and a couple of other places and you are spending a lot of time marketing your work.

Is that all that you can do?

I think that at some point you can recycle your content: the characters, the situations and in general, the ideas you have created.

Let´s try to come up with some examples:

  1. Comics.- Depending on your character, of course, you could create a comic book or some comic strips featuring your creations. Lincoln Peirce, author of “Big Nate” is a master doing this: he moves Nate effortlessly between daily comic strips and books, always creating new and awkward situations for the poor kid.
  2. Apps.- You can create an interactive app to run on a smart phone, based in your eBook. Deborah Eve Alastra has done this with her latest book, “Señor Tortuga, the Color Mixer.” You will be able to buy both a physical book and an interactive app.
  3. Audio books.- You can have the same story as an audio book and you can have it reviewed by Susan Keefe at her new Audiobook Monthly Magazine.
  4. Physical books.- Although it is more expensive, you could also have your eBook become a paper book that your little readers will love to hold in their hands.
  5. Post cards, buttons and all sort of crazy little things.- Your fans may want a poster of your characters, or a button, a pen, a postcard or any other little cute thing to take to school. A good example of this practice is Tania Camacho and her creation “Jours de Papier.” She creates and publishes a free comic strip in the Internet, but sells all kinds of mementos about her funny characters, who happen to be her and her boyfriend Esteban. She also sells physical books that collect her Internet comic strip. (By the way, “Jours de Papier” is not for children. It is a very funny strip about a young couple living together.)
  6. T-shirts, caps, cups, jackets.- Stephanie Lisa Tara has had a great success with her book “I´ll follow the moon.” She has also been very successful at selling different types of merchandise related to her eBooks and characters.
  7. From blog to eBook; from eBook to blog.- Kay Iscah is an example of an author who can go from blog to eBook. She keeps a blog where she has published some of her stories as weekly installments, and later on, she publishes them as eBooks. In the process, she creates a nice following base that will be willing to go for the eBook. Bette Stevens is another wonderful example: she has created a book about Monarch butterflies, but also keeps a very successful blog where she tells us about these lovely creatures and where we can download great related stuff, such as free posters!
  8. New markets; new languages.- Sorry, this just had to be here. To me, one basic principle of content marketing is to try to recycle your content with a slightly different market. If your book has been successful with English speaking kids, why aren´t you looking into the Spanish speaking children? Spanish is just one example, but you could try any language: Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, you name it. It is just another segment to repurpose your content.

These are just some examples. Have you done any of these or something different? What is your experience? Is it worth it? Let us all know what you think about this!

My mission is to help English writing authors reach the Latino Market by translating their eBooks to Spanish. Contact me at http://www.publicatuebook.ca or at joe@publicatuebook.ca

Gabriel García Márquez in Amazon today

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Gabriel García Márquez holds now the first 4 positions in the top 100 kindle best sellers in Amazon Mexico. The list starts, of course with “Cien años de soledad,” sold for 79 pesos, less than 8 dollars.

It has been said that “Cien años de soledad” has sold more than 50 millions copies in more than 40 languages, since its original publication in 1967.

“Gabo” as he was affectionately known, was deeply loved in Mexico, where he spent his last years. He was 87 years old.

Some of his most celebrated books include:

Rest in Peace, Gabo.

 

 

What Fantasy and SF eBooks in Spanish are popular in Amazon?

La Guerra de los Cielos

 

If you write either Fantasy or Science Fiction in English and if you are thinking about translating your eBook into Spanish to sell it in Amazon, you have to keep an eye on Fernando Trujillo, since he seems to be doing several things right.

Fernando has 23 books in Amazon, with about 4 them in English and the rest in Spanish. He is certainly a prolific writer. He has several series that span for 3 or 4 books. One of his most popular titles is called “La Guerra de los Cielos” (coauthored with César García Muñoz) and he has even translated it into English with the title “War of the Heavens.”

The “La Guerra de los Cielos” saga currently has 3 books. It is difficult to say if this is Science Fiction or Fantasy: the story deals with a war between angels and demons in planet earth. Fernando’s style and influence seem to be more in place in the United States than in the traditional Latin American literature.

Many readers have complained that the book in Spanish has some misspellings and grammatical errors. Other readers have said that the book, at 500 pages, is huge and it takes too long to get interesting; yet others have said that they struggle with Fernando’s style, jumping from one point to another and having too many characters.

Still, one cannot deny his success: just the first volume of “La Guerra de los Cielos” has 147 reviews, with 70 of them at 5 stars.

Fernando and César have implemented two very successful strategies:

  • At times, they give away the first volume of the series at Amazon, with a price tag of $ 0.00. Some other times they price it at $ 0.99. That is still a great price, even in Latin America.
  • The first book does not really end; the story goes right into the second volume. While this has bothered some readers, it certainly is not a problem for Fernando’s fans. And he seems to have many.

If you write something similar to these books and are struggling to differentiate yourself in an overcrowded market in English, you should know that there is a good market in Spanish in Latin America and the United States: Fernando Trujillo is a clear example of a young segment of the population, with money in their pockets, claiming for more books like his.  These people have read several times Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and now are reading and rereading “La Guerra de los CIelos.”

In the following weeks I will be giving you more examples of successful authors or books in Spanish in different genres such as Romance, Children´s or Self-Help.

Are you interested in a particular genre?