Hey folks! We have a guest post today, from Tessa Stokes, so I’m going to pass over to her……. 🙂
A British author, Tessa writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy romance, as it gives her more chance for happy endings.
She was born in the United Kingdom, but has lived in different parts of the world because of her work and has many interests, amongst which reading features highly. Tessa loves history, and tries to cram in as many visits to historical, sacred and ancient places as she can in any free time she has.
Trying to please both sides of the pond: A British author’s dilemma
I’m a British author and my books are set in the United Kingdom. They vary from a series that is young adult fantasy romance (17-21 years old) ‘The Seven Spell Saga’, to adult paranormal romance, ‘The Ruthin Trilogy’. All of them sell much more in the USA than in Britain.
I write for the eBook market now, Kindle, Nook, Sony, KOBO and iPad.
When I first released my ebooks, as a British author I used UK English spelling. It didn’t sit happily with some US readers and I began to use American spelling.
Little by little, I have changed to use American spelling and names for items all the time where possible because it seems that as a British author I am better received in the USA by doing this. I have to look after this market because I really want my stories read and British readers are so thin on the ground.
Some of my humor is very English; take this passage from my adult fantasy romance, Stone Kisses
Almost a week had gone by and Mercury was aware that his stone mantle was completely hardened. Not a tendril of his lovely hair tangled in the breeze, not a sliver of his drapery moved when a fox brushed against him in the night. His heart was heavy and he had begun to believe that Justin had no intention of even re-selling him in order to go on with some semblance of the game. He was abandoned. Stella had let him down; no Justin had let him down. He knew the teardrop was still there on his cheek and if he could he would have cried some more.
It was very dark as there was no moon to be seen, and the air was satin with unshed rain. Mercury heard them before he saw them. Two people, a man and a woman. They had a torch and a wheelbarrow, which kept catching on the bushes that edged the path leading to this side of the building. When the path widened out to the square of concrete and the little access road, which meant the truck for the skip collection could get in, he heard the trundling sound of the wheelbarrow. Mercury thought they had two wheelbarrows when he could hear the sounds properly.
The people stopped and the woman held the torch whilst the man climbed into the skip.
Mercury listened to them.
“Frieda point it a bit further over here I can’t see what this is”. The man’s voice came.
“Okay Gabe but it’s not the strongest beam. I told you we should have got the other one too. What have you got there?” The woman answered.
“Rabbits, three of them and not too damaged either. Here take them. I’ll pass them one at once and there’s a gnome here too, just the top of his hat is missing. Two small frogs with chunks out of the back. Hey, a nice set of blue stone pots, oh wait a minute they are all cracked down one side, but no matter we can salvage them. Get a move on Frieda”, the man admonished, and Mercury if he could have, would have laughed. They were stealing the broken stuff.
He listened as they loaded their wheelbarrows and thought what does it matter? It was only going to be broken up for road fill anyway. If they want it who cares?
They trundled off with their wheelbarrows, but Gabe came back about five minutes later and looked around the other side of the skip.
Mercury heard the woman approach too.
“Gabe what are you up to? Come on don’t stay too long, and don’t stray in too far or the alarms will go”.
Mercury agreed with her and then Gabe was in front of him.
“Frieda check this out. They’ve tossed out a bloody great statue”, the man said peering at Mercury’s face.
Frieda appeared and lit the place up with her torch. The two were older than Mercury had expected maybe mid-fifties. They both had graying hair and were dressed almost identically in dark blue trousers, and padded jackets. The woman had a kind face and she looked hard at Mercury.
“He’s a handsome specimen and no mistake. I can’t see anything wrong with him Gabe. Do you reckon you could lift him? Let’s take him; we could definitely sell him on”.
Gabe chuckled. “I’ll never lift him Frieda. Go and get the sack trolley we’ll manage him that way”.
Frieda left with the torch, but Mercury had heard the words ‘sell him on’, and was feeling decidedly uplifted by these events.
Copyright Tessa Stokes 2012, All rights reserved
There are words in this passage that are UK names for things because those characters are intrinsically British. How many can you pick? The humor and mode of speech used by the characters is British. It’s hard to want British readers to read what is really fiction written for them, but know the market is so small you need to use a variant spelling so that your work is read by someone somewhere.
I write for everyone now.
I’ve read countless comments on blogs and online notice boards where people posting go into arguments about what authors should or should not be doing with this dilemma. I don’t join arguments; all I can do is try to please both sides of the pond.
I’ve considered what’s happening in another light just recently because of figures issued by the UK publishing association. It would seem that the UK lags considerably behind the USA in take up use of eReaders. There’s no doubt that globally epublishing is outstripping traditional publishing in terms of sales. In the UK many authors who choose not to go Indie are still slogging around the traditional route of trying to get an agent and publisher in what is simply a treadmill now for new authors. Sadly the old saying about who you know still holds true for this scenario. After ditching writing academic and commercial text writing in 2009 I went straight to being Indie for my fiction work. I’m glad I did because like all artists I want my art seen.
It seems according to recent statistics that 61% of UK people receiving an ereader device of any kind last Christmas have yet to download anything to it.
I’d love a few more British readers because in the beginning I did set out to give them their own romantic vampires, mages, heroes, and lovers. In the meantime I’m thankful that there is a market and that Indie work is so well received globally, so thank you readers everywhere.
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