Sunday, June 13, 2010
Can I Get A Scandinavian Here?
For what, ten years (More than that if you want to start with Smilla's Sense of Snow) now
Scandinavian Crime Fiction was been hip, hot and selling like it's free, correct? It's so popular that if I were a mystery writer I'd change my name to Astrid before sending my manuscript to a publisher. It could only help. So where is all the other Scandinavian fiction? If people in the U.S. are devouring Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbro and others why aren't publishers racing to sell us general fiction from Scandinavian writers? I don't think that I'm going out on a limb by assuming that people in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark read more than just mysteries and that some of those novels are bestsellers and/or critically acclaimed. So why not tap into that?
How many Young Adult novels have a mystery at their core? I would say from what I see 50% is a fair estimation. Why not try some Scandinavian YA? Whatever is appealing about those mysteries to parents, who are doing the purchasing, could also resonate with their children. There will be cultural differences but no more than in your average fantasy novels geared toward readers ages ten to fourteen.
Maybe there are translation issues that I am not aware of. Could be. However weigh that against acquiring a finished product with a proven track record in it's own country. Wouldn't that be a smaller risk than an untried manuscript that lands on a publisher's desk? Especially since an audience, who are not all mystery readers only, are already reading books set in Scandinavian counties?
Happier if I were reading more Scandinavian novels.