Going Dutch

November 5th, 2007

So a Dutch deal for The Blade Itself came through last week, which is nice, and made me think that a quick statement of the status of The First Law around the world might be worthwhile…

UK
The Blade Itself and Before They are Hanged are out, Last Argument of Kings will be out in March 2008. The UK editions are also distributed throughout the Commonwealth, in theory, so Canada, Australia, and South Africa should get the books around the same time.

US
The Blade Itself is out in trade paperback from Pyr, Before They are Hanged is due in March, Last Argument of Kings hopefully in September 2008.

Germany
Kreigsklingen (Warblade) and Feuerklingen (Fireblade) are already out in a kind of chunky mass-market paperback format. I’m guessing the third book will follow at some point in 2008, maybe late summer? Don’t know what it will be called, but one imagines it will have klingen on the end.

Spain
La Voz de las Espadas (the Voice of the Swords) is the Spanish title of The Blade Itself, and has been out in a very handsome hardcover from Alianza Editorial’s Runas imprint for a few months. A Spanish edition of Before They are Hanged should follow in 2008, though I’ve no idea what they’ll be calling it. Paperbacks at some point, maybe?

France
The Blade Itself will be published, I think in hardcover first, in February 2008 under the title L’Eloquence de l’Epee (The Eloquence of the Blade, doesn’t everything sound cooler in French?). The French publisher, J’ailu, have bought all three books, but I’m not sure how quickly they plan to publish the other two, or when/how/if they’ll schedule paperback editions.

Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, and now Holland
Translation rights have been sold to publishers all these countries, but I’m not sure when they’re planning to do the translations. Russian rights were actually the first to be sold, I think, well before the UK Edition of Blade Itself was published even, so a good couple of years ago. Still no sign of a Russian edition, though, which is a shame, as I’m looking forward to seeing what the cover’s like…

So, basically, as with many things, it’s a whole lot of what I don’t know. When they’ll be published, what they’ll be called, or what they’ll look like is anyone’s guess, though it’s always interesting to see the different approaches that are taken to covers and titles in different countries. The one thing I can guarantee you, is that you’ll know when I know …

Posted in news by Joe Abercrombie on November 5th, 2007.

12 comments so far

  • Juan Ruiz says:

    Dear Joe:
    In Spain, is very strange to publish paperbacks of fantasy & SF. Indeed, what they usually do is to publish two books, from one from UK/USA, which I find hard to understand.

    So to read Assasin’s Aprentice from Robin Hobb, cost you near 40 € in two books here, and the editions are not your handsome UK hardcovers.

    Alianza, by the way, is an exception, and I have to say that the editions from you and Scott Lynch are pretty amazing, in one book!! (That’s to say, you have your book and Scott one different, not some Grindhouse books programm… well you understand me… hopefully).

    But paperbacks as you English speakers understand them… naaaa!!!
    Why do you think I read in English??? It is very expensive to read fantasy in Spain (and till now you could only find a few books, apart from forgotten realms and warhammer books…).

    Now, for me, maybe it is not a problem, I work, and I can buy your hardcover copy (if the dice is so unjust as I think)… but when I was a student…

    So when I found that I could read a English copy of The Razor’s Edge in my mother’s room, I began to read in english (except of course, Spanish books…), cheaper, more rewarding… and cooler, those looks in college..”the guy with the big tomes in english” hahaha.

    And then, we could talk about genre literature and cinema and TV, and how is treated in mass media. (No the Wire in TV but yes, Big Brother VII!!!!)

    I haven’t yet seen a review of your book (and, stranger, of GRRM books, that probably are the most famous fantasy novels of the last decade) in any of the important newspaper, as it happens with your Times, Guardian and so…

    Well, all of you now can quit pretending you are reading this… i heard you snoring!!!

  • Ady Hall says:

    Must be so cool to get your books up and running in different languages (and thanx Juan for the explanation of Spanish fantasy publication).

    Will you get a chance to pack your bags and do some salesy book signings around Europe and Australia?

    And as to the important newspapers (Juan – referred to as ‘the broadsheets’ in the UK) doing a review of The Blade Itself (or any fantasy novel) – well – they have a problem with popular fantasy (when the author is still breathing, at least) – and have such an elitist and snobbish attitude to fantasy lit. They prefer to ignore them and hope they go away.

  • Juan,
    I believe that when translating English to German/French/Spanish you tend to gain maybe 30-50% in overall number of words, so naturally the books end up a great deal longer. With writers like Martin or Jordan the laws of physics and book-binding mean they have to be split down. My books, though they’ve always seemed pretty chunky to me, are modest compared to some of these behemoths. Martin’s Storm of Swords for example is longer than Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged combined. Even in the UK Mass Market paperback that book needed to be split in two. So I guess relative brevity is part of the reason why foreign editions have stayed in one volume, though I certainly applaud Alianza for their very handsome hardbacks, and it’s interesting what you say about their being no real paperback market in fantasy. Thanks for the insight into the Spanish market, by the way.

    Ady,
    It is extremely cool seeing it translated and thinking of people so widely scattered reading your stuff. It’s also very interesting to see the different approaches taken by say the German (where they’ve gone straight in with a broad-appeal mass-market paperback) and Spanish (where as Juan points out it’s all about high-end niche hardcovers) markets.

    As far as broadsheet reviews go – I think the Guardian (which is the only one I read at all regularly) does a brief sf&f; round-up every 4-6 weeks, in which they review 4 books. So they cover about 30 books a year, and these tend to be by new authors or more at the literary/experimental end of the genre. Epic fantasy really scarcely gets a look-in. Likewise, I think, the Times. The Blade Itself was actually reviewed in both those papers, but Before They are Hanged was mentioned in neither. It will be interesting to see whether Last Argument of Kings gets a review – my guess would be not, but I’m not sure how useful they are anyway. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if reviews in dedicated genre magazines like SFX actually do a book more good.

  • Juan Ruiz says:

    Joe:
    Yes, books-binding laws is the explanation usually given for this, and that fantasy books are so big and so…

    but…
    Then, why Vikram Seth’s wonderful book A Suitable Boy that runs for 1100 pages in English and… 1400 in Spanish got a single edition in hardcover AND Trade Paperback????
    Indian mithology and Bollywood films usually tends to go away from physycs laws, but I didn´t know they also did for Indian Literature.

    And war and peace???

    Robin Hobbs first assasin book is 450 pages in english… okey, it gains 100 more pages when translated… but is it reasonable to split it then in two books 300 pages long?????

    Or is it something along the lines, fantasy people are so faithful to his kind of reading, and they know nothing of the UK/USA market, so we
    make them paid double…

    and why is it done only to fantasy and not the rest of books as I wrote before…

  • Wilfred Berkhof says:

    Dear Joe,

    I was wondering which Dutch publisher you’ve signed with?

    As in Spain, books are quite expensive in The Netherlands. At least compared to the English and US prices. Which of course is due to a small market, but also because of the fixed book price system we have, which means all stores have to sell these books at the same price. Which leads to people buying books abroad (hurray for the book depository!) instead of buying the books at their local book stores.

  • Lawrence says:

    Nice deal you signed Joe, it especially caught my attention since I am Dutch myself.. 😉 Seems like I can really start promoting the book around here where I live, now more people actually will be able to read the book. Great!

  • Juan,
    Good points, looks like you got me. I guess they are just stiffing you after all.

    Wilfred,
    The publisher is MYNX. Sounds as if you have controlled prices for books over there, like the French. I know a lot of Dutch people speak English (even more than elsewhere on the continent) – do a lot more read in Dutch than English, or do you guys tend to get UK editions there?

    Lawrence,
    Cheers for the promotion – not sure when the book might actually appear in Dutch, though. The translations, the finding of a publication slot, and all the rest of it can sometimes take a while. The Russian one still hasn’t appeared two years on…

  • Ady Hall says:

    Hi Joe,

    Yep – you’re right. A quick Google threw up the Guardian review – albeit a shorty (glad to see that the Guardian are Glokta fans. Ain’t we all!)

    My prejudices are years old (and firmly entrenched, unfortunately) when Terry P was reviewed in the Sunday Times – with such back handed compliments and casual contempt for popular fantasy. Hard to forgive, and I’m not the forgiving type (noone can carry a grudge like a manxie).

    And yep – sites such as SFX and lovereading do more for the fan than a general paper review. And it’s the blog world that are really leading the way in book and film reviews. Nothing like an honest opinion from an unadulterated fan of the genre to get you forking out cash to Waterstones or Amazon.

  • Anonymous says:

    According to a message board post made in August, the Finnish edition of The Blade Itself is scheduled to come out next spring. The publisher Kirjava has just released the translation of George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows and can now focus on TBI.
    – Tuomas M

  • Tuomas M,
    Thanks for the info, that’s great news. This blog was intended to be a place where I could let readers know what was happening with my books. Increasingly, it is becoming a place where readers let me know…

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