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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Can non-native authors make in in the US?

A question which often comes up at forums is whether or not foreign authors can make it on the American market?

In my opinion, the answer is 'yes', taken into account...
* that the author writes in English
* that the author's English is good or even better than that of most Americans
* that the author has a good story

In my case, it was not a problem. I started my books in English, for starters, not in my native tongue. I believe my use of the English language is good enough. When I travel to Great-Britain or the States, nobody takes me for a foreigner. In England they think I'm from somewhere above London and in the US I'm supposed to live in New England.

Follows the question how you can learn the language this way. Well, I was lucky to have parents who paid for my staying abroad during lots of summers. I always spent them in England and in California. I lived with guest families and quickly adjusted.  Not everyone is this fortunate, but what you can do is watch a lot of BBC and read only in English. I still learn a lot whenever I start another novel or when I watch a film or serial on TV.

I just send out a query to a publisher and was accepted. They never make an issue about me not being American, although I have to adjust my stories just a little to fit in with the American way of thinking. I must make my heroines 18 or older, for instance. Here in Europe girls of 16 can have sex without a problem, but it's different in certain states of the US.

I think it's a bigger problem when you are a rather succesful author hereabouts and want to make it in the US. You have a number of novels which need to be translated.

I am friends with an author, Luc Deflo, who likes to make it out here as well. He writes super thrilling novels, but I'm rather afraid that when translated they'll not be as good. He tried to have one of them translated already, and the translation was like nothing. Translators can't just translate - they need to re-write the novel in the other language, keeping to the ideas of the original. This often goes wrong, and that's why I refuse to read a novel in translation.

Luc wouldn't know how to write his work in English. His use of language is not good enough. If he could do so, I'm sure he would make it as big as he's doing here.

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