Friday, April 25, 2014

Question: Azt akarom, hogy egy író

I wanted to be a writer all my life and I finally feel like I am on the right path to become one. However, I am a Hungarian living in Hungary and I do not want to publish my work here and I feel like there is a potential market for it in the US. I usually write in English and even though I speak the language fluently, there might be some grammatical mistakes, odd word usage or sentence structures in my writing.

(1) Do you think it would still be possible for me to publish my work in the US? Obviously, the editor would have to work more on it than on a regular MS.

(2) Also, would anyone take me seriously if they realize that the draft was written by a non-native speaker?

(3) Would it become a problem when it comes to promoting my book (if it gets published)
Let's take the questions in order:

(1) Sure.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves. You're assuming there's no interim step between you finishing the book and an editor getting her paws on it. In fact there are two interim steps.

        1A you find a good independent editor who speaks English as their first language and you hire that person to review your manuscript for words/phrases that might be problems.  The trick is to make sure you work with an editor who understands the difference between incorrect and style. 

       1B: You submit the novel to agents who, most likely, will have a thing or two to say about polishing up the manuscript before sending it to an editor.

(2)  Yes.

(3) No.



Stephen Kozeniewski said...

English was Joseph Conrad's THIRD language, which he learned in his twenties and never spoke without an accent. And part of the reason why he is still regarded as a master is that he brought distinctly Polish thinking and distinctly French turns of phrase into his writing. I'd love to read what a Hungarian writer has to say. I bet it won't be another HUNGER GAMES clone.

Andrea said...

Good luck! I also write in English as a non-native speaker (I'm Dutch and I live in Spain) and the only negativity I've encountered so far regarding my chances of being published came from other Dutch writers. Envy, perhaps?

DLM said...

I once had an Algerian French-speaker tell me I speak and write English like a European. As an American born-and-bred, and having lost the two languages I ever assayed (German, at which I was fairly fluent thirty years ago - and Spanish, in which I can't speak to great competency), I took that as a high compliment. He meant to say that I spoke in a highly accessible and understandable way, without sacrificing sophistication or even nuance.

Your command of this tongue is clearly adept, and I agree with Stephen Kozeniewski's comments. And best of luck!

Lanette said...

This doesn't answer the question, but I just wanted to say that the best book I've ever read was by a Hungarian author and translated into English: THE DOOR by Magda Szabo. Seriously, it's so good everyone should read it.