1. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Publishing in the US if you're not an American citizen

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by CMastah, Mar 23, 2014.

    Being that I'm not American, is that going to be a problem if I want to get my book published in the US?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why. There are plenty of authors who are not American who are published in the US.
     
  3. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    I know someone who is quite a distinguished novelist in the UK but she hasn't had much luck getting any distribution in America as her publisher thinks her books are 'too English'.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that could be a problem, but if the book has universal appeal and is well written, there is no reason why it wouldn't be able to find a home with a US publisher...

    jkr being british certainly didn't hinder distribution of the HP books in the US, did it? ;)
     
  5. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Thanks for the heads up guys :)
     
  6. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    The sale of rights to foreign territories is fairly standard practice - it's usually handled by your agent.

    I'm not sure if publishing a book in another country (rather than publishing in your home country and then selling rights elsewhere) would be quite so straightforward, but I'm sure it's possible.
     
  7. justlang
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    justlang Banned

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    No, anything sells in these states and money is cheap as chips. I read all about it in Money.
     
  8. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    It took me four year to have anything published in the US. Being that I am a Canadian writer, I tend to use the older grammatical form of writing. That is to say, many, if not most, American authors use verbal English in modern writing. Even the larger publishing firms use editors that have accepted this form of grammatical structured writing in books, articles and magazine short stories. Once I adopted this form of writing, I have had near seventeen articles and short stories published in various American magazines and periodicals.
     
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  9. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sixteen then...

    [MW's prat extract saved for novel and editing of the word 'indeed.']
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  10. Audry Silva
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    Audry Silva New Member

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    And if you live abroad? Do you need to be settled in the country to publish or can you do everything online these days?
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no and yes...

    it doesn't matter where you live... agents and publishers only care about the work you have to offer, not where it comes from...
     
  12. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    Audry; not necessarily; however it does help a great deal. My Canadian agent and I pounded our heads for four years trying to break into the American writing market. It was not until I moved to the USA in 1976 and had a successful article published in a Japanese outdoor nature magazine that I was able to have my work hit the American markets. Many on these types of forums will argue this point, but from one who has seen it happen countless times, I can speak from first hand. It was an American agent who got me started in the US. I felt, that with my Canadian agent, I was trying to climb an endless rope.


    If you live in any country other than the US and really want to see your work being published in the US, find an American agent. The only other to lessen your odds is to have a successful book or a published name in your country of origin Both scenarios will help you tremendously in having any success of having your work being on American book shelves.


    If you don’t mind me asking, what genre of writing do you do and who is your target audience?

    AJ
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    aj...

    what kinds of books were being shopped by your canadian agent that s/he couldn't get american publishers interested in?... novels, or non-fiction?...

    what book/s finally snagged an american agent for you?... and what book/s did that american agent finally find a publisher for?

    had you been repped by an american agent from the beginning, i doubt you'd have had to wait so long...

    that said, i'm a bit confused by the progression... getting an article accepted/published in a japanese magazine could have not been affected by whether you lived in the US or canada, and what kind of 'work' then 'hit the american markets'?... magazine articles?

    if so, how could an american agent have helped with that, since agents only rep books?... please pardon my denseness, it's early in the am and i haven't had my daily dose of green tea yet... o_O

    and i'm not just being nosy, am truly interested in your experience, as i mentor aspiring writers in all parts of the world, so need to keep up on what works where...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  14. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    Mammamaia; in regards to your questions, you seem to have missed something in my previous comment. I have never written a book nor have I felt inclined to do so until a few years ago. My financial gains from writing have been through freelance work.

    My writing career started out as an editor and writer for a news paper produced by a student body at UBC in British Columbia. From the beginning, I have rarely worked for one source for any more than a year. In 1969 I was working in Thailand and had the pleasure of meeting many American soldiers who were on leave from fighting in Vietnam. Their stories were mesmerizing, so I started interviewing them with the intent of writing articles for American outlets in the US. We, my editor and I, hit a brick wall no matter whom we approached in the US. Every major US news and/or magazine source we approached felt it was better if an American citizen wrote such emotional, home based reports.

    In 1971, I approached National Geographic about a trip I was about to make with an American expedition to the Antarctic. Once again, they wanted an American journalist to cover the story. My next endeavour was writing about the state of the America’s growing federal debt for an American newspapers. Once again, we were hitting brick walls. Though my sources were excellent and genuine, along with many insider financial experts, it came to no avail.

    In 1975 while I was doing research writing for the Canadian government in a place called Tuktoyaktuk in the Canadian Arctic Circle, I happened to hook-up with a Japanese expedition team that was about to walk to the North Pole. I followed them, by helicopter, and kept a journal of their exploits and personal hardships and stories. The journal ended up being a three part series in a major Japanese outdoor and nature publication.

    In 1976 an American agent in Los Angeles contacted us wanting to know if I would consider moving to the US to write for American periodicals and outdoor magazines. In 1976, I moved to LA and was immediately awarded a contract with National Geographic for a project in South Africa; hence, my twenty-four year free lance career took hold. That’s not to say that I made a good living from freelancing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I hopes this satisfies your wonderfully inquisitive mind.

    AJ
     
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  15. Drmoses
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    Drmoses Member

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    Thanks for sharing AJ. Sounds like it was a very interesting ride!

    Here's my question to follow -up on the topic: As a Canadian, moving to the US is very challenging. Not only due to the personal issues revolving around moving a family, kids etc. but the actual acquisition of a green card is quite elusive. In fact, many of the people from Canada whom I've discussed the screen writing business tell me that short of being sponsored by an employer, you just can't get one.

    So the actual question is whether or not the hurdles you faced in mid-70s are now less pronounced? I look at some of the sites in my bookmarks list and they lead me to think that being published from my Canadian home base shouldn't be that difficult. I'd love your insight on this.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    AJ
    sorry for the confusion... that is why i had to assume you were also writing books, since agents don't usually represent freelance magazine article writers...

    and, nowadays, in the US, i don't know of any literary agents who will rep anything other than books... unless, of course, one is already a client with bestselling books on the times list...

    so, if you don't mind telling me, what did your canadian agent and then the american one do for you?

    did you earn so much from your articles that it was worth it to both of you for the agent to get you writing assignments?

    and were they 'regular' agents who mostly represented book authors?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
  17. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    Drmoses; I have a duel citizenship with Canada & the USA. Yes, you do need a sponsor for such, or a strong reference. Sadly, the US has moved into a inside borders protectionist mode for the time being. When there is an economic situation where foreign forces are filling in for local citizens who are desperate for work, this can be expected. My suggestion to offer is to keep at it and don't give up. I know several Canadians who have work published in the US literary market.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  18. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    Mammamaia; please accept my apologies for not responding to your inquiry in a more timely manner.

    I have written three books; however there were autobiographies for other people. Ghost writers of autobiographies rarely get public credit for their written material unless the owner of the work agrees to include the name of the person who actually did the writing of the book. Most high profile political figures and high profile personalities will not give credit to a ghost writer’s name. As long as they come up with the $$ to do the work on their behalf, I don’t argue the point. (the truth of the matter is, most autobiographies are poor sellers so I agreeably opted for a flat fee of per word)

    (……and, nowadays, in the US, i don't know of any literary agents who will rep anything other than books... unless, of course, one is already a client with bestselling books on the times list...)

    You can find agents in North America for about anything you want; including finding someone to repair your plumbing or buying a used car. If there is a financial percentage involved, there will be an agent out there to help you. As it was however, I had a close relationship with a well known author in Canada by the name of Pierre Berton, It was to his credit that helped me to gain access to a well known Canadian magazine, Maclean's magazine. These two well known sources helped me immensely to get me started in the US.

    My Canadian agent did not have any close connections with any major resource outlets in the US, so he connected me with a literary agent in LA who did, Selley Associates,. Unfortunately, David Selley, passed away in 2000. Mr. Selly represented authors of books, screen writers and authors of articles for most of the major publications in the US. Unfortunately, David Selley, passed away in 2000. Mr. Selly represented authors of books, screen writers and authors of articles for most of the major publications in the US.

    Freelancing is a tough business to make a reasonable living with. Though the assignments the major publications give you pay well, they are not a continuous source of income. A good agent will find his client other work that fill in when the major writing assignments are lacking. This includes, literary workshops, speaking engagements, ghost writing and so forth. If the agent is worth his salt, he/she can keep an author busy enough to keep a good cash flow coming in for both. A steady and reliable source of income for a freelancer is writing editorials for news papers chains.

    I have scoured through this forum and have picked up that you are an active mentor and do help beginning authors to hone their writing skills. If I may suggest, you may want to look into the representation field for these budding authors. It involves hard work but can be very rewarding from both ends of the field.


    AJ
     
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  19. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Your contributions have been fascinating, thanks AJ.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks for the reply, aj...

    sorry i hadn't given you info about myself that could have saved you a lot of that typing... :oops:

    i've been a freelance writer and a writing consultant/services provider since the early '80s--in the US--so am well acquainted with the ins and outs of freelancing and 'agentry'... my own agent was a canadian one, as a matter of fact... i've also known successful authors such as bob ludlum and robin moore, since i lived in and was active in the art, literary, and theater circles of westport, ct, where i lived...
    i've also been a ghostwriter, so know the ropes of that writing offshoot, as well...

    and in my years of working with literary agents and knowing people who have literary agents, it has been my observation that only already highly successful freelance article writers who contribute to the most prestigious publications [you being a case in point] can avail themselves of the services of an agent...

    the reason being, of course, that lesser lights won't be making enough on their occasional article acceptances to justify giving 10% of their fees to an agent and on the agent's side, so paltry a 10% can't justify the time and effort it would cost them to place a client's work...

    i don't see that things have changed so much these decades later, that it would make sense for a legit/reputable agent to take on newcomers to the freelancing biz as clients...

    that said, there are scads of unprincipled people who may call themselves 'agents' who are willing and eager to take advantage of unwary, unenlightened beginners who really don't need to be paying any part of the few bucks they can earn from a published article to someone who only does what the writer needs to learn how to do for him-/her-self...

    your own experience is far beyond the norm and i applaud your success, but i don't see how it can make sense to advise newcomers to the freelancing world to waste time trying to find themselves an 'agent' from the get-go...

    finally, i have looked into 'the representation field' on behalf of mentees and clients, having been aware all along, that there are 'agents' for anything one can imagine, which includes every variety of scam and semi-scam one can imagine... but my conclusion is still that beginning writers don't need an agent for anything other than shopping a book around and doing all the other agently things they do to ensure the success of the book and its author...

    so, i guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that...
     
  21. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    I think it can't stop you.
     
  22. Gingerwoman
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    Gingerwoman New Member

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    If you are offered a contract with a US publisher, then you need to apply for an international tax number or 30 % of what you earn will be withheld That's all you need is an international tax number.

    I live in New Zealand and have an American publisher however I happen to be an American citizen so I gave them my SSN.

    If you don't have a SSN you need an international tax number, and that's all there is to it. Without one you can still be published and paid by a US publisher, but 30% of what you make will be withheld. I've heard getting one is a pain but I know lots of New Zealanders who have got one.

    I am someone who has never tried to get an agent, but submitted to US publishers direct.

    Also so far I have chosen to include at least one US protagonist when writing for the US market. But that's just me.
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    @A.J. Pruitt - Just out of curiosity, the same rules apply if you're an American wanting to publish your book in another country (like Canada), true? If I wanted to see my books on Canadian bookshelves, I'd have to contact a Canadian literary agent who would be willing to work with me to get my books over there?
     
  24. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    I do believe that you will find that 95% of the books published in the USA (novels, magazines, educational material and all else) can be found on Canadian book shelves. From my view point, it would be pointless to not load up the Canadian book shelves because most US published literature can be found on the Internet in some form, if not in whole. The fact of the matter is, Canada has a greater availability to sensitive or censored material than does the USA.
     

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