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senka
06-09-2011, 12:52 PM
I thought I'm surely not the first person to ask this question but unfortunately the search button didn't help me to find anything regarding that topic, so...
I'll have to deal with that sooner or later and I didn't know how to get information, so I'll try to start here.

Very basic question, I'm looking for some info about publishing books written in English but from authors who do not live in an English speaking country (and are citizens of a non-English speaking country). I have absolutely NO idea if that's just not a problem at all or if it is difficult for whatever reason.
One of the first and most important points would be where it is best to start looking for an agent/publisher/whatever, and "where" means "what country". If you are from the USA it is obvious you'll try to get published in the USA, of course, but what to do if you have kind of free choice? Assumed you are at home with, say, both US and UK ortography and so on, where would you start to look? And there are still other English speaking countries, Canada, Australia and so on. I guess that there are differences between the countries and I also guess that there are some where it's easier to get published and some where it's more difficult.

I'm sorry if this question sounds overly stupid but the point is that I never dealt with this before so I'm completely clueless...

Corinne Duyvis
06-09-2011, 01:00 PM
You should think about the audience of your book. If it's set in Australia, you're Australian, and you think your book would appeal to Australians... well, you might want to approach Aus publishers/agents first. On the other hand, if you're British but your book is aimed at a US audience, select them first.

In general, there's no reason you can't query agents from several countries. When I was querying (and keep in mind I'm from the Netherlands -- English isn't even my first language -- so we're in the same boat), I contacted agents from the UK, Canada, and USA. I ended up signing with a US agent.

Unless your book is absolutely not aimed at a US audience, I would definitely recommend querying US agents: There are simply more of them, the market is bigger, and they tend to be more open to e-mail than, say, UK agents.

Communication is so easy these days that there's not much of a barrier to being published across the pond, really. UK agents routinely sell to US houses and vice versa, or they'll hire foreign agents to do it for them.

Good luck!

waylander
06-09-2011, 01:01 PM
Aliette de Bodard seems to be doing pretty OK. She's French, writes in English (and wins awards), has a UK agent and is published in both the US and UK.
So long as your work is suitable for the US market I would start there. The market is larger and there are more agents.

James D. Macdonald
06-09-2011, 01:13 PM
The question is always the book. Is the book outstanding as compared to other books written in English? If so, no problem regardless of where the author lives or what language the author speaks as a native.

Is the book inferior compared to other books written in English? Big problem, regardless of where the author lives or what language the author speaks as a native.

senka
06-09-2011, 01:59 PM
@James D. Macdonald: Considering my work "outstanding" would feel quite arrogant whereas considering it "inferior" would lead to the question why I am trying to write in English at all, as it doesn't make sense if you are doing worse than natives. Thus, I consider it "normal" or "average"...

Concerning the audience: The setting is very international. There are Fins, Germans, US-Americans, Mexicans, Japanese and New Zealanders as central characters. Russians appear quite often as well. I'd say it is as interesting (or as boring) for an American as it is for a Canadian, Australian, Scot or whatever.

waylander
06-09-2011, 02:14 PM
The book has to stand out against all the other submissions the agent/editor is receiving otherwise it will just get a form rejection, this is what James is refering to.

From your description it would seem appropriate to query both US and UK agents

senka
06-09-2011, 02:42 PM
The book has to stand out against all the other submissions the agent/editor is receiving otherwise it will just get a form rejection, this is what James is refering to. Of course I try my best to make it stand out against all the other submissions. I'll see if I succeeded as soon as I sent it wherever I'll send it.
But I don't see the connection to my original question here, I mean that's the case no matter where and in what language you're trying to get published, isn't it?

Corinne Duyvis
06-09-2011, 02:45 PM
Exactly. It's really not all that different for us than it is for people from English-speaking countries. As long as the book is up to par, we're good to go. :)

shaldna
06-09-2011, 03:24 PM
Very basic question, I'm looking for some info about publishing books written in English but from authors who do not live in an English speaking country (and are citizens of a non-English speaking country). I have absolutely NO idea if that's just not a problem at all or if it is difficult for whatever reason.

Not a problem at all, especially in these days of internet, you can be anywhere in the world.

My first publisher was American, my current publisher is in teh Uk, it doesn't really make a difference in terms of how the business side of it is done.

The first publisher I found by spending time trawling the pages of the Writers Handbook and querying until I thought I was going to go mad. You can have a look online for the Writers and Artists handbook, you can search for agents and publishers there.

It's up to you whether you want to query UK, or US or Canada, either seperately or if you want to prioritise by publisher / agent.

Basically, you do it the same way that you would query agents and publishers anywhere - that said, you might want to prioritise those who accept email submissions as international postage costs are scary.

PorterStarrByrd
06-09-2011, 03:41 PM
It's really mostly about your book. Is it good enough to be published?

Part of writing is about wordsmithing. You really have to have a strong understanding of the language and how it is used by your audience. Then you have to understand the culture of your reader to a lesser extent.

If you can get past those two hurdles and have a good story, well written, and edited I don't see how where you live or what your native language is matters. I don't have the experience to know, but I'd imagine whatever personal appearance/contact your publisher wants from you might play a small part.

Congrats if you are good enough to get over that first hurdle. Your're way ahead of most of us. I'm probably not even ready to handle English English or Australian English etc.

senka
06-09-2011, 05:02 PM
Exactly. It's really not all that different for us than it is for people from English-speaking countries. As long as the book is up to par, we're good to go. :) That sounds reassuring, really.


Part of writing is about wordsmithing. You really have to have a strong understanding of the language and how it is used by your audience. Then you have to understand the culture of your reader to a lesser extent.The culture is not a problem at all. Foreign cultures and languages are my job, my life, and understanding them earns my money.
For the language thing, I don't know. My stories just pop up inside my brain in English. And it's American English I'm most familiar with, although British is okay while Australian and the rest is nothing I'm really familiar with. I'd have to do some awkward translation-like work to put my work down in another language than English (even if it's my mother tongue). It would feel strange and not fitting at all and quite stupid. So I write in English. I wrote a few short stories first and put them on some of those "write stories online" pages, you know, no payment, nothing, just writing for fun, lots of crap to find there, but I only wanted to see if anyone would notice that I'm not a native speaker and they didn't. The same for speaking English, so I gave it a try. I know that other people already successfully did that (writing in non-native language) and I can definitely say that I'm good at learning languages, so why not. If an agent, beta or whoever will tell me that I overestimated myself I'll chalk it up as a learning experience and either look for something else to spend my time with or try to get better.
I don't really expect anything, I'll just try and see what happens. Trial and error...

SaraP
06-10-2011, 03:25 AM
Hi senka,

You've received some fabulous advice already. You can find some more ideas on this here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202654) and here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=213253). Good luck!