Over the last decade, Dekamer, created by Jeannine van der Linden, has grown to nine locations across the Netherlands.

Each coworker who makes use of these coworking spaces is unique in their own way. Attorney-at-law for Law and More B.V Maxim Hodak,  sheds some light on his business publishing Eastern European Literature.    

Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Maxim has been living in The Netherlands for the past 31 years. Practising law is his main career: but he is also the Managing Director of Glagoslav Publications. With 11 years of experience in the publishing industry, Maxim is an expert in distributing and promoting Eastern European novels. 

The history of Glagoslav Publications

Glagoslav was created about 11 years ago. Maxim’s goal in founding Glagoslav Publications is to share what Eastern Europe truly is with those outside of it, through its literature and nonfiction books. Glagoslav Publications consists of a team of three individuals, Maxim Hodak, who is the Managing Director, two other employees and a group of freelancers.    

When Maxim founded Glagoslav Publications, Eastern European novels were a tiny niche market. There were practically no translations made of books in the English language, with the exception of Russian classics.

Maxim explains that “After the collapse of the Soviet Union there were actually no translations anymore, made sporadically in the English language. Most of them were composed of Russian classics and no modern authors, no non-fiction authors, no Eastern European authors from other Post Soviet Republics.”   

Maxim created Glagoslav Publications to bring  Eastern European literature outside the Russian classics to the world, and to give these authors new opportunities  by taking care of the marketing and promotions of their works. Making use of social media and technological advances has been able to promote these novels globally.         

Managing content collection from Eastern Europe

The manageability of content from Eastern Europe has become a bit of a challenge. When Maxim started Glasgoslav, it was in the context of a new era for the world. The Soviet Union had just fallen and there was free trade between eastern and western countries. 

However, there was no connection between Eastern European authors and Western European readers.  Maxim explains that “There was no censorship, but we see it coming back now in Russia at a rapid pace. We are going back to where we started, where we came from”.  

The mission of Glagoslav is now to select authors, translate their works, publish and promote them. When Glagoslav started this mission, there were only about 80 translations of modern author novels from Russian to English to be found on Amazon for sale, and some of them were of the same authors, excluding the classics. 

When analyzing the literature that was translated, besides the classics, there were few modern Russian authors at the time, and the majority of them were not known to the public. As for Ukrainian literature there was practically nothing, and it was a similar situation for Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and multiple other Slavic nations.      

The marketing of these books  

Since he started Glagoslav, Maxim and his team have  published about 180 translations and created about 3000 e-books in the languages of these countries for the diaspora to the west. 

Maxim goes further by explaining that “for example, Russian and Ukrainian books in Russian language, would be distributed as e-books in US, in Canada, UK, Netherlands”. The way in which Glagoslav distributes these novels is through broad distribution. Virtually, they can be found everywhere, from Amazon to online and regular book stores.   

The Glagoslav team took advantage of the technological advances of the modern era to ensure that they would not be making a loss when publishing and translating these novels. The team was aware that the literature they were publishing was a niche market, there wasn’t a mass market or high demand for them. 

Keeping the niche market in mind, they knew it would be inefficient to mass print these books. To prevent making a loss, Maxim explains that for example, “when the book was bought in the US, it was printed and shipped in the US to the US address”. The production line they created made global distribution for these novels a reality.   

The rise in Eastern European literature in the diaspora 

Having novels that can be printed or sold  as e-books and audiobooks needs a certain level of marketing to ensure that the global market is reached. When Maxim and the Glagoslav team started, they promoted the books primarily on social media to gain more publicity and spread awareness. 

Recently, Maxim took on a Public Relations manager, who fluently speaks Russian, Dutch and English, from the Netherlands. The new PR manager is an asset to the company as he knows how to communicate with media outlets and with his help, they will be promoting these novels even more now. 

Since the war, the novels have become even more important. 

Distributing Ukrainian novels

As the war continues, about 10 million have fled Ukraine, and possibly around 8 million of these people fled to the Western world. The majority of this diaspora does not have any access to Ukrainian literature.

Maxim explains that “The programme we started is going to try to bring the Ukrainian books to the west—to the libraries, to the shops, to the schools where children study.” 

Distributing Ukrainian novels to the Western world has become more important because of the war in Ukraine. Having Ukrainian novels in the Ukrainian language being printed and distributed in the Western world, is a precious reminder of home. Maxim and the Glagoslav team realize this importance and plan to make their distribution project a reality so that people can read books from their home country in their home language. 

Making Ukrainian novels accessible in the Ukrainian language serves not only as a reminder of home, it also keeps the language and culture alive. The war is still ongoing and when it will end remains unknown, what can be said is that there are children who won’t be raised within their  culture as their parents were. These novels are a piece of their culture and of their mother language, and it can help keep it with them in the West.               

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