It’s that big place just over the rim from Cornwall and it is full of strange beings called Americans. I like them. I have to, my father-in-law came from Brooklyn and I’ve worked with them most of my life.
But. And it’s a big BUT, they are under the illusion that they speak English. They don’t. They speak American.
American is similar to English, but they spell a lot of words differently from us. And they say that as Webster’s Dictionary came out before the OED to promote a standardized spelling, they have the right of it. And there are more of them than there are of us.
The last sentence is the real key. There are a lot of them and they buy a lot of books, but they want them in American. In the same way Americans are baffled by the accents in Corrie or East Enders – instead of being baffled by the plots and why a street in Manchester has more murders than Manhattan – they are also baffled by our spelling.
I’m not sure why an American would have a nose bleed by reading the word ‘standardised’ but they do, whereas when I sneaked in the American spelling two paragraphs back you either didn’t notice or passed by with nothing more than minor irritation.
Therefore, if you are intending selling books through Amazon.com then you will need to change to the American spelling. It’s easy enough, the spell-checker can be switched to English (US) after a little fiddling.
But it’s never that simple, is it. There are a few words that need totally revamped. For example, they and we both have the word ‘curb’. But they don’t have ‘kerb’. There are others and I’ve been looking for a American-English dictionary without any success, so it will mean a careful read through to see if you can spot any words that could go wrong.
One last point. Do not use the word ‘aluminium’ under any circumstances. Many years ago I was visiting my then girlfriend in LA and talking to her father, an engineer, I used the word aluminium. He knew what I meant. Mom, on the other hand, had not heard this before and thought she’d give it a go. It turned out that she could not, physically, say the word. This, she decided, proved that I really was the Devil incarnate and speaking in tongues and therefore I was not fit for her daughter.
As things turned out, maybe using ‘aluminium’ is a good idea.