"The Dancer at the Red Door" Interview: Q #8

Mark Leslie Lefebvre interviews me on Facebook regarding my Aurora-nominated story, "The Dancer at the Red Door"...

MARK: Wow, sounds great -- I've already got it on my "to buy" list -- something tells me this limited edition won't last long and I should be placing my pre-order with PS Publishing soon. Apart from multiple award wins and countless nominations, you've also had a lot of success with reprints of your fiction in foreign languages. Can you tell us a little bit about that -- perhaps what it has done for you as a writer?

DOUG: Well, it started out just as a fun thing to do.

After I'd been writing for a couple of years and had a few short fiction sales, I came across a reference somewhere to a German anthology that accepted previously published stories in English and translated them for free. Plus they paid. So it was found money, and I thought it would be cool to be published in another language. They took two stories from me, and I started looking for other foreign language markets and submitting to them, mostly just to see how many languages and countries I could "collect," and it kind of grew from there.

I've now sold stories in 28 countries and 22 languages. Some of the markets pay pro rates, some pay less, and some only provide contributor copies. When I started my web site, I included the FML (foreign market list) on it. The FML is now the most popular page on my site, and draws visitors from around the world. In recent days, I've had visitors from as far away as the Ivory Coast, Russia, and Senegal

Quite frankly, I'm not sure what it's done for my writing, beyond making my name known to a lot of other short fiction writers, and I've made friends with lots of short fiction editors around the world. Maybe it will help me sell foreign rights to any novel I sell. I really don't know.

Okay, I can think of one definitely positive impact. Solaris, the fine Quebec magazine, doesn't take submissions in English. However, one of my early foreign sales was to a great little dark fantasy mag in France called Ténébres (now defunct, sadly). They printed "Spirit Dance" and sent me their translated version. I subbed the French version (albeit Parisian French not Quebecois) to Solaris, and they printed it, as "La Danse des Esprits." It went on to win the Aurora for best short story in French. If it hadn't been for the original foreign sale, that never would have happened.

I've also found that the foreign language mags are more likely to include cool artwork with the stories than even the big pro English language mags. If anyone wants to check these mags out, I have some of the illos and all of the covers for my foreign sales up on my site at http://www.smithwriter.com/publication_list. I have a mailing list associated with the FML for any interested writers. You can check out the FML at http://www.smithwriter.com/foreign_market_list.htm.