I am an Australian, first time author, intending to self publish. I have prepared the manuscript using the Australian English dictionary in MS Word. Many words are spelled differently in different countries. (Theatre/theater, colour/color etc) Also, as is the the convention in Australia and the UK, I have used single quotation marks at the beginning and end of dialogue, and double when citing a name, e.g. "The Pig and Whistle". This is the reverse of the American convention.

I want to market my book in all English speaking markets. Do I have to produce an American edition for the US market or can they be expected to cope with the UK/ Australian format in the same way that I have to cope with the US format whenever I buy an American novel?

1 Answer 1


G'Day Pat I used to work in dead tree publishing, you know with the paper and the ink and covers with UPC and ISBN (oh my!).

I'm assuming you will electronically publish this work.

UK/Australian style works in Commonwealth countries although there are subtle differences in idiom and style that makes an Aussie stand out from a Kiwi or South African. Stick with that if you intend to market the book predominantly in Commonwealth countries. Or if you intend to actually print the book and sell it at a table at conferences, speaking engagements and seminars.

If you are selling globally (especially if it's an ebook) I strongly urge you to prepare a US edition. Americans will notice and most will be unforgiving.

There is a reason for the differences between Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone (UK) and HP and the Sorcerer's Stone (USA). The changes were not just to the title.

It also depends on if your book is fiction or non-fiction. I see you've tagged the question with "Novel". Non-fiction is more forgiving. But again Americans find British spelling and idioms jarring and intrusive.

You don't need to launch with the USA edition ready. It actually gives you a second launch opportunity when you re-launch with the All NEW USA Edition

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond, Paul. Do you know if the formatting software that professional formatters use is capable of quickly converting single quotes to double? In MS Word it's a nightmare. I cannot get Find & Replace to work with the wildcards that are suggested by folk on-line and how to deal with apostrophes is doin' ma head in! Nov 28, 2017 at 1:45
  • @PatrickRoberts that's a question for another stackexchange site. Once upon a time I could do it, but i moved away from MS products about 12 years ago. Most publishers I know prefer authors to deliver in text or RTF format so they can run the text through their house style and publishing system
    – paulzag
    Nov 29, 2017 at 0:14

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