Today I am so pleased to welcome Matthew J. Metzger to Joyfully Jay. Matthew has come to talk to us about his latest release, Cosas de Espías. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Next month, one of my books is being released in Spanish.
SPY STUFF is probably the highlight of my career, but not for the usual reasons. It hasn’t sold the most books out of my backlist. It’s not a masterpiece. It’s not a deep and complex story, nor a personal experiment in style, voice or genre. But it is a young adult novel with a transgender boy as the main character, and it did sell, and is still selling, extremely well. Readers liked it (including here at Joyfully Jay!). I still get messages about what it meant to people. And as a trans man, it meant the world to me that a sweet romance about a trans kid could be popular. I had been repeatedly told that there was no point in writing anything that wasn’t about cisgender gay men. And SPY STUFF is the book that proved that view to be spectacularly wrong.
Fast forward three years, and my partner qualified as a professional English-to-Spanish translator and started her own company. Salvatierra Translations aims to get more queer books to readers in the Spanish-speaking world. And as SPY STUFF was the book that introduced us to each other, she immediately wanted to translate it.
And so on the third of August, COSAS DE ESPÍAS will be released as an ebook across the Spanish-speaking world.
Which leaves me in an…interesting position, to say the least.
Everybody knows authors aren’t exactly brimming over with trust when it comes to their book babies. We side-eye any publisher with even a whiff of dodgy contracts or financial trouble. We fight our editors to the death over comma placement. And no, that book cover won’t do, because the font is two shades too blue. Amateurs.
The thing is, every other aspect of actually publishing a book, I have some level of control over. I can reject a cover. I can challenge my editor, or even ask for another if it gets that bad. I can refuse to sign a contract unless tweaks are made, or pull out of negotiations and go somewhere else. I can even self-publish if I want absolute control.
But a translation?
I speak limited Spanish. I read and write quite a bit more Spanish. I can understand a woman in a bathhouse (don’t ask) and I can very slowly read a book about Islamic architecture. But I am absolutely nowhere near the level required to be involved in a translation. I can’t actually read my own book, even with the knowledge of what happens. A 71,000 word contemporary romance novel is far beyond my Spanish skills.
Which means I have absolutely no control.
This is probably the biggest trust exercise I’ve ever pulled in my career. I have left my book baby in someone else’s hands, and had zero part in its rendition into another language. Taking advantage of Salvatierra Translations’ marketing services, I’ve not even had much of a hand in promotion. This guest post is about as involved as I’ve been signed I signed the contract with the publisher and the translation company.
On a good day, that’s terrifying. On the book that means so much to me?
Well, it’s brown trousers time, ladies and gentlebeans.
A Anton nunca se le hubiera ocurrido pensar que alguien quisiera salir con él. Al fin y al cabo, ¿no sabe todo el mundo que nadie quiere un novio transgénero? Por eso se sorprende tanto cuando Jude Kalinowski, que parecía heterosexual, le pide una cita … y no parece estar bromeando.
El único problema es que Jude no sabe que Anton es trans.
Anton se imagina lo que puede pasar. Jude es un buen chico, y siempre se ha dicho que los chicos buenos nunca ganan. Y Anton es transgénero, y las personas trans no tienen finales felices. Si se lo dice a Jude, podría destruirlo todo.
Y si Jude se lo dice a alguien … la destrucción será inevitable.
Matthew J. Metzger is a twenty-something British author of queer novels, primarily focusing on relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual or romantic. He was dragged up in London, but currently lives in West Yorkshire, where he carves out a living in an office crunching numbers before going home to write books at night. Matthew particularly writes working-class queer life, and queer people who exist outside of the standard romantic arc.