Becoming an Author – Choosing your Language

For someone, the question doesn’t even apply. I mean, you are from England, from America, from Ireland… you grew up speaking native English, you’ll likely write in that too.

I envy – almost – all of you.

Common mortals like me and – let’s say – around 25% of the rest of the world, speak a language that is spoken by less than 150 million people. It’s still enough of an audience, of course, but other things matter.

I’ll tell you what I took into consideration when choosing the language I write in.

How do I choose which language to write in?

My native language is Italian. My English is actually mostly self-taught and, as such, it’ll never be that good. Never.

I speak other languages too, but when faced with the possibility to become an author, I had mainly two options:

  1. Italian
  2. English

And so, I gave a look to the pros and cons of the two.



  • It is my native language.
  • I know more words than I can even imagine and ever use (no, that’s a joke, there’s always time to learn new words even in your native language)
  • I can do most of the editing and proof-reading by myself, or with the help of close friends. I know friends who self-publish and do the entire process by themselves: the books have mistakes, yes, but they are still on a fairly good level of quality.


  • I write erotica. I actually wrote my first erotic story in Italian and I published it in some specialized forums. I got a good feedback but… looking around in the forums, I could clearly see that Italian people prefer porn over erotica. They want action, soon. They don’t give a fuck about the romance, character building and so on. That means I would write for a niche and the idea didn’t attract me too much.
  • Italian is a language spoken by 66 millions people in the world. 1/15th of the English speaking portion.



  • Almost a billion people speak it. A huge, incredible reader-base!
  • 2/3rds of that billion speak English as a second language, and that means my readers should not get too angry about the quality and simplicity of my English, right? 😉
  • Being it a simple statistical matter, or culture one, there are more people going to like erotica among a billion, than a couple of millions.


  • I need a native speaker to check everything more than once. It’s not only about grammar, it’s mostly about “how a native would say it” and it’s almost impossible to grasp completely, even if you get very, very good at English. Which I am not.
  • I need to extensively use a thesaurus, even to come up with the simplest synonyms sometimes. It’s boring and, moreover…
  • …it makes the writing process slower. I can write, in the good days, around 2500 words. I’m sure I could achieve a definitely better quality and quantity in my native language.

So, in the end, I chose English: I traded the difficulty of not using my language with the possibility to get to more readers. When I started to put my tales on Literotica, I realized I had done the right choice (I also realized my English needed to be extensively edited but, that’s something I can’t hide from).

Books by Language Per Year – Based on first 30 positions of Wikipedia’s:

The third “not so hidden” option

You a third option, anyway. You may write in your native language and then have the book translated but… that costs a lot, so it’s usually not what self-publishing authors go for.

Or you may publish in your native language and – if the feedback is good enough – invest the first money in the translation. But nothing can assure you that the book will receive a good feedback in the other language and it also depends a lot on the translator, at that point, especially for fiction books.

This is definitely not my way, for the time being.

The last, big “pro”

Rationality put aside, there is a last, big “Pro” that is, in the end, the most important reason I chose English, and that can be summed up as “imagination”.

If I read a text in Italian I get exactly what it’s written. If I write, I’m able to choose wisely the perfect word to convey the feeling, the description that hits the spot.

And yet this is, in some way, a limitation: when I read – and when I write – I want to use my imagination to interpret the sentences and – sometimes – even the single words.

That’s the whole point. I want to “feel” the language. And I realized I can do that better if I don’t write in my native language.

List of languages by total number of speakers - Wikipedia
List of languages by total number of speakers

About the author: Max

5 comments to “Becoming an Author – Choosing your Language”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.

  1. Rosetta Yorke - September 30, 2017 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Fascinating blog post, Max.
    I feel almost guilty at being a native English speaker! 🙂

  2. TheKnightWriter - October 26, 2017 at 1:22 pm Reply


    English is the natural language of choice for me likewise, when it comes to writing erotica. Some niches are really tiny and those within are in any case looking for erotica in their native language and English. It’s much harder and you are constantly pissed when you find a mistake, but that’s the way it is.
    One more thing, beautiful website!


    • Max - October 26, 2017 at 7:15 pm Reply

      Hi, thanks for the nice comment and the compliments! I feel you can relate to me 😉
      Continue writing and let me know when you finally publish something, at least on your website!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.