I just received three copies of my latest book--a pop-up book for children on insects. It's called Insects in English, but, due to issues beyond my control, the book has not yet found an English-language publisher. Though I wrote the book in English (with some Latin scientific names), my book is only available in Japanese, Spanish, and....Catalan! Inthecths? I am not exactly thrilled about this. The book is a beautifully engineered pop-up book jam-packed with fascinating and well-researched facts...that I cannot now read. How did this happen?
It all began Before I fell in love with Clouds (B.C.). I got a call from a book packager to write the text as a contract writer (flat fee, no royalties). Book packagers are typically small companies with big ideas (hence they own copyright and royalties) who hire free-lance writers, designers, artists, paper engineers (yes, that's what they are called). The packager sells an idea to a publishing house (publishers don't normally keep the "talent" listed above on staff). The publisher buys the completed book and uses its marketing staff and distribution channels to get the book on the shelves (something the packager doesn't do). I thought a "quick" and "lucrative" kiddie book project wouldn't hurt my reputation or wallet. Plus, I hadn't had a new ISBN since 2006.
I have worked with several packagers (including this one) and have received copies of books I have written in English in addition to
copies translated into other languages. However, the "bug book" was shopped around by the packager and bought by two non-English-language foreign publishers. Thanks U.S. economy and sub-prime housing loans!!!!
So, until the book climbs to the top of the best-seller lists in Spain and Japan and is grabbed by an English-language publisher in the black...only Spanish- and Japanese-speaking children will be exposed to the fascinating, yet disgusting lifestyle of the Flesh Fly and other spineless wonders. I will be sure to post here news of English-speaking Insects. More on lofty lovely clouds tomorrow.