Book Stuff Archive

Got a Bite from a Book Distributor

UPDATE! Last week I was scared to contact book distributors, but Mato’s advice about “attacking the problem” and the encouragement I got from the comments helped me to knock out my goal in one day.

And today the fruits of that labor are already forming! Well, maybe the fruit blossoms are blooming.

I got a call from one of the book distributors yesterday and had a very business-y conversation about contracts, industry databases, percentages, volume of sales, deadlines, etc etc. I learned a ton, and boy there’s so much to consider when it comes to serious distribution.

We’re not there yet, but the train is moving!

Everyone’s Dad & Uncle Works Somewhere

I recently announced a new book about Mother 3 that I’ve been working on – it actually started out in Jan. 2017 as a small article for EarthBound Central, grew too big to be an article, so I was gonna turn it into its own special page, but then it got too big for that too. It wound up book-sized, so I figured okay let’s make it into a book, and with 2018 being the 10th anniversary of the translation patch, it’d fit pretty well.

The book’s not about Mother 3’s translation or Mother 3 itself, but rather the cycle of rumors and hoaxes and hopes and expectations and disappointments that have persisted for 23 years now. Tony the book guy suggested trying to go for a “crazy conspiracy” theme with everything linked together like someone investigating a bizarre mystery. So I threw together this crappy concept pic in about two minutes.

I doubt the end product will look anything along these lines, but it’s a funny premise to think about!

Searching for Book Distributors is Scary

In order to help Legends of Localization grow, we gotta get our books into real bookstores. I’ve been terrified of this task for months because it’s new territory that I know nothing about. This always happens when I’m faced with something new like this: I get scared and put it off, then I push through the terror and get it done, and eventually it’ll become a normal thing that I’m not scared of anymore. Pushing through the terror is the reason I’m not afraid to host a stream anymore. I’ve also gotten more used to cold emailing people to request something.

And as I was writing this post, I explained to Mato how I was feeling about it, and gave me some advice that his father gave him:

If you’re feeling scared of something, instead of avoiding it, attack it. Then you become the threat. And you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Okay! With that in mind, here I go…!

A Pliable Layout

I was going through some old files the other day and found some pages Tony had printed out for me. They’re from when press start to translate was still in mid-development, and it was time for me to take photos. I thought it’d be neat to show a before/after thing:

The top sheet of paper is the in-progress layout, and the blue square with the green X is where the picture was originally going to go. You can see by comparing it to the finished book below it that page layouts almost always change when we add a photograph or some other kind of visual aid.

I’ll make a point to save more of those in-progress pages to share when we’re working on future projects!

LoL EarthBound: 2014 vs 2016

Mato found a gem while looking through old emails recently. It’s a mockup of what we thought the EarthBound Legends of Localization book would look like:

The name of this file was “open zine copy.png”. lmao, we thought it’d be small enough to be a zine! For those who don’t know/remember, LoL EB was funded as a stretch goal during Fangamer’s You Are Now EarthBound Kickstarter in October 2014. And two years later, when the actual LoL EB book was released, it looked a damn sight more impressive than the mockup:

And a “zine” it is not. At over 400 pages, I hope the EB book stays our biggest book. I don’t want to go any higher pleeeease!

Alt Covers for press start to translate

We took a look at the alternate titles were were considering for our new book (buy it here!), now let’s look at the alternate covers we were tossing around. Here are some mockups Tony the Designer started with:

So you can see we were originally going for a glitched-out looking cover. Then Tony started experimenting with dragging the Final Fantasy IV game cartridge and box across the scanner:

And that’s how we ended up with the cover we all know and love!

Tony said this about the scanning method:

the wiggling with your hand on the scanner is really what makes the best glitches. it’s very random and by chance. It’s also a machine interrupting and trying to build an electronic image that I (a human) am purposely messing with. Conceptually it felt perfect for the Funky cover. it also looks cool haha

Quite a journey! I need to find more of this work-in-progress stuff to share. I remember we had tons of different variations of the LoL logo before deciding on the final one.

Alt Titles for press start to translate

Now that press start to translate is out (buy it here!), I can share some of the alternate titles we considered. Mato wanted the title alone to make it immediately clear what the book is about, and also not explicitly reference Final Fantasy IV or Google Translate. Also, no negativity allowed. Some of the best/funniest ones were:

  • Copy, Paste, Translate!
  • The Surprising Results of a Translator that isn’t Human
  • Cached in Translation
  • This Book is About Basketball Enemas and Video Games
  • Everything Went Wrong! What happens when you let a computer translate a video game
  • Artificial Inelegance
  • CPU Spoony Bard
  • The Enema is Saying That You Should Not Wear a Basketball
  • Why Your Next Favorite Game Probably Won’t Be Translated By A Computer
  • Return the Bullshit! What happens when you let a computer translate a video game
  • Rated M for Machine Translation
  • Press Start to Translate (Nina gets the credit for saving our butts with this suggestion!)
  • Press Start to Translate: Wait, Wait! Undo! Undo! (I really wanted this one)
  • Let’s Machine Translation!

I even drew a terrible cover mockup of the title I liked the most:

Speaking of cover mockups, pretty soon I’ll share some mockups that Tony the Designer made before we went with the beautiful poorly-scanned copy of the game.

Black Friday Prep 2017

The Fangamer office is in Black Friday mode, which means most of us are running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to finish up the last bit of prep before the BIG SALE. I grabbed some super last-minute photography this morning:

We’ve got 2 new products releasing soon (possibly tomorrow): press start to translate (Funky Fantasy IV book) and a custom-minted LoL bookmark! I’ve been using the prototype bookmark for months and I love it. I hope you’ll love it too!

okaynowbacktotyingupsomanylooseends !!!

Funky Fantasy IV Book Proof is Here!

Woo woo! We’re getting closer to the printing stage for press start to translate! The book proof arrived yesterday:

And here’s a lesson in why you should always, always read your proof, even though it’s so tempting to skim it since by this point you’ve read it so many times already:

Cmd+v (or Ctrl+v on Windows) is the “paste” shortcut. Sometime during our final edits before submitting the book to the printers, we replaced the word “Gorp” with a mistyped paste shortcut. AGH! So glad I caught this.

Ah Yes, a “Realistic Price” Indeed

I’ve seen a handful of people flip our Legends of Localization books for stupid high prices on second-hand markets like ebay and amazon. Nothin’ we can do about it, so I try to find amusement from it. The worst is someone asking $2,000 for the Zelda book in “used, acceptable” condition, hah. But I saw this today and couldn’t stop laughing:

“Realistic price”, lmao. Dude. We sell it new for $29. I hope nobody falls for this!