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Why do writers seem to only want to cater to an American audience? (1 Viewer)

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ironpony

Senior Member
I've been told that my writing and some of my ideas are too controversial for today's times, because of things like the Harvey Weinstein scandal, or the George Floyd incident, and that readers will not go for such stories nowadays that could have any material that can be compared to real life events like that.

Now, I don't meant to come off as insensitive to real life tragedies, and that is not my intention, but these are American tragedies, and I feel that there are several other audiences around the world, you could market too, rather than just America. But other people act like America is the only audience to market to, or at least the only one that matters in terms of success.

Is that true, that if America doesn't like it, no one else will get wind of it? I was just wondering anyones thoughts on that, since that has been the advice I was given, market wise. Thank you very much for any input or thoughts on it!
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Europe has a huge English-speaking readership too, because many of its citizens are taught it from an early age, even where English isn't the national language. Also, culturally, there tends to be more tolerance of material that a lot of Americans might find unacceptable - particularly many from the Bible belt regions. However, you would need to make other adjustments. You could get away with American spellings, but you might need to change the names of certain items if they appear e.g. faucet is rarely used as it's a tap, and guns within the populace are far less common.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Because a larger population such as the United States would be ideal? If I knew Chinese that would be awesome. Just because of the potential market. That said, I think that is how many people tend to think or how I think. If the culture is a problem, then maybe writing it would be such a gamble that I do not know if it would be a good idea for you to try (the same story you have been working on). You always must know what you are getting into if lots of money is involved. If not, it is like investing money and time in a business idea not knowing if you will get your money back or not knowing if you would get a good profit. It could be valuable time wasted or years wasted. Have you thought of turning it into a novel to get a public reaction?
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Maybe your peers are trying to provide good advice but in a form that is rather more palatable? And they might be wrong or wrong-headed. Maybe present as a novel rather than as a screenplay? Y’see:

‘My gang terrorises the city, rapes all the women, and they kidnap the women, y’know? Raping every woman in sight. Revenging maladministration of taxation schedules under previous administrations, it is like a theme. Thinking ringleader called Tyson, his side-kick Jackson and that guy from the Green Mile if he’s available. Scene two is more raping in a skyscraper.

‘Cops take over one skyscraper and shoot everybody dead in a different skyscraper. They got the wrong skyscraper. Dead folks falling out the windows. You see that?’

‘Uhuh, thank you for your presentation son, allow me to ruminate a while. Does all seem a little controversial.’

‘Why’s that?’
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Maybe your peers are trying to provide good advice but in a form that is rather more palatable? And they might be wrong or wrong-headed. Maybe present as a novel rather than as a screenplay? Y’see:

‘My gang terrorises the city, rapes all the women, and they kidnap the women, y’know? Raping every woman in sight. Revenging maladministration of taxation schedules under previous administrations, it is like a theme. Thinking ringleader called Tyson, his side-kick Jackson and that guy from the Green Mile if he’s available. Scene two is more raping in a skyscraper.

‘Cops take over one skyscraper and shoot everybody dead in a different skyscraper. They got the wrong skyscraper. Dead folks falling out the windows. You see that?’

‘Uhuh, thank you for your presentation son, allow me to ruminate a while. Does all seem a little controversial.’

‘Why’s that?’
Maybe writing that novel will result in more feedback from other writers. Also, if most movies are adaptations of existing stories and novels and other sources such as real life. If public reception is good, he will get what he wants. If he sells well somewhere. That's the goal. Also, since it is controversial it can be a test of how well his novel would fare under public scrutiny or feedback.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
I've been told that my writing and some of my ideas are too controversial for today's times, because of things like the Harvey Weinstein scandal, or the George Floyd incident, and that readers will not go for such stories nowadays that could have any material that can be compared to real life events like that.

Now, I don't meant to come off as insensitive to real life tragedies, and that is not my intention, but these are American tragedies, and I feel that there are several other audiences around the world, you could market too, rather than just America. But other people act like America is the only audience to market to, or at least the only one that matters in terms of success.

Is that true, that if America doesn't like it, no one else will get wind of it? I was just wondering anyones thoughts on that, since that has been the advice I was given, market wise. Thank you very much for any input or thoughts on it!

I've read some of the other posts querying about issues about this story over the course of the last couple of years (bad guy code names, psych profiles, backstory, too smart villians, traumatized MC doesn't have sufficient reason for revenge...so on and so forth...at this point it seems like the internet has written more of this thing than OP...)and I live in the US.

The standards for entertainment are not high, Patterson is on the bestsellers every week and movies like Rampage are summer blockbusters, which should tell you something. If it is a 6th grade reading level it sells. If it is witless, it sells. If it is lewd, it sells. If it is as ridiculous as Sharknado, it gets nine sequels.

But when ordinary readers are telling you repeatedly there is a glaring issue with either the tone of the content or the plausibility of an event it might be time to reassess the work. Because in the world of publishing if you cannot find an audience in the US with its massive demographic what are the odds of scoring a hit with smaller, more culturally diverse regions?

Do some serious research into top selling books and movies. Read. Watch. Take notes and apply some critical thinking. Start with your observations, not John Q Armchair Expert.

Try working on the project for two weeks using only your decisions instead of the internet poll. Start from ground level, outline, and critique your ideas out loud. Does it sound implausible? If so, give the idea a second look and consider why.
 
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vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Europe has a huge English-speaking readership too, because many of its citizens are taught it from an early age, even where English isn't the national language. Also, culturally, there tends to be more tolerance of material that a lot of Americans might find unacceptable - particularly many from the Bible belt regions.
Living in the USA, and in the Bible Belt, I think that read of the market is out of date. Yeah, TV tried to cut excessive violence in 1970, so that's 50 years ago. It's back (has been for a very long time). Sex is everywhere. Romance with sex dominates book sales ... everywhere. Film makers ADD scenes to get an R rating in the US market. Titillating the audience is an acknowledged requirement.

Ironpony's question is mistargeted, and Matchu's answer is the latest of many telling him the truth about that wretched plot.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
Honestly, I think a writer worth their salt could write a decent story consulting a Magic 8 Ball.

A option, 8 Ball says not likely turn to page 101. B option, 8 Ball says try again later, well that is closer than no, so go with that and turn to page 47.

Chances are good that people would love the novelty and nostalgia of it. I now need to google to see if such a thing exists.
 

Kimoco

Senior Member
Don't forget Canada as a market too! The main differences aee a few spelling of wordS are color becomes colour, but we can definitely read it all the same. And I dont' know if this kind of comment is acceptable, but if Stefeni Meyer can become a writer, anyone can. I started reading her first novel, and in terms of literacy, it's not the best, but its entertaining I guess, since so many people loved it. Don't lose hope, and have anyone else than americans read your book, see what they have to say! Good luck!
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Okay thank you everyone for the advice! I didn't think the story had a plausibility problem when reading it out loud myself. I bought into the plot, but that's me. But I thought some of the problems readers pointed out were problems with the controversy rather than plausbility, but that's just how I interpreted the advice.

As for turning it into a novel, are you saying the type of story would be more acceptable as a novel, rather than a movie? I don't think the story is long enough to be a novel though, since screenplays are typically much shorter in plot, than novels. So I don't think it could stretch to a novel therefore though.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Exploit ‘eccentricity’ to your advantage.

See how a multitude are drawn to your forum posts.

Take confidence from the fact. You project a likeable voice. Utilise to your benefit and our pleasure.

800 words please by next week in the crit. arena. <3
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I think it is good practice for you to have it critiqued regardless. In some ways critiquing can be made to be an easier process this way. I wouldn't draw any conclusions other than this is a fiction forum and people would-be willing to help you. If I tried to answer your question I am guessing there could exist novels with very dark subject matter and that could mean some rape scenes. People tell you the motive connected to the action is the problem. You are the writer so improvise it to fix the manuscript. Just take reactions and don't take advice on how to fix it.
 

Darkkin

WF Veterans
Oh okay, thanks but why shouldn't I take advice on how to fix it?


Asking for advice on occasion is fine, where things get sticky is when a writer cannot work through a scene, develop a backstory, determine character motivation, or even name said character without consulting John Q. Armchair. By doing this, a writer cedes all responsibility for having to come up with their own material. They just borrow their friend's homework and don't actually learn how to write or problem solve effectively because someone always gives them an answer. When every element of a story is determined in such a way, it inhibits any potential for the creative process to function because the writer has no confidence in their own work, they let the internet do it for them. It's akin to asking your mom to drive you and your friends to the mall when you are 35 and three of you have cars because no one wants to pay for gas.

The point is that any writer worth their salt needs to learn to be self sufficient to some extent. Stop at the store for mom on the way home and pick up the things on her grocery list, a list that you slipped in your pocket on the way out the door. It is about taking an active role in your project instead of taking a backseat by saying: Hey, here is my plot hole, your ideas are due Wednesday.
 
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ironpony

Senior Member
Oh well I could write it how I feel is best, it's just how do you know if it's the best way to go without others takes or advice on it?
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Oh okay, thanks but why shouldn't I take advice on how to fix it?

Darkkin pretty well center-punched it.

I'd consider it this way:

Your story is a boat. A literal narrative vessel intended to move the reader from hither to yon. As the author of said story you get to be captain. And, like any other kind of long-haul, you will encounter obstacles, some natural, some man-made, some absurd. Weather may try to sink you. Shady customs officials may try to impound your boat under charge of running contraband. Your charts may be bad. There may be pirates.

Imperative though all of this is You the Captain having the will, the discipline, and the skill to either navigate around the obstacles or best them as they appear. Advice from others can prove useful...but at the end of the day, the buck stops with you. No one else will run your operation to your satisfaction and your aims.

Everybody else aboard is most an observer. Their place isn't to navigate or steer or avoid collisions (or the Bahamian police). They also have small patience if it turns out you lack either the will or the ability to run the boat. That is your one job. You're in charge. So be in charge, because trying to run this by committee will see you dismasted on a bad piece of unmarked rock while the sharks and local cannibals sort out who's going to eat you first.

Learn how the boat works. Learn how to make it do what you want. Then do it. Be gracious in the presence of well-meaning fools, be determined in your course, and accept that in the end the only one who can get it from Point A to Point B is you.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
I've been told that my writing and some of my ideas are too controversial for today's times, because of things like the Harvey Weinstein scandal, or the George Floyd incident, and that readers will not go for such stories nowadays that could have any material that can be compared to real life events like that.

Now, I don't meant to come off as insensitive to real life tragedies, and that is not my intention, but these are American tragedies, and I feel that there are several other audiences around the world, you could market too, rather than just America. But other people act like America is the only audience to market to, or at least the only one that matters in terms of success.

Is that true, that if America doesn't like it, no one else will get wind of it? I was just wondering anyones thoughts on that, since that has been the advice I was given, market wise. Thank you very much for any input or thoughts on it!
Money talks. The big money is in America. Practically every other country has its own media which needs feeding but the rewards are tiny in comparison. Any publisher and manager would go for the big bucks.

If you are interested in writing Tele-plays and film scripts then you have made a start. I'm not sure where you go from here. It is a highly specialized and very difficult area to break into. Now I am going to give you something to think about. Podcast.

Think radio play. You will probably need some help, a friend or a local amateur dramatic society. There are a gazzillion sound effect and freebee music score snippets out there that are copyright free. There is nothing stopping you from doing a full production and using that as a calling card. All you need is a decent microphone, Audacity and a modest computer.

There is no reason why you can't do a series and put them out commercially.

Just an idea.
Good luck
BC
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
Personally, I don't cater to any specific audience. I write what I write, and if some people like my stories, there will be some that do not. I honestly don't understand why a writer of any stripe would cater to any one group or country per se. I'm also not sure how that works, but I know that I don't do it.

-JJB
 
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