Writing in German often feels like taking conversation lessons in Old Saxon. There are measly 90 million native speakers and another 80 million people who learned it as a foreign language. English, well English has about 340 million native speakers and up to a billion who speak it as a foreign language. Talk about market volume! And yeah: Non-native speakers are totally part of the literature market. At least according to my bookshelves.
It doesn't end with the fact that anglophone authors can target a potential market more than seven times the size of the German-speaking equivalent for primary release alone. Their chances of their work being translated into other languages are way better as well. When something sold decently (not even well, decently is good enough) on the anglophone markets, it's likely to be taken on by a foreign, e.g. German publisher.
And this is where the Hamster Wheel of Doom kicks in: German authors aren't published because the markets are saturated seeing as there are so many translations on the German literature market because German authors are unproven and therefore risky to publish. How in all circles of hell do these anglophone markets survive then, with all the untested material they work with? And why don't we do it the same way in Germany?
You know the answer. The answer is profit.
The only possibility to gain any kind of recognition in Germany is by writing profound and boring elitist literature or detective stories with local color. But Fantasy? Thriller? We have those! Hohlbein writes Fantasy! Schätzing writes Thrillers! We don't need a second author for these genres. Not in Germany, anyway.
And then there is Amanda Palmer and says: Ask! Ask your audience! They will give. And I want to, I really really want to. I want to crowd source, I want to become the hat. But I'm not a performer. Nobody wants to watch me hammering on my keyboard all day. And whom should I ask? An industry that refuses to believe in their fellow Germans? Or my few sceptical and risk-averse countrymen? How about it? Would you give a writer money directly?
We Germans used to be the People of Poets and Thinkers. But we have become cowards.
Now we are the People of Me-Toos and Backward-Ideas. Of the Frightened and Restrictive.
I'm very curious as to the literature markets in other language areas. How about our neighbours France and Poland? What about the markets in countries with languages of painfully small communities language-wise? Like the Dutch and the Danish?
In case you know anything about this: Leave a comment, a link or send me a carrier pigeon.