Friday, April 8, 2011

Location Location Location

Help! I have a dilemma - and I'm not sure what to do.

I've had feedback from two agents that my writing is great, but the book might be a difficult sell in the US market - because it's set in London. Now I'm not sure what to do, as I don't want to hound these agents with emails saying "I CAN CHANGE!" (I'd feel like a stalking girlfriend.)

I can happily swap the locations to New York and Canada (sans Scotland) - Cleopatra's needle has a sister in central park, New York City has an underground and large river. Canada can get just as cold as Scotland (very important) and I already have Hawaii as the hot spot (though it's not specifically named in book one of the series).

Do I make this change - does a sale hinge on it?

Do I contact the agents/editor who presently have the partial/full and let them know I'm happy to make the change if they feel it's required?

Or do I wait and see if they come back wanting to work with me first - then I find out if the change is needed?

RWNZ members I need your advice!


  1. I wish I could help, Tyree. I don't know the answer, but I'll be keenly watching for updates. Best luck with this.

  2. Tyree, I was told this several times by various editors and agents. My story (romantic suspense) is set in Auckland.

    The Wild Rose Press have taken it happily and have no objections whatsoever to its setting. I even did a blog about my story's so-called 'exotic' setting.

  3. As you know, Tyree, we heard that a lot at the last conference - that we have to set books in the US. But I think they were saying this for unpublished authors and for those not writing for some of the category lines which require exotic locals. I think the idea for a new author is to remove all the possible barriers to an editor or agent saying no. Once published and with a readership, the rules change. Obviously many books are set outside the US but the unpublished have a separate set of rules. In e-publishing the same rules don't seem to apply since my books have been set in Zambia, an imaginary country and out on a ship in the Atlantic.
    If it's easy enough to change the location, do so then contact the agent/editor who said that and ask if they want to see it again. I probably wouldn't ask first as they are so busy and their saying yes won't guarantee anything anyway.
    You decide whether that is something you want to do and if so, then do it. Anyway, that's my advice.

  4. Tyree - it'll cost you nothing and offend no-one if you follow up their replies by emailing and asking if they'd feel happier if the book was set in New York and Canada. If you know you can change it without too much hassle what have you got to lose? Don't make the changes until you hear back though!

  5. Thanks for the replies -
    Leigh, I know your comment came with a hug and I'm taking it gratefully.
    Vonnie, I read your great blogpost the other day. It's very much a hot topic at the moment because the recession seems to be making the rules tighter.
    Suzanne and Kris, I remember the comments at conference. Problem is there were very good reasons for starting the series in London and finishing in New York. This means starting in NY and finishing in London (by book six I'm hoping no-one cares where the local is as long as it makes sense to an awesome series story arc). Thanks for the great advice.

  6. I feel for you, Tyree! How outrageous that they think Americans don't want to read about a story set in one of the greatest cities in the world! It's quite offensive really.I have two American daughters-in-law and I can't imagine them being put off by 'a foreign' setting, whatsoever.
    Stay true to yourself and your audience will find you.

  7. Hi Cherie. I'm not sure if they think Americans won't read a story set elsewhere - I think it's more that the market has tightened in the recession and 'standard tried and true' formulas will be more attractive to publishers - location will be part of that. I personally don't mind changing the location (though prefer not to). I'll wait and see :)