Monday, 25 June 2012

Writing for the American Market.

Having achieved my life-long wish to be a stuggling author (I'm still struggling) and not getting a UK publishing contract after nearly 10 years of trying, both with and without an agent, I metaphorically upped and sold my skills in the States... the land of opportunity.

It took nearly a year before I found Caleb Mason, CEO of Publerati Publishing ( and we struck an e-book publishing deal. We're now well on our way to my second book coming out. The first book Leap of Faith is doing well.
It's also out of course on

So how difficult was it to change market, because, quite naturally, my publisher wants to target the massive American market first. Differences:-
- Spelling. Everyone knows that English words ending in ...OUR don't have the U in America. We also know that S is often replaced by Z. The letter ZED is also pronounced ZEE in the States. No problem. A good spelling checker will sort most anomalies. However I still tend to write with English spelling and then convert to US spellings as part of the editing process. What many people may not know is that the purer spelling is that used by the States who inherited it from the Elizabethans
- I've already mentioned pronunciation, however apparently the Bostonian accent is far nearer to the English accent of the late Elizabethan period than anything spoken today in the UK. The same can't be said for the deep South, of Californian twangs unfortunately.
- Humour (or Humor). My books are adventure fantasy stories aimed at the teenage market and contain lots of humour. Caleb Mason agreed that the humour was an integral part of the storyline and suggested that we retain all the British humour. It seems that it was the right decision because sales have been good, which leads me to believe the differences between the UK and USA sense of humour are not as diverse as people think. Humour is often dictated by the media moguls (or so they like to believe), and as a result American situation comedies have frequent breaks because supposedly have incredibly short attention spans. They are very formulaic (how many are based in a coffee shop, or bar?) and are converted from UK TV comedies. One of the few that couldn't go across easily was Monty Python's Flying Circus, but that was a very unique institution. Having said that the Pythons toured the States and packed stadiums

The States and the UK are two countries separated by a common language. Most other countries nearer home and the UK are just separated.
Vive la difference!

Blog on, dudes!

1 comment:

  1. Your experience mirrors my own, Richard. 5 Years ago, I put out a paperback through Virtual Tales and I changed all the spelling to American English(and I didn't know their version stemmed from our Tudor era) but we left the self-deprecating Brit humour alone, and the book sold. Nothng mega, nothing to set the world on fire, but it was moderately popular both over there and over here.