Can a foreign author make it to the new York times best sellers ?

I am a famous writer in my country, I've been always dreaming about a succesful writing career in the U.S , I can describe my english as excellent despite living in a non-english country, and I write fantasy novels that people usually regard as "delicious" . what are my chances in each of the traditional and self-publishing routes?E-books? How does the publishing field deal with foreigners. All brief information given regarding this matter will be greatly appreciated

13 Answers

  • Speed
    Lv 7
    4 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I rarely disagree with Steven Pemberton (it's pretty shocking!), but if you want to be on the New York Times' bestseller list, you have to be trade published rather than self-published. That means a Big Five US (or major UK) publisher (or both) and a literary agent, because the Times list counts sales in brick-and-mortar stores.

    Publishers at that level invest a lot in edits and production values, as well as distribution and marketing. Your sales are likely to be magnitudes higher than self-published works, i.e., hundreds of thousands rather than tens, or tens rather than single digit thousands.

    Of course, you have to write a book that US readers are going to enjoy, and its English has to be not only fluent but natural when it comes from American characters or narrator. (For the record, while I understood your question here fully, its English wasn't natural and contained minor errors.) Your books do not have to be set in the US or feature American characters, of course.

    Agents and publishers are open to great books without regard to the country the author calls home.

    • Steven J Pemberton
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      I didn't say self-published authors can appear on the NYT list, though I could've worded my answer more clearly. I agree that the questioner's English, while good for a non-native, is not up to publication standard.

  • 3 months ago

    A quick glance at your previous questions shows that none of what you've told us is remotely likely to be true.

    Be a writer, if that's what you want. But it's very hard to believe you're a medical student, a 'famous writer' in your own country, and only 21.

  • SRB101
    Lv 5
    3 months ago

    Well, for what it's worth, J.K. Rowling is a foreigner and Harry Potter has been on the list for 534 weeks. That surely counts as a "yes". That said, you must remember that their version of a "bestseller" is built on the data they get from their News Surveys Dept., not their Book Department, and they only count U.S. sales.

  • 4 months ago

    yea i suppose so

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  • 4 months ago

    Salman Rushdie did. So did JK Rowling.

  • Tina
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    Do you know I cannot imagine *any* writer announcing "I am a famous writer in my country" - or asking about self publication and the NY best seller list.

  • 4 months ago

    Murakami Haruki has done pretty well.

  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    Your English is not very good and looking at your previous questions, this is just nonsense.

  • Sharon
    Lv 6
    4 months ago

    As examples of a foreigner who made the NYTimes best seller list, there are Rowling & Nabokov. Plenty of others. Self published, though, hardly ever gets near the list, native USA or foreign. Definitely need an agent as hardly any USA publishers will even look at a book without an agent

  • 4 months ago

    The short answer is yes, a foreign author can appear on the NYT Bestseller List, but it's difficult, and I'm not sure why anyone would want to bother if that was their only goal.

    If you want a career as a writer, statistically speaking you're better off self-publishing. You have to do all the work yourself or pay freelancers to do it for you, but you keep much more of the revenue, and you retain control over the book's rights and the direction of your career. You don't have to worry about the publisher dropping you because your last book didn't sell, or refusing to publish your new book because it's too different from what they think your readers expect from you.

    The NYT Bestseller List is a list of (some of) the bestselling books that week in (some of) the bookshops in the USA. I'm fairly sure that their list of bookshops excludes So if you want to appear on the NYT list, you'd better plan on having your book on sale in American bricks-and-mortar bookshops. That means having it published by a big American publisher, and having the publisher give you a big advance. (The book won't get onto the NYT list without a lot of marketing. These days, publishers don't do much marketing for you unless they've given you a big advance. A big advance means they stand to lose a lot of money if the book doesn't sell. If they give you a small advance, they don't care if they lose that money, so it's up to you to do most of the marketing.)

    To get your book published by a big American publisher, you'll probably need to have an American agent. In theory, all American agents accept books by foreign writers, but many of them won't be interested unless your book is something that would appeal to American readers and you've sold a lot of copies in your own country.

    • Lv 4
      4 months agoReport

      interesting answer; also, its rather unusual for Any author to have their work on the NYT Bestsellers List..

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