Thursday, July 08, 2021

Japanese Sushi for One ひとり寿司 now in print

The Japanese translation of Sushi for One is done, and both the ebook and print book are now available!

I’m so glad this book is now out! The self-publishing of a translated book was really hard! My translator was great, and went way beyond just translating the text—she also worked as a go-between with a proofreader to correct the translation and reformat the book to be more in line with Japanese publishing standards (which I didn’t know about).

But the process of creating an ebook proved to be incredibly challenging since I couldn’t find any software in English which could convert a Japanese-language Word .docx into an .epub3 with vertical lines, reading right to left. I found some free software in Japanese (Aozora) and a very handy blog post in English about how to use it, but the program was tricky to use on files exported from Microsoft Word, I think because of the extra complex coding in Word .docx files.

I ended up needing to learn how to use the free open-source software Sigil to edit the html of my .epub files, which was very daunting at first, but eventually got easier especially once I learned a little more html. My translator again went above and beyond and proofread my .epub file, and she found a bunch of errors that turned up when the file was converted from text to .epub in Aozora, so I was glad I had learned to use Sigil, because I could correct the errors using that program.

Since then, I’ve found a new way to convert a Word .docx to an .epub3 file (with vertical lines and reading right to left). It wasn’t a function when I first started looking into converting Japanese .epub files, but now Mac Pages can do vertical lines and also convert to an .epub file with the Ruby/furigana. It still requires extensive editing in Sigil, but it seems to have fewer errors than using Aozora on a Word .docx file exported to a .txt file.

I’ve always wanted to make this book easily available to Japanese women, so the ebook is only 99 cents in the US Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Kobo/Rakuten, and Google Play stores, and only 99 yen in the Amazon Japan Kindle store. I couldn’t drop the price of the print book too much, but it’s a lower price than what a normal publisher would charge to account for translation and production costs.

Following along with that mindset, I’ve decided to blog the entire book in Japanese on my blog. Since I am still learning Japanese, I’m only going the chop the book up and post it without paying attention to where natural breaks in the text occur. Look for the summary blog post and the first chapter next week here on the blog.

Also, I blogged about the translation and self-publishing process, if anyone’s interested. It was a difficult process but very satisfying to finally get it done. Self-publishing is not that difficult if you’re only putting out normal books in the US market, but I’ve found that the difficulty increases exponentially if you’re doing books that do not have the normal horizontal lines and read left to right.

If you have questions about self-publishing a Japanese translation of your book, just post it in the comments here or at any of those blog posts.

Here’s the blog posts. They’re on my Writing Diary Blog, where I’ve been posting daily entries on my experiments to improve my productivity, rather than articles on my Story Sensei blog.

Day 107: Doing a translation of your book
Day 112: Doing a translation of your book, part 2
Day 120: More translation; writing stamina; writing pace
Day 133: Evaluation 4

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