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Friday, September 18, 2009

Most Expat Stories Not Original Enough to Be Published Anymore

Moved abroad? Want to creatively cash in on your experience? Well, if you are thinking of turning your long, meandering blog posts on tango or mate into a book, think again; the "I'm Special Because I Moved Abroad and You Can Be Special Too If You Read This Book" genre is over-saturated. I interviewed Karen Rightwell, publisher at Bibliophile Publishing Group, Inc.

Rightwell: Travel writing has been popular as far back as the book of Exodus, but the world is extremely small these days. It takes a lot more than parting the red sea to have a compelling travel story. We knew that Buenos Aires had jumped the shark when Matt Lauer highlighted it as a destination on the Today show. We are swamped with query letters from South America and Thailand, especially.

So what is Bibliophile looking for?

Rightwell: Everyone's experience is unique, of course, but people want to read something extreme. Someone who has started his own nation-state, for example, or perhaps a family who has spent the last decade living in a submarine. Those would have real market potential.

Can you offer any tips to those that have an idea?

Rightwell: If you think you have a book idea that will sell, make it stand out from the others. You can write your query letter in all capital letters, or write it as a conversation between Hello Kitty and My Melody. Taking out all punctuation makes us have to slow down, so we spend more time considering the idea.

If you have the next great expat book idea, you can email query letters to

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