Thursday 16 May 2013

The complications of a writer's location & nationality (and how to overcome them).

As most of you know, I live in Greece.

"Ooh, aah, what a dream!" I hear you cry.

But is it?

No. Here are some of the problems I face.

1. No local writer's events to attend. If I wanted to go to a conference, or a book launch, or a workshop, I would have to fork out airfare and accommodation to visit the English speaking country it is held in.

2. I can't get any writer's grants. Okay, I'm Australian. But I don't live there, so I'm not eligible. I'm not eligible for any grants from the UK either, despite living in Europe, because I'm not a European citizen. I'm not eligible for a US grant because, well, I'm not either American OR a US resident.

3. I can't enter many book awards. For the same reasons, plus some, in point 2.

4. I can't publish on NOOK. They require a US bank account. (I don't like Smashwords, it has got to be the most complicated bookseller in this world. My opinion.)

5. I can't take advantage of all the literary candy that is in Australia either. Though I am a citizen, I am not a resident. And my books are self-published through the US, so my books can't even be considered "Australian Literature".

6. I am constantly coming up against problems with my royalty payments with Amazon. They only pay into bank accounts from certain countries. Greece is not one of them. I used to get checks. But that meant a shit load of fees on my end when cashing them. I'm lucky that I now have a UK bank account. Sometimes my royalties go in. Sometimes they don't. All my royalties from Amazon EU (i.e. UK, DE, etc) get paid direct into my account without any problems. But every time they try to pay me my royalties accrued from the US sales, I keep getting an email saying that my bank account information is incorrect. UGH. I keep complaining. They keep telling me they're looking into it, and I still keep getting emails saying my bank account info is wrong. It's impossible to be wrong if they are already paying some royalties into it. I'm owed more than three months worth of royalties. Why? I cry!!!

7. I can't market my book in a real public venue where I talk to real faces instead of virtual ones. I'm confined to the internet. It's tough. And isolating. And lonely.

There are more. I can't think of them right now. But my point is. My life as an Australian writer living in Greece is DIFFICULT.

I'm working really hard to do the best I can with the facilities I have. I create my own opportunities (Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop). I start community projects (Indiestructible, The Artist Unleashed). I guest post as much as possible on other people's blogs. I join awesome Indie Author Organizations (ALLi).

My point? Somehow, I still make it all work. I know this isn't going to get any easier. But I'm still motivated, and determined to never drop the ball. I NEED TO STAY VISIBLE.

No matter what your circumstance, you can succeed in one form or another. All you need is patience, stamina, passion and determination.

Have you got PSPD? If so, don't let any obstacle, big or small, set you back. Get out there, and make the most of what you HAVE. Because you can. We all can. If you want it.

Do you want it?

Then go get it!!!

Are you an expat writer? How do you cope with the limitations?


Don't forget to sign up to help promote INDIESTRUCTIBLE in September! 100% of the profits go to BuildOn, an amazing charity that aims to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.


If you could Tweet about the sign-up form it would be great!

You can just copy/paste this:
INDIESTRUCTIBLE—Help promote fab new #IndieAuthor book—All profits go 2 @buildOnEmpowers! Sign up here: #amwriting


  1. As you know, I live in Cyprus, and have had the same issues as you, Jessica. In June I return to the UK, and am looking forward to finding my way around the writing world over there. It will be so much easier! Keep up the good work, you are striving forward!

  2. If you ever decide you want to become a US citizen, just let me know, and we can get married.

  3. I live in overseas for my career, so I assume I'll run into most of these (except I do have a US bank account), if I can just get published...

  4. Matthew's comment made me chuckle.
    You not only make it work, you excel and do ten times as much as other authors. When you have to work for it, you achieve more.

  5. I knew a tiny piece of this, and am in awe of your tenacity. Give me virtual slap if I start whining about the stupid regulations in my city (they actually have a tax called "business privilege tax," as if the city is doing me a favor letting me bust my buns building up a business). At least I can publish and bank. And wrangle with the functionaries in person. I forget what a good thing that is. Better than an unknown entity at a mega-corporation.

  6. I understand and relate all the way Jessica. As you know, I also reside in Greece, but it's a little easier for me as I'm British. But we ARE restricted in that Greece doesn't have the book launches like other countries do. And I can't always hop on a plane back to the UK, it costs money!
    So, like you, I persevere with my online profile and blog...hoping and KNOWING in the end it'll pay off.
    It will do for you, too.

  7. Maybe if I come visit Greece we can have a writer conference of two people and then go get some Greek coffee. :)

  8. Writing in Canada isn't as difficult as living in the European countries, although the postage problem gives me a headache when I have to mail to the US. I'm an expat who became a citizen of Canada, but more writing opportunities are in the US.

    I don't let the little things stop me, but I would definitely be annoyed if I couldn't get the money owed to me. Yes, I do want to be published in some form, and am committed to the long haul.

  9. Wow, that is a lot of obstacles you've overcome. Kudos to you Jess.


  10. Hi Jess - I can imagine you have those challenges - a pain as you say, to put it mildly. You do do incredibly well at your writing and your promoting ... and I too loved Matthew's proposal!!!!

    Have a happier and easier time .. it has to get sorted out somewhere along the line ... with thoughts - Hilary

  11. I wouldn't have thought of payments as being difficult - what a pain! We don't seem to have too many conferences here in Montreal either, but I guess I can't complain, being driving distance from NYC. If only I knew how to drive! :-)

  12. Yeah, the location matters a lot in different things.
    For instance, I'm mexican. I live in Mexico and write in spanish. You know how hard it is to get published? And if you do… it has to be by a very known editorial because if not the people won't know about the book.
    Yeah, in Mexico city we have a lot of writing conferences and that stuff, but i can't always go there, it costs.
    There are a lot of pros in a lot of thing living in the US. That's why I want to study there.
    Anyway… it's hard and I understand you, you're doing amazing with publicity! Hope you keep with that spirit :3
    I tweeted the tweet (:

  13. Oh, man, that all sucks so bad. Are there any good things about living there, though, that outweigh all that? I think considering it all, you are doing a fabulous job. And here I've been complaining on my blog about TOO MANY writing things going on here where I live. Because there really are a ton that it's obnoxiously saturated. Still, better that and stuff to choose from than nothing at all. *HUGS*


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