In April of this year, while I was on a business trip to Shanghai, I discovered a Chinese publishing group called "Fiberead" which translates books from foreign authors into Traditional and Simplified Chinese. After several days of investigating the authenticity of the business, I submitted my first novel, "Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor" to Fiberead to be translated.
The Chinese eBook market is estimated to be worth around $1.6 billion US dollars currently, and is still very much a growth market. Teaming up with Fiberead allows authors to have their books translated, published and advertised on numerous Chinese sales platforms and tapping into the large Chinese eBook market. For their efforts, Fiberead will take a 70% cut of sales (split between the translation team and Fiberead), leaving the remaining 30% to be paid to the author.
A 30% royalty may seem minuscule, especially when you also take into consideration that eBook prices in China are much lower than in the west, but isn't 30% of something better than 100% of nothing? I think it is, especially when you consider the volume of potential sales. An average sale price in China will yield an author approximately $0.39 US per eBook sale, which really isn't much worse than when you sell on Amazon at $0.99 and receive a $0.30 royalty.
Where things really get interesting though is in the sheer size of the Chinese eBook market. One eBook distributor, Zhangyue, owns the rights to 350,000 books and sells 1 billion eBooks a year. Another distributor, Dangdang, owns the rights to 200,000 books and sells 66 million copies per year. These are just the estimated sales figures for two eBook distributors so you can see just how massive the Chinese eBook market is. When you multiply your $0.39 by only a fraction of these two distributor's sales, you end up with very impressive returns.
My book is currently undergoing the final typeset process, having gone through translation and proof-reading over the past 5 months. There is still some time to have the final version approved by the censors, but by the end of 2017 my first novel should be on sale in China. I submitted my second novel which is currently undergoing the initial translation process.
The Fiberead process is lengthy - my first novel will have taken 9-10 months from submission to sale - but once it is done, it will join a fairly small list of Western authored eBooks for sale in China. Whether my books become sales successes in China or not remains to be seen, but I am excited at the prospect of reaching such a large number of readers.