Writers work, for the most part, in solitude. That is, we don't usually have someone helping while we do the actual writing, although there are those who work in teams or elicit feedback from those in the immediate area. But largely, we do what we do alone.
So it's a little weird--no, a LOT weird--for a writer when his/her work comes back in another form. Audiobooks are terrific and I highly recommend the ones that have been made of my books because the wonderful artists who narrate the tales bring such color and depth to the characters that I start to think I might actually be good at this. It's still hard for me to listen to them because I hear all the clunkers I dropped in thinking I was being clever, but for anyone who didn't actually type this stuff out, I think audiobooks are a wonderful way to experience the story. Your mileage may vary.
Sales to foreign markets are a special treat for an author. You don't actually have to write anything new, but someone pays you for it. Better than that, people in whole other parts of the globe might actually decide to pick up your work and--who knows?--enjoy it! It's something of a mind-blowing experience, honestly.
When that first sample copy shows up in the mail (thank you, Josh Getzler!), though, it's sort of a surreal moment. I can hold the book in my hand and look at it, see that it actually does have at least one of my names on the cover, and then not recognize a thing about the work. Not the title, not the artwork, certainly not the words between the covers. I take it on faith that the writing is an approximation of what I wrote, but I'm a stupid American and barely speak one language, so what evidence do I actually have?
Don't get me wrong: I LOVE looking at the books in other languages. So far, there have been translations in French, German, Czech and Japanese. I believe Turkish is on its way, and now that Josh has spent some time in London talking to publishers, anything is possible. But any resemblance between the books I wrote (which are in some cases a good few years old now) and the ones you see to the left is strictly a matter of acceptance on my part. For all I know there are medieval tales of fantastical knights between those covers, or the filthiest porn on the planet. You couldn't prove it by me.
Still, I do take it on faith, and I don't do that lightly. I believe all those publishers in all those countries went out of their way to buy the words I wrote, hire a translator and an editor, make the story more recognizable to people in a culture other than mine (sometimes I think there should be translations just to go to Alabama or Montana--anyplace that isn't New Jersey) and present it in the most appropriate way possible. Why wouldn't they?
And the thought that people in Germany, France, Czech Republic, Japan, Turkey and who knows where else are picking up a book they surely have never heard of before and taking a chance on it?
That's a writer's dream.