Story written in US English but want to publish in UK

by Ashley Nicholas
(Durban South Africa)

Question: My murder story takes place in Key West Florida so I have had to write the book in US English and also primarily because it would have the bigger reading audience in the USA. However, I would like to be published by an international publication house in England; as it is easier for me to get to England from South Africa. I know England well having lived and worked there before. I am not sure how the USA publication scene works. In the end if my book is accepted for publication I would like it, ideally, to be published on both sides of the 'Pond'. Any advice in what medium to approach agents/publishers in would be gratefully appreciated......... without offending anyone. Also I don't want to mislead them that the book is not in UK English.


Thank you so much for a website filled with so much knowledge and wisdom. Ashley Nicholas

Answer: Wherever you choose to submit your work, I would meet the standards of the person you are submitting to, whether that's an agent or a publisher. I would use UK spelling if submitting to a UK entity and US spelling if submitting in the US. You always want to look like you know the local standards.

A publisher will buy the right to publish in their own country.

After the book has been published, you can look to selling international rights. A big agency will usually have someone in their office who specializes in selling foreign rights, or your agent may have a relationship with another agent who does this work and can be brought in. Alternatively, big publishers will have a rights manager who can help you with sales of foreign rights if you don't have an agent.

If your book sells well in its first publication, or even if your publisher or agent has a lot of confidence in it, you will be encouraged to sell secondary rights (foreign, film, etc.), since everyone wants a book to make money.

For a secondary/foreign edition, the publisher may want the book re-edited to suit their readers. That's when the spelling might get revised for the new country, along with the book design. Again, they will come to you with this.

Your big decision is which country offers you a better chance of making that first sale. "Getting there" is not an issue, as almost all business can be done long distance today. I would suggest you contact some successful writers in your own country and ask them if they have any insights or experience in this area.

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