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Gail Sattler 

Gail Sattler lives in Vancouver, BC, where you don’t have to shovel rain, with her husband, 3 sons, 2 dogs, and a lazy lizard named Draco, who is quite cuddly for a reptile. When she's not writing, Gail enjoys playing piano and bass guitar, which she also plays for the worship team at her church. Outside of church, Gail plays bass in a local Jazz band where she can turn up the volume and not annoy the neighbors. You're invited to visit Gail at her website at

Writing As A Working Tourist a US market, would the average reader know where something went if a character placed an object in the boot?

As unpolitically correct as it may sound, it is true that the writing industry is primarily an American market. Many publishers exist all over the world, but the primary marketplace for writers of fiction is in the United States.

But many writers who sell to the US market live outside the US borders. What does this mean for those living north or south or overseas from the US?

Sometimes, not much. With e-mail being faster and more efficient than the post office, sending and receiving correspondence and manuscripts is less trouble and expense than at any time in history. While it’s always nice to speak personally on the phone, e-mail does away with time zones and coffee breaks—you can send or receive 24/7.

For some writers, though, the differences are more subtle.

Being from Canada means I don’t experience a language barrier with US readers. Or do I? If I write that a character was wearing runners, what would the US audience think? If a character takes off her shoes when entering a house, does this mean she is Japanese? If someone drinks a pop, has his father liquefied in the heat? Or, for British writers selling to a US market, would the average reader know where something went if a character placed an object in the boot?

For the answers to these and other difficult questions, turn the page upside down. Just kidding!

In the US, people must sneak around a lot, because in Canada we wear runners (vs. sneakers) on our feet when we want to run. In Canada it is polite to take off your shoes when entering someone’s house. Not to do so is considered rude. And no, we are not a nation of stinky feet. We just don’t wear our shoes indoors.

Once upon a time, carbonated, flavored (in Canada that would be flavoured) beverages were packaged in glass bottles and called “soda pop.” Now this product comes primarily in cans, and in the US it’s “soda,” in Canada, it’s “pop.” Or, in some areas of the US, it’s called Coke, regardless of brand, content, or trademark. In Great Britain, if Jane Doe places her suitcase in the boot, she is not stuffing luggage into her footwear to sneak an extra piece onto the plane; she is putting it into the trunk of her car.

For many nonresident authors, the greatest challenge of writing to the US market is learning to write “American.” This does not have to be difficult, but it does require concentration and awareness of the differences in words and expressions. When non-Americans are in the US, we have an “accent”; the challenge is to write like we don’t.

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