View Full Version : English setting, American agents?

06-05-2015, 05:24 AM
Will it hurt me? I've always considered my work more suited to an American market, and I've written in both settings before, and actually prefer setting it in America most of the time to allow me to create my own world (even though I write contemporary), and to distance myself from it. But I have one idea that I keep flip-flopping between the Deep South of America and England, and I don't know which to choose. Both have pluses and minuses.

For the record I'm not just talking about a bland English setting that I could easily transfer if I got an American agent. I know the traditional advice on this is 'write it in British English and change it later,' but I was thinking about rooting it in a specific section of English history, so it would seem weird for everybody in it to be in a certain part of England but saying 'mom' etc. BUT, unlike say Virginia Boecker's The Witch Hunter, this isn't English historical fiction/fantasy. It would set in the present day and pretty light on anything speculative.

Any thoughts? Opinions?

06-05-2015, 09:18 PM
Utter opinion: I don't think it would hurt you?

Agents like reading various types of settings just as authors do, and so if they like the book for the writing then they'd try to find a publisher for it.

06-06-2015, 01:06 AM
I'm not really sure I understand what you're asking. Are you considering setting a book in America with the idea that it will be more marketable in the US or attract US agents? Or if an English setting will put off US agents?

My opinion - Don't worry about it, write the story. If you're British and based in the UK, write in British English and query UK agents. If you aren't successful with UK agents, go for US ones. Don't worry about what setting will be more marketable to a specific audience, just write a good book in the setting that works for the story. My current novel is set in Canada, the next one is the American mid-west in the 70s, I'm English and have a UK agent, this has in no way reduced my chances of being published in America and my books being set in North America have in no way reduced my chances of being published in the UK. Let agents and publishers worry about marketing, you just worry about writing a great story.

Aggy B.
06-06-2015, 01:17 AM
American agents won't balk at the country your story is set in. All they're looking for is a kickass book.

I'm an American and my agent has three novels and a graphic novel script from me that are set in 1880s Ireland/Britain, a secondary fantasy world, 1860s Oregon, and modern Norway with mythological elements. There is no reason why the setting would limit where they are sold. (The language might, but that's usually a problem for the editor to sort out. Like the English and American versions of Harry Potter where they changed "jumper" to "sweater" and all that.)

Becca C.
06-07-2015, 09:27 AM
I say do England. But you already know I'm an Anglophile :P

06-07-2015, 01:28 PM
I asked a very similar question of Joshua Bilmes at Loncon last year, specifically about contemporary/urban fantasy. His reply was that in his opinion US editors didn't want UF with British settings so he would not take it on. My own agent declined to send my British-set UF to US markets for similar reasons.