Ask Daphne! Hail Britannia!

johnlobbGorgeous bespoke British shoes for Roberto, who writes:

I have a question about international submissions. Do you prefer writing coming from Britain to use American spellings of words (‘color’, not ‘colour’, etc)? Considering that much of publishing seems to exist in London and New York, I wonder whether it is best to have two versions of a text, for submitting to agents in each country (if even this is a good idea). Does it matter?

Short answer: no, I don’t care about spelling, so long as it’s correct somewhere.

Long answer (and the more useful one, perhaps): no, but why are you worrying about this? Each country has a different style, and while many US books cross over to the UK and vice versa, why are you seeking representation in a different country, and neglecting your own? Those books that commonly cross over do so after being successful in their own country first.

Publishers want authors who are available to promote their book, and a UK author who seeks US publication first is already at a disadvantage (and vice versa). Not to say it isn’t done, but I think you need to ask yourself — why? In your mind, what’s wrong with the publishing industry in your own country that you would seek to ignore it?

If you’re not ignoring it — if, for instance, you’ve already made the rounds seeking publication in your own country, only to find rejection, why aren’t you revising your manuscript, or working on something new, rather than hoping that, while all the agents/editors/publishers in your own country might be wrong/stupid/clueless, surely those folks across the pond will realize your genius!

Don’t focus your attention on the little picture (spelling) while ignoring something bigger.

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