My new novel Jomsviking is now being published here in Norway, and many of you have asked when it will be available in English and other languages. It’s my 17th book and finally, 21 years after the publication of my very first novel, it looks like the sales are taking off. The pre-sale is at almost 3.000 copies as I’m writing this on the 7th April 2017, which is very, very good by Norwegian standards — the publishing company actually placed an order for the second print yesterday.
But the book is still only available in Norwegian. I get asked a lot when my books will be available in English, and it actually hurts a bit every time I get that question. But that is only because I feel I should be able to say yes! It hurts because I really, really want you to get to know the characters in my books. I want the stories to be there for you. I want you to make those stories your own, like we do as readers. I want you to see what the characters see. There is so much I want to show you …
Now, having a novel published in other languages first requires the book to be translated. I have already had my Tyr novels translated into English, so you’d think I could just publish them. Some writers do and there isn’t a huge cost associated with it, as long as you have a translation. However, I have decided that self publication is not the path I will choose to bring my novels to readers in other languages. The reason is simply that I need to focus on my writing. «Jomsviking» is the first in a series of historic novels from the Viking Age, and they require a lot of research and a lot of travelling. I need to keep my focus on that. So I will try to find a good literary agent who will then approach suitable publishers in not only the English language area, but other language areas as well.
Meanwhile, there are actually things you can do to help. These days, social media rules and some publishers are keeping an eye on trending topics. Also, they listen to direct feedback like emails and phone calls. So if you want a publisher to publish any of my novels in your language, you can simply suggest that they do.
Also, you can subscribe to this blog, my Youtube channel or the new Jomsviking Facebook page. Publishers want writers who can reach a lot of people through social media, so any new subscription helps. You could even subscribe to my brand new blog jomsviking.no. It is in Norwegian, but I will be posting English content there as well.
I hope to soon be able to tell you all that I have signed a book deal with a foreign publisher. I have actually promised that I will not taste alcohol or cut my hair until I do. It’s a Norse tradition and although I will probably not be cutting my hair short when I sign that book deal, I will throw a party that will be heard all through the nine worlds. And by the way, you’re all invited!
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen