Question Do you think the $3,000 translation license fee is expensive?

Discussion in 'Translator's Corner' started by WuWang, Jan 19, 2024.

  1. WuWang

    WuWang Well-Known Member

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    I just asked fanqienovel.com if I want to translate their novels, how much do I need to pay them? They tell me that I need to pay them about $3000 per year per book. Do you think that it's expensive?
     
  2. Starless

    Starless Seeker of Sagas

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    No clue, but it probably depends on the popularity of the novel and potential revenue you could maybe make from translating it and a bunch of other financial factors Im too ignorant to consider. Maybe try finding out what a another novel of there’s that’s licensed is being paid at
     
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  3. Digix

    Digix Owl-sama Follower

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    Okay, so I cannot answer this question without a few more details.
    What are the royalties they want?
    What permissions do they grant you as a translator?
    Does the contract include you as the English Publisher?
    Do you have the ability to print and sell copies?

    I have more but those are pretty basic. In my own experience helping and knowing those who have been involved with licensing books it is usually based off of a base fee between 500-10,000 plus copies being made. Then some things related to royalties.

    Now on to my more personal opinion. If you are only uploading translations digitally, that is a ridiculous price to pay unless you have some sort of way to monetize or know the audience draw of said book. I personally would not take this deal unless many other things are guaranteed and I knew I could recoup my losses. It is up to you what to do and I am not giving you financial advice.
     
  4. rakazzt

    rakazzt Well-Known Member

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    did that include commercial license like selling the book to amazon or any online bookstore?
     
  5. KynKatan

    KynKatan Well-Known Member

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    It is on the expensive size, but I;m not sure how popular is the book, specailly th per year part.

    Jnovel when it started used to pay between 1k and 3k per book for the license. But it was more than a year and they had complete control over the distribution. So they would get sponsor until breaking eve adn then release it free for everyone else. I think some of their books keep that system to this day.
     
  6. WuWang

    WuWang Well-Known Member

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    I didn't dare to ask about their most popular novels, and they said the price depends on the popularity of the novel. I just picked a random novel that I think might be not "too popular" but has an average level.

    I didn't ask too much. I just thought that this money was too much so I stopped asking.
     
  7. TamaSaga

    TamaSaga Well-Known Member

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    Think about it. Assuming that you translate it yourself and there is no money spent on advertising, distribution is digital with Amazon not taking a 50% fee, and no taxes, you would need to sell 1000 copies at $3 each to break even. Do you think there that many interested readers willing to pay $3?

    How about 5000 copies instead when you start adding fees and taxes? If you think there are that many readers that will pay, then it's not expensive.

    Also, check your reputation. If you're deeply unpopular, you're going to be pirated.
     
  8. nonononononono

    nonononononono NONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO

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    That's per year. Holy shit, that's expensive.
    Let's calculate it based on the average book length of 1000 chapters.
    Cost of translating each chapter $50
    Average release speed 2 chapters a day.
    That's gonna be $56000 for two years. I mean are you able to make that much money from one book?
    You need 3k every year to hold that licence
     
  9. Eishun

    Eishun Well-Known Member

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    Do you know anyone from Wuxiaworld here? You should probably PM them if you do. They know the business best.
     
  10. WuWang

    WuWang Well-Known Member

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    Nope. I once sent them an email, asking something, but I didn't get any reply.
     
  11. rubear

    rubear Well-Known Member

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    For ref, kr novels that get past the licensing stage are 5 figs.
    It's normally calculated by x digital copies you want to sell over license period (1 yr). So let's say u wanna sell 1k digital copies, then usually it's listed price * copies ur reproducing at a discounted rate. Eg very simply 1k x $10 = $10k * 75% = $7.5k for 1k copies licensed.
    Most contracts negotiated come full distribution rights - amazon, smash words, Barnes and noble etc. However a major cost post production is marketing (expect to spend $$$$) in order to get ur novel to rank. You're now competing against a saturated market of English authors and publishers. But if you know it'll perform, have a solid reputation and audience, they're letting u reproduce unlimited copies then it's worth.
     
  12. WuWang

    WuWang Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that isn't very easy. Thank you for your explanation. I'm going to sign a contract with them to see if I can earn back my money. To be honest, I have only 50% confidence, because I have zero money for marketing. lol
     
  13. nonononononono

    nonononononono NONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO

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    Oh wait, don't you hold some translation right from ciweimao? How come you don't know if it's expenses or not?
    Is listening fee from ciweimao very cheap?
     
  14. WuWang

    WuWang Well-Known Member

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    I can’t tell you the details, but yes. After years talking to them, it can be considered acceptable now.
     
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  15. Pooshira

    Pooshira Well-Known Member

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    Wow I am in a holy light after scrolling all the notifications
    @WuWang be careful buddy out there
     
  16. Jaspaaar

    Jaspaaar Well-Known Member

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    Late reply, but DM me on Discord (same username) or send me an email and I'd be happy to help! [email protected].
     
  17. WuWang

    WuWang Well-Known Member

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    Oh, thank you. It was about two or three years ago, I wanted to ask if I could offer wuxiaworld the contract I signed, could I post my translation on my own site and wuxiaworld at the same time.
     
  18. Guan Zhong

    Guan Zhong Well-Known Member

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    I know that the original 20 licenses Wuxiaworld obtained from Qidian back in the day (2016) was $20,000 a piece, each for ten years. (Source: RWX confirmed it with me. I used to work there.) So $3,000 a year would be $30,000 for the same term length.

    The novels WW contracted with 17k and Zongheng back then (2017) had no upfront licensing fees (volare as well) though those days are long over.
     
  19. Jaspaaar

    Jaspaaar Well-Known Member

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    Yeah any info from back then is 7+ years out of date, from a time when licensed Chinese webnovel translations didn't really exist in any serious form (meaning there wasn't much precedent to inform terms), and doesn't account for royalties or the context of it involving some of the platform's top IP.