Today I am delighted to welcome Judith Uyterlinde, publishing director at World Editions, an independent publisher set up to bring international literature to a global readership. This year World Editions is bringing the Netherlands’ Boekenweek (Book Week) to the UK by promoting three prize winning Dutch authors they have had translated into English. If you click on the covers below you may read my reviews of these books.
Judith has answered some question I put to her about World Editions. I hope that you enjoy finding out more about this publishing house.
Can you tell me a little about World Editions and why it was set up?
World Editions publishes and promotes high quality literary titles from all over the world in translation into English. We believe there are a lot of treasures to discover for English language readers. There are so many great books out there that haven’t been translated into English yet!
You publish books from around the world. With such a wide remit how do you select the titles you wish to acquire?
One has to read a lot and trust one’s taste. I believe I have a nose for good literature. And of course you need the help and advice of other people too. We have a broad network of agents and publishers, translators and authors all over the world. We visit book fairs in London, Paris, Frankfurt and other places all over the world, to find the most beautiful books to translate into English.
What is the most rewarding aspect of independent publishing, and the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect is getting to know the most wonderful people and ideas. The most challenging is making sure that the books reach the wide readership they deserve.
Is your experience of marketing what you expected when you started out – how do you connect with booksellers and readers?
The books and the authors need to be visible: in the bookshops, at festivals, on (social) media, everywhere. We are a very young Publishing House – we only just got started with a brand new team in the UK and the USA, so there still is a lot of work to do!
There are a good number of small publishers out there publishing some great works. Do you consider yourself different and, if so, how?
We focus on translated books and we all read them ourselves. Coming from a small, international oriented country, the Netherlands, with a strong tradition in traveling, trading and translating, we have the advantage of reading many languages. Within our team we read French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish and English. And on top of that all of us have a lot of publishing experience from working for big international literary houses in both Europe and the USA before.
Latest trend or totally original – what sells?
Selling books is like winning a war – it’s only with hindsight that you can tell who the winner is. But you need to keep trusting that gut feeling and convince others of it!
Ebook or hard copy – what do your buyers want?
Hard copies are still most popular but E-books have their merit too in international publishing.
Do you consider World Editions to be niche or mainstream?
We are specialised in the sense that there are not many Publishing Houses which focus on international literature and translations as intensively as we do. But our ambitions and the quality of our books do not differ from those of the major literary houses.
When working with your authors are you collaborative or dictatorial?
Working together with the authors is one of the things I love most about publishing. There is no use or fun in being dictatorial.
Plans for the future?
To keep on publishing the best books from all over the world! To contribute to an intercultural dialogue. If books can change our view of the world, they can also change the world. Is that enough of an ambition?
Visit the World Editions website here.
You may follow them on Twitter: @WorldEdBooks