Saturday, 26 October 2013

World markets for writers.


Markets are an odd thing, particularly on Amazon. I am writing a series of novels about a, obviously, fictitious World War Three. There a mixture of characters from the many nations on both sides of the fight, good and bad, but America is not the focus; it is one of the players and shares the stage.
It sells very well on Amazon.co.uk with eighty plus reviews but it is not as well received in the USA with fifty odd. Those who like it the most on Amazon.com tend to be Australian rather than American, according to the reviews, which is odd as so far I have only featured a single Australian submarine and its crew.
Canada has a lot of mentions and a main character is SACEUR, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, a canny soldier. However, I think I have sold fewer than fifty copies on Amazon.ca. Looking at my fellow alternative historians I see they fare just as poorly north of the Great Lakes.

The reasons I have been given for Americans less than rapturous receipt of the book is that they are used to being the focus, the cavalry coming over the hill to save the planet, and it is not an unreasonable a viewpoint. Additionally, a vast number of Americans writing about America is going to typecast the flavour of what they expect to read.
‘Flavour’ or 'Flavor' now there is another item, spelling. I get complaints from some Americans that they find my ‘bad’ spelling an irritation. Once I have finished this fourth and final book in the series I will publish a US edition of all the books, one with fewer U’s and more Z’s and I will get back to you on how well that floats.

Foreign language translation remains beyond the means of most Indies. How the book translators have not priced themselves into extinction is a mystery as they expect you to pay their mortgage, grocery bills and kids private school fees for three months while they work on your book.
If you want independent proof reading of their work? well that is another five grand.

I would like to break into the Chinese market, it is massive and only a stones throw across the South China Sea from my house, but that not only involves a translator but an entirely different way of writing.
The State controls everything and they have a paranoia about world opinion. No novel involving Chinese aggression will see print (or pixel), no stories of China and military conquest of another country will be permitted and therefore online publications and eBooks of strange storms sweeping individuals and units back in time, or across to a parallel universe abound, because the State is happy for Chinese armoured brigades to kick 18th century Samurai ass.

If anyone has suggests, or a pair of magic red shoes to break into those markets, please feel free to share.

Andy's books on Amazon
Andy on Goodreads