A lot of writers wonder if U.S. readers will go for a novel set in an international location. A DearEditor.com reader asked me about that very issue. So I brought in brilliant foreign rights expert Taryn Fagerness to answer it on DearEditor.com today.
Taryn represents foreign rights on behalf of North American literary agents. Before opening the Taryn Fagerness Agency in 2009, Taryn spent five years as the Subsidiary Rights Manager and an Agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She’s sold hundreds of books to foreign, audio, and film markets, and has sold subsidiary rights for New York Times bestselling authors, first time authors, and everyone in between, in nearly all genres including literary fiction, thriller/suspense, commercial fiction, romance, history, self-help, business, and children’s. She has exceptional relationships with foreign co-agents, foreign publishers, and scouts, and she handles all aspects of selling foreign rights from international fair-going to submission, negotiating, and tracking titles through publication and beyond. The territories to which she sells are: Albania, Arabic, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Catalan, China, Czech, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Here’s the question I lobbed over to Taryn, and you can read her answer DearEditor.com:
How essential is it to place your story somewhere that’s familiar or, alternatively, exciting to readers? My story demands that it’s placed in either British Columbia, Canada, or Scotland in the UK, but I’ve read that U.S.-based readers mostly want to read stories based in places that they know or are familiar with (anywhere within the U.S.), or they want something exotic (e.g., Thailand, the Philippines). Is this really true? Would an editor ask me to change the location of my story? Has this ever happened to you or anyone you know of?