Expat Lit: The Invisible Genre?

There was a time when I thought I was writing a travel memoir. But I’m not renovating a French farmhouse, I haven’t ridden a motorbike across Africa, and I didn’t Eat, Pray or Love anywhere.  I’m an expat. And being an expat – writing about it – is about being immersed in a deeper experience than travelling and then going home again.  And yet, one day I will go home. So when I began researching to pitch to agents and publishers, I realised I wasn’t writing travel narrative in the most traditional sense. Instead, I discovered my book belongs to the rather more niche genre of ‘expat literature’. The only issue being, according to the bookstores and Amazon, that there’s no such thing; no shelf, no category – nothing, except maybe a ‘Living and Working Abroad’ section full of ‘how to’ books nestled alongside the yawning expanse of travel literature. But if a genre can be defined, then surely it exists? I decided to talk to some expat authors and industry experts and answer the question: who reads expat lit, and how do expat authors and publishers market and sell their books?