View Full Version : Non-US locations for Romances - sales implications?

09-19-2010, 04:33 AM
I'm Canadian, and as such I feel like I understand American culture well enough to fake it fairly convincingly. I have set most of my previous works in the US, mostly because that's the largest market and I don't want to alienate readers by setting a story somewhere that's distant enough to seem foreign without being far enough away to be exotic or exciting.

But I'm trying to improve my writing with each new book, and I think one way to make the writing better would be to set the stories in a place where I have more authentic knowledge. I've lived in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, and currently live in rural Ontario - do you think that setting a story in any of these places would have an impact on sales? Do Americans want to read about American characters and places, or are they okay with jumping a little north?

I write m/m erotic romance, if the genre matters.

Hard numbers on this would be great, but I'd also love to hear informed opinions...

Kenra Daniels
09-19-2010, 05:07 AM
Can't speak for other readers, but I love reading about places outside my realm of familiarity. If the author is familiar enough with the location to lend authenticity, so much the better.

09-19-2010, 05:55 AM
I agree with Dragon Lady. I love reading about other places. I personally love Toronto and would love to explore more of Canada, so I'd be all over stories set in Canada.

Lainey Bancroft
09-19-2010, 05:36 PM
With the exception of OUT OF THE DARK, which releases 09-24-2010 and is set in Western NY, and another novella I wrote for a series set in a fictional California town, ALL my books are set in Canada.

Local peeps have told me they get a kick out of reading about familiar stomping grounds and I've also had really nice emails from non-Canadian readers who've said they can't wait to visit Northern Ontario, Niagara Falls and the Niagara wine region because I made the locals sound so appealing. :)

09-19-2010, 06:57 PM
I read a book set in Canada - or anywhere in the world. I love Montreal!


Roman Circus
Legacy Ė pub date 9/27/2010

Mind Echoes
Stormy Love
The Worst Evil

Call Sign: Love
The Colors of Death
An Extra Pair of Eyes


Mysterious Gift

09-19-2010, 07:33 PM
Excellent! I'm glad to hear it - now I get to go write!

09-19-2010, 07:36 PM
My only published book was set in Britain. Not that location plays a big part in it, but I was never asked to change its location; no-one suggested it would be a problem.

And really, I'm not writing for Americans who only read books set in America.

Mainly because I've never been there, and it's a big world anyway.

Jersey Chick
09-19-2010, 07:42 PM
As long as I can get a visual of where a story's set, I don't care. I set my own books all over the place - some are set in England, some in America, some in the Caribbean. It all depends on what the story calls for.

09-19-2010, 10:28 PM
Lainey's answer would seem to sew it up. She's been there, done that. Lived to tell the tale.

Do you have an agent? She might give you a good feel for the marketing of this. I know there's 'Ask the Agent' and 'Ask the Editor' sections. They might have an insider view there.

My own take is -- do it. I love Canada.

09-19-2010, 10:38 PM
I set an M/M in Vancouver which sells on par with my other work which is set in the US and UK.

09-19-2010, 10:49 PM
If Americans only liked to read about Americans settings and characters in their fiction, us foreigners wouldnít stand much of a chance. Iím English, my stories are English, as is my spelling. So far it hasnít proved to be a problem. In fact, reader feedback suggests they rather enjoy something a little bit different location/setting wise :)

dolores haze
09-19-2010, 11:04 PM
Location, location, location. There are so many romance novels out there to choose from. A fresh location, for me, is one of the things that helps me decide. I've read Canadian-set contemporary romances with pleasure. I'd love to read a few Canadian-set historical romances, also.

My own novels tend to be set in more than one place. California/New Mexico, Scotland/New York City, Earth/Outer Space. I've never once had a rejection or an acceptance based on location.

Good luck!

09-19-2010, 11:11 PM
That said, mainstream publishers have had pretty big failures when they tried to set romance in places like China. There are some reader prejudices at work in the marletplace.

dolores haze
09-19-2010, 11:23 PM
That said, mainstream publishers have had pretty big failures when they tried to set romance in places like China. There are some reader prejudices at work in the marletplace.

True. I have my own prejudices against feisty western heroines traipsing through made-up middle eastern countries, snagging sheiks left and right.

On the other hand, one of my favorite romance novels is about a feisty heroine from a made-up middle eastern country, traipsing to the US and snagging herself a gorgeous and mysterious American. (Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh)

09-20-2010, 01:03 AM
That said, mainstream publishers have had pretty big failures when they tried to set romance in places like China. There are some reader prejudices at work in the marletplace.

I think there might be such a thing as 'too exotic'. To do a 'really' foriegn location well, like the Middle East or Asia or Africa, in the context of a romance novel, would be difficult without shortchanging either the location, the characters or the romance. There isn't room for more than a stereotypical depiction of the setting or the romance, so everyone feels shortchanged. Not that it can't be done, but it's tougher to do and tougher to sell.

While setting the story in the U.S, Canada, Great Britain, or even France or Italy, gives something a little different, while still allowing basic familiarity. We've all seen pictures, movies, read books, have a framework in our minds, so we're free to concentrate on the relationships and romance, and enjoy the details of the particular setting.

09-22-2010, 04:47 AM
thanks for asking this. I am curious too.
I live in Toronto and personally would love to see more novels set here! I only see two books on my bookshelf that are set in Toronto...