British publishing

Will U.S. Editors Buy U.K. Manuscripts?


Dear Editor:

I live in the UK and have written YA mystery. As for the market to pitch it to, I’ve assumed that I wouldn’t be able to sell it in the States. I have this idea—I’m not even entirely sure where I got it from—that it’s even harder for European writers to get their books picked up in the States than it is in the UK. However, you are the expert so if you think that’s not the case and I’d stand a chance, I would very interested in your insights, as impending Brexit has everyone here concerned about what’s going to happen with the British publishing market.

Thank you,
Bundt Boss

Dear Bundt Boss:

Books aren’t one-size-fits-all. Whichever market you make a play for, a book must meet the audience’s distinct expectations and quirks. U.S. publishers generally believe their readers don’t want to read about characters who live and adventure outside U.S. borders. An exception would be a novel with the “American abroad” theme, like Anna and the French Kiss. (We’ll ignore Harry Potter, which defies most assumptions.) If your mystery takes place in the U.K., with British characters, you’ll encounter resistance with U.S. publishers. Can and are you willing to set your mystery in the U.S., or make your main character an American Abroad? With Brexit injecting uncertainty, I admire your interest in thinking out of the box. Have you got other tricks up your sleeve to adapt this for U.S. readers? Committing to the U.S. teen fiction market may require substantial adjustments.

Happy writing!

The Editor