- Books, Literature, and Writing
Are British Writers at a Disadvantage, When Writing on Hubpages and other content sites?
British Writers do have Advantages
Writers from the United Kingdom often feel that they are under a disadvantage, when writing on Internet content sites. Whilst this may be true to a degree, there are ways that UK writers can both circumvent this disadvantage and turn it into an advantage. UK writers worry that their language and the topics they write about can be a disadvantage in attracting readers.
Some writers believe that their British English, language, grammar, and syntax will flummox American readers. This is untrue. Just as British people read and make sense of American books, American readers can and do make sense of British English. British writers may try to write American English to try to “fit in”. Using American words does not make your article more readable to Americans. British English grammar, syntax and punctuation are different from that in American English. Since British writers learned their grammar, punctuation, and syntax in the British education system, they cannot ever write true American English. By using American words, all that a British writer ever achieves is a muddle, neither one thing nor another. It is far better to use the English language that you know and clearly signal that you are a British writer. The only exception to this rule, is where Americans have a different name for something, for example, what we call an aubergine they call an eggplant, or where Americans have a different measure, for example, temperatures, you can find conversions easily on the Internet. These little things make your article accessible to most English speakers.
British writers worry that writing about United Kingdom specific topics may deter readers and this to a small extent is a real concern. However, sometimes an article from a British standpoint is interesting to readers from every country. Some writers advise against writing about UK politics, but providing you choose your topic and standpoint carefully, what happens politically in the United Kingdom affects countries all round the world. In addition, what is happening in Britain has parallels in other countries; the recent Levesen Enquiry into press standards is a case in point. Writers may believe that UK laws would not be interesting to readers outside the country. Scotland’s law has a similar basis to that in European countries, English and Welsh Law does not. English speaking countries, including the United States, based their law on English law. Therefore, depending on the topic you choose, even an article on English law can interest readers outside the UK, for example, the recent legal debate, controversy, and cases on libel, privacy, and social networking sites is current in both England and America.
Perceived Disadvantages can be disguised Advantages
Some topics are universally interesting, whatever country you happen to live in. Think about the things that affect everyone, whatever their nationality. You can find a niche that interests readers, whatever their country. Remember, that the Internet has allowed people to communicate across oceans and continents. It has rejuvenated many interests allowing people to exchange information and inspire one another. For example, the Internet changed needle arts and crafts completely. Where once each country’s knitters were distinct and separate, the Internet enables knitters to communicate across the world, swapping information and techniques, buying needles and yarns on line, influencing one another and changing each other’s approach to knitting. An article on some aspect of knitting therefore, will appeal to readers worldwide.
Some writers believe that Google does not send traffic to British articles because most searchers are American. However, this British writer gets most of her traffic, on Hubpages and elsewhere, by far from Google.com, using the above tips. In addition, although most searchers now are American, it does not follow that this will always be so. India’s economy, computer literacy and computer use is growing fast and India reads British English.
British writers suffer some disadvantages when writing on content sites, however, some disadvantages are not as great as is often supposed, and British writers can turn other perceived disadvantages into advantages. Writers need to understand their audience and slant their writing to suit that audience. However, they do not need to change their writing completely for it to appeal to that audience. Think about your readers and what their interest might be and you will know which topics have widespread appeal. Think about people’s similarities rather than their differences, in other words, your readers, wherever they live, and you have common problems, interests and lives think about what unites you with them instead of what divides you from them and you will know how best to inform, educate, and entertain readers.