What do I believe? If a Johann Sebastian Bach website is exciting plus, the Bach biography lateron is as well, then a child might be even more interested in the music of this artist.
This project, this website and everything that comes with it, is my passion. Even better it is mission to actively spread everything about Bach. This goes even beyond the conservative "transport vehicles" like books and Bach's music. It's my personal philosophy and what I am trying is to convince those, who are not happy how it is done for centuries. I care about those, who are like I am.
However, that doesn't mean, kids should skip books and just rely on the internet. They shouldn't. With spreading the knowledge about this unique icon in the musical world addressing a huge number of children with a biography versions in their mother language which by the way is fun reading for adults too, is actually my youngest idea. So, actually this idea came up not earlier but some three years after the start of the whole project.
A common adventure: a Bach Biography for the children in the world. From the United States to China, from Israel to Arabia.
Everything, everything, everything coming with this project is new for my wife Renate and me. For us it's the adventure of our lifetime. Three years ago, we never ever had created a website. Two years ago my friend and genealogist Christian Hoske was our guinea pig. Look how his website has developed in the meantime and of course I take advantage of his visitors to promote Johann Sebastian Bach. On the other hand, Christian is living in the Bach City of Eisenach, so it is fair. Here is a link to his website, it's really worth a visit.
My Bach Biography for children: sometime in the future in thirty-five languages? Do we want to accomplish this together?
I have not a clue, whether this Bach Biography for children will ever sell. Not in Germany, not in the English speaking world, not in one of the thirty-three more languages. How does work usually? In the book industry you write a book. In your mother language. Next is, you look for a publisher. A publisher actually is a company, that takes the risk to have a book printed, marketed, distributed and sold. An author usually gets eight percent commission of the sales prize. If you are as good as Ernest Hemmingway, you get more. That all is true, if you sell a "real" book printed on paper.
It's a whole "different ballgame", if you decide not to look for a publishing company. Some think, so the whole earnings go into your pocket, but it's not that way. It's the whole risk is on your shoulders, as it is said, that six out of ten books are a loss, three pay the cost and one might succeed. Might. For our project Renate and I decided, not to knock on dozens of publisher's doors as this is very frustration and time consuming. For a publisher it's just about the profit, so actually ninety-nine of them probably wouldn't give any book about Bach a commercial chance. However, profit is not Renate and my goal. We want to distribute life and work of Bach. As a mission.
Xi, the first Bach enthusiast from abroad, she is now living in Bejing, China and has studied in Goettingen, Germany, actually was the first to offer help with my language versions. Falling in love with the theme, we thought about more possibilities together. Back to the biography for children. Even having hundred printed in German and English, or both, we are taking a high risk. So actually, we never ever considered to have this biography for children in French, Italian, Chinese or Hebrew. On paper? Never. Ever. Period.
But some ideas need some time and I thought about POD, which is printing on demand, as an option for a long time. POD is almost no risk. Somebody wants one book. Okay, you order one copy, ship it, done. It's more expansive. Not just a little, way more expensive. Actually, such a book costs a fortune. So actually, if you want to put any profit on the print price plus shipping and handling, you might sell one in a decade. Or two. Or three. But that's it. On the other hand it's a mission, so maybe folks, who don't care about the price, just want to have a copy in Arabic, Korean, Spanish or Russian.
I requested your help with the translation of the foreign versions part one and part two for free and I am happy and thankful for your help. The amount of translation was manageable, you have clear view of my goal and helping me with some days of your valued time for me is priceless. With this biography for children, a warm thank you won't do. If I create profit, we must share. As said before, I don't believe we will sell real "paper books". But if my offer would be to share the profit. Keep in mind, cooperation with me is not based on the sales price but sharing the profit. Sales prize minus print cost minus shipping and handling. So there might be a profit of one dollar. We are four creative people, who worked to make a foreign version come into being: that is you, that is me, that is my sister, who did the illustrations and may wife Renate, who did the layout. There are two more involved sections, which are marketing and sales plus there is a portion which results in work from the order to the shipping. Six sections. My proposal: we divide the profit by six, you get a fraction of 16.6 percent. Of the profit. Not of the sales price. This paragraph and this option isn't exciting at all. Just the idea, having a copy with your name on the hardcover is. That's it.
It may be different, when we "think internet". I estimate the sale price somewhat between ten and twenty percent of a printed copy, as you may deduct shipping and handling too. So, this enlarges the probability to sell just one copy up to the factor ten. Plus, it's dramatically different with the profit, as the sales price actually is the profit. No print cost, no shipping and handling, no nothing. It's a little different, when we sell via a platform like Amazon. Then profit is sort of seventy to eighty percent of the sales price, but may be much higher, as we have no experience so far. However, if such a distribution generates 9,90 dollars, we share like we did before. Four artists plus sales and advertisement. And there is a handling of the sales platform and the communication with those platforms too. Which would result in a 16.6 percent share for you.
How would the distribution work? Firstly, Renate and I would sell it via "Bach on Bach". Plus, there are several platforms for each electronic medium. After your translation, we convert your translation for a download in two versions. The fist option is to download a pdf file, which you print yourself or read it on your PC, on your tablet, smartphone or laptop. That comes with all the illustrations. Second alternative is an e-book, which is without illustrations.
A third really visionary publication would be a narration of your translation, and if I take the risk to invest for such a service I would reduce the profit for a book sold this way to ten percent. However, if you narrate it or pay for this service, your share would be twenty-five percent. However, think about the editing of the text and it's a time of some five hours read. Plus, don't believe it's easy money making. It's an option and this third audio offer is just mentioned as I write about our options anyway.
Please be aware, that actually you take the whole risk of time. You don't risk a cent. But if we don't sell one copy, for what reasons ever, you time and work was in vain. Please be aware, that you don't get any payment until we sold one copy. It is not like usually authors and publishers work together. It is different. It's fun, it's a passion, it's a mission and may be, actually accidentally we might make some tiny profit with it.
However, having told you the negative aspects, let's face it again: it's really not about making money. Neither for me nor for you. Don't do it for income reasons. It's just for two reasons, which is first spreading the knowledge and the work of the greatest composer on earth. And secondly it's about feeling good, to publish a book, which the world will notice. You, my sister and I and Renate are co authors then. Of course we have to consider, that there is by far not that much to read about Johann Sebastian Bach, which is first and foremost fun in your mother language. And I pretend out of these few foreign-language books which do exist, there is almost no book matching the demand of a child, providing both knowledge and fun.
Third consideration of course is the pure number of kids in the world. If this book will be found by teachers, especially by music teachers, it might be selling permanently for decades. But, as I said, don't consider this last reason at all.
If you are thrilled by this part of my Bach project, let us do one step after another. First of all: I would love if you send me a mail. Click here.