I am Scottish. I write in Scottish English, which uses grammar similar to Irish English. You WILL get backlash - A LOT OF IT - if you publish in America.
I was quite shocked by the American response to my books when the reprints started being sold in America. In Europe I never once had a complaint with the spelling, words, or grammar. Not once in 4 decades.
Then reprints show up in America, and BOOM, I get an onslaught of emails HUNDREDS of them, from Americans, screaming bitchy outrage over what they referred to as me "making fun of uneducated Southern Black men" and "appalachian mountain people".
I've never meet either "uneducated Southern Black men" or "appalachian mountain people" so I've no clue what either sounds or talks like, so I wouldn't know the first thing about writing either. My characters in my books are Scottish Gypsies like myself, so talk and write exactly the same way I do.
I meet some of my American fans at various book signings and one day this guy walked up to me and starts talking to me then said: "Ohmygawd! You really do talk like mountain folk! No wonder you write that way!"
I'm constantly getting emails from so-called "Irish" and "Scottish" Americans who'll say stuff like "It's yes not aye, and we don't say wee lil we say young. Stop stereotyping us!" Ah! Well, I is sorry, me wee lil self has done dair gone un offended yar American bahookies, ya might want to check if ya still got any Scots left in ya aforing ya come sticking ya jobee in me face, eh?
OMG! Dealing with editors! I had to make a 79 page list of words that ARE NOT spelled wrong. Along with a list of grammar rules that ARE correct. As well as write a Scots to American dictionary of 20,000 words. I have to print up copies of this and give it to every editor I use, because try finding an editor who can read, write, or speak Scots English! Argh!
Then I've got every American reader on the planet in my inbox going: "Why can't you release an edition translated into American?"
Because, the characters are NOT Americans, and they do not speak or act like Americans and if I translate their dialogue into American, it defeats the purpose of having Gypsy character portrayed ACCURATELY in a novel. How often do you see female Gypsies in books and them NOT be some stupid belly dancing, fortune telling slut assed bimbos? While the males are thieving con artists? Or they aren't even Humans, but some sort of magical race? Gah! Gypsy women dress very similar to Muslim women, fully veiled, there is no culture of dance or music in our culture because both things are seen as sinful and taboo, we are farmers of Shetland ponies and Cotswold sheep, not nomads, the only time we travel is when we are being hunted by anti-Semites, because Gypsies are a half-blood race of Persian Jews who were cast out of Israel, for their Jewish men taking Persian wives, and being chased out of your homes by Jew haters is fleeing for your life, not being a nomad, and the men have more in common with the Amish then anyone else. But do people know that? No! Why? Because most people only know our culture from the point of view of the media, and the media don't know shit about us Gypsies, and the average author can't be bothered to do any research about Gypsies before they slap us into a book. I'm one of the few Gypsy authors out there, and my novels are among the few to have Gypsies written accurately, right down to using their ACTUAL language in the books. Take away their native language and they are not portrayed accurately anymore, now are they? And THAT is why I absolutely REFUSE to Americanized my novels.
You see American readers crying for diversity in books, and then they get real live diversity, and they start screaming for it to be changed to meet whatever standards they think it should meet. That's exactly how the Native Americans lost their language and culture. Forced to conform to American whims.
Sorry for the seemingly off topic rant, but, it really gets on my nerves, when someone is made to feel they can not write their books in their native tongue.
>>Does anyone have any tips on how to overcome this? I don't want to change my characters voice, but I also don't want the novel to be intelligible. There's no colloquial words per se, but the sentence construction is colloquial and it may seem as though I have shitty grammar to an outsider.
I say don't. You have nothing to overcome. The world needs more diverse books, written with cultural flavour, written by the culture themselves. The world needs less white-washing and more ethnic diversity in it's books. Not enough Irish characters written accurately. We need more of it.
If someone thinks you have shitty grammar, well, that's a reflection of their own haughty arrogance, and not you. And if they've got their head stuffed far enough up their own ass to tell you that your grammar is shitty, well, again, it's a reflection on how narrow minded and bigoted they are and not a reflection on you.
You write your book your way and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Be true to you, be true to your characters. If people don't like it, well, tell them to write their own damned book. They write their books their way, you write your books your way, I write my books my way, and we end up with a world full of diverse books that reflect each of our individualities and that's as it should be.