publishing-abroadOur thanks to book publicist Claire McKinney of Claire McKinney Public Relations for this post!

Feel like you can’t get arrested in the U.S. when it comes to publishing your literary novel? Fewer publishers, especially the major ones, are accepting new fiction from unknown authors.  The financial returns just aren’t good enough for the bottom line.

If you are willing to keep an open mind and you have already decided self-publishing isn’t for you, it’s time to get creative and consider publishing abroad.

This is what one of our clients did several years ago with a collection of short stories.  The story of how he didn’t get published in the U.S. is textbook.  First of all he is a critic for books, movies, and music, and as such is known by a lot of people in the entertainment industry (publishers too). He has an agent who did all the right things, and the rejection letters sang the praises of the author and the book. But that’s just it–it was a pile of rejections, thanks but no thanks.

britishflagThrough a long-time friend and with his agent’s blessing, our client was published by an independent U.K. press.  Promoting the book under these circumstances was a challenge, but I’m not so sure that it would have been so much easier if a domestic publisher had taken the book.

There are a few things to note regarding the process in this situation.  The main one: there were very few differences in this publishing model from any indie book project. The book was available print-on-demand through the major online retailers and Ingram and it was set up as an ebook on Amazon,, and Kobo.  I’m sure in the U.K. all of the standard outlets had it as well, but for our purposes here I am focusing on the U.S. sales channels.

Since this publisher is a known entity, albeit a small one, we were able to get a couple of trade reviews without paying a self-published book fee.  Both Shelf Awareness and Publishers Weekly have covered the author’s book from this publisher.

Also, because the book is very literary, we looked to the outlets we know pay attention to the genre and don’t pay particular attention to how big the house is that produces the book.  Foreword Reviews in particular covered the novel very favorably and in fact singled it out as a staff pick for one of the best novels of 2015!  There was also a feature in a local NY paper on the author, notable online coverage like Lambda Literary, and blogs.

As it turned out, the novel and author made out pretty well in the field of literary fiction.  One thing that is always important to consider is that this particular genre is not a huge money-making proposition, which is why it is not attractive for many publishing houses. For the authors, it is about climbing and achieving little goals in search of name recognition, building a dedicated readership, and selling books.  It takes time and demands that you write, write, write, as well as devote your own resources to the process.

But this is yet another example of how authors are forging ahead with their dreams to write and publish–this time, publishing abroad to find a literary audience–and finding more ways to get around the traditional industry to get the job done.

claire mckinney pr When is the Right Time to Hire a Book Publicist?Claire McKinney PR, LLC specializes in campaigns for books, authors, educational programs, websites, art, film, and other intellectual properties. They work carefully with clients to create messaging; branding concepts; and marketing and media strategies that integrate both traditional and new media opportunities.

See more of WWW’s contributors HERE.

7 thoughts on “Is Publishing Abroad the Solution to Rejection in the U.S.?

  • February 24, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Great article. I published two books with Gower Publishing in the UK. It was a great experience. Taxes are a concern, but the IRS actually made the process simple. Do not forget to contact the IRS and ( ) to ensure you aren’t paying double taxes.

  • February 23, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Like literary fiction, it can be difficult to find a good, not-self-published home for Christian children’s fiction, especially a story that features talking animals! After years of promising leads and “great” rejection letters, I also turned to the land of Peter Rabbit and Narnian beavers and found the perfect home for my first children’s novel, Sophie’s Quest.

    My publisher found a brilliant British artist for the cover, and I’ve been thrilled in nearly every way with the result (see it at .

    The downside for me has been that I couldn’t get books in to a Barnes and Noble event due to it being coded “printed only in Great Britain,” as well as the fact that it’s print-on-demand and non-returnable. It’s actually quite easy to get States-side through Ingram, but Barnes and Noble was completely flummoxed by the whole thing. Even telling them that my local independent bookstore has had no trouble acquiring and SELLING 75 books in the past few months didn’t help!

    Another downside is that my royalty check is in British pounds, and we’re still trying to figure out how to get it cashed without spending a healthy percentage of it in fees of one kind or another.

    A big PLUS is that the publisher is taking the book to the London Book Fair, so I’d love to meet other British-published Americans who might happen to be there!

    • February 23, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing this intel, Sanja. I wonder if the publishing co. can’t do direct deposit or pay you via Paypal where conversion can be done? Also, the B&N issue is more often one of them not liking the returns deal. If you load your book up to IngramSpark on this side of the pond, you can have it available on their systems and offer returns… That might help?

  • February 23, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Very interesting to read. With the interconnectedness of this digital world, avenues like this are now possible. So many changes in the publishing world. Nice to see.

    • February 23, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks, Carrie! Too true and always something new and fun to talk about!

  • February 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Claire,

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m not having a lot of luck pushing my debut novel, THE GUITARIST, here in the US and have been thinking more and more about self- publishing. Decisiveness is not one of my strong points. But since this novel, as well as two subsequent commercial novels are set in England I’ve thought seriously about looking to the UK for possibilities. Thanks again for letting me know this sort of thing is done!

    • February 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Go get ’em, Mary – And thanks for weighing in! WWWW also has a few clients who’ve done well publishing in U.K. 🙂

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