Wings of Desire — bring the Angels of Berlin to the world
The Angels of Berlin are brought to you by Berlinica’s new book Wings of Desire. Help translate this book into five languages!
Berlin is the city of angels: Prussian angels, church angels, cemetery angels, gay angels, cherubs, cupids, airlift angels, Wall angels, and musical angels like Marlene Dietrich or Hilde Knef come from Berlin. All those angels are now brought to you by Berlinica’s new book Wings of Desire — Angels of Berlin.
Wings of Desire is a beautiful 100-page, full color picture book that comes as a hardcover (7'' x 10'') or as a softcover (5.5'' x 8.5''). The book is a whimsical collection of photographs of the city's angels — you can see a short selection in our movie clip — with a description of the history of each angel. The author is Lothar Heinke, a venerable reporter of Tagesspiegel, Berlin's leading daily.
The book will come out in English and German, but we want to bring Berlin's angels via Amazon to the whole world. So we are looking for funding to commission translations into as many languages possible, starting with Spanish, French, Italian, and later Japanese and Chinese. The initial funding is relatively modest, since this is mostly a picture book without a lot of text. We want to be sure that we can cover Spanish, French, and Italian; Japanese is somewhat more expensive, as is Chinese. The details are still open to negotiations with the translators (one of them is my cousin, who married into an Italian family). In any case, the more money that comes in, the more countries we can reach.
This is a PoD book, meaning it can be distributed by Amazon (and other ebook-sellers) all over the world, printed on location from files produced in America. This is what this Kickstarter project is basically about: Reaching multiple countries by using Amazon's distribution resources. If the translation is done, the book can appear in many formats, including as a hardcover or a coffee table book, and as an e-book for tablets or for smartphones. So everybody can carry hundreds of tiny angels around.
Risks and challenges
The execution of the project does not carry a lot of risk. The pictures, except for two or three, are done, and the author has already delivered the text. The project itself is funded, this is basically about the translation. "Angels of Berlin" will be a print on demand book, something that nowadays can be distributed in a number of countries (with the help of Amazon) without a physical presence in those places, and this is what we're aiming at: Being present on every single Amazon site from Canada to Japan to Australia. This will be a truly international book; and if Amazon keeps adding more international sites, the book's audience will continue to grow.
Having said that, the process of actually getting the book on Amazon's many different sites can be quite byzantine. PoD has two major distributors, one is LightningSource, owned by Ingram, the other one is CreateSpace, owned by Amazon. In theory, when you set the book up with either of them, it should appear on all the international sites you are choosing 24 hours later. In practical terms, it sometimes does not, and then you have deal with a fairly inept staff that sends you cookie-cutter do-not-reply-messages (in the local language, which is not necessarily the first language of said staff). Mostly, you need to claw your way up to get to a supervisor or super-supervisor. It also depends on the country. Japan, France, and Germany are somewhat better organized, Italy, not so much. I don't have any experiences with Spain or China yet, but I will see. After the book shows up on the site, however, you can follow the same automated system in every country to get reviews up.
Then comes the main challenge: Getting people to buy the book! And the first step is to let them know. There is a whole science about how to phrase a title and a subtitle which are SEO-friendly. In addition, I'm a member of the Overseas Press Club as well as the Foreign Press Center, a division of the State Department, so I can hold an international press conference in New York, and this is what I'm planning to do, hopefully before Christmas. I‘m also member of a well-connected church with a vast email-list. The good thing about the book is that it's not seasonal (it is aimed for a Christmas audience, but not necessarily 2012 only). So, marketing can be ongoing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)