re: Do Agents Ding International Queries?

in Promotion/Submissions by

Dear Editor…

How hesitant are agents to take on new writers from another country? Are international queries second choice when pitted against local ones?

Thank you,
Writer in a Faraway Land

Dear Writer in a Faraway Land…

I have good news, bad news, and then more good news. Good: Your location won’t stop a U.S. agent from reading your submission because if it’s a great book, they want you regardless of where you live. Bad: You have promotional handicaps. Many U.S. book awards require U.S. residency, and book awards can significantly extend the shelf life of a title—which matters to you and your publisher, so it factors into an agent’s final decision. Not just the high profile awards most of us know about, but the many smaller state awards that local teachers and librarians look to for their book lists. Also, you can’t be easily toured or sent to sign or speak at trade shows (such as Book Expo America) or conferences (like TLA or Comic-Con), which matters to a marketing department. Good: Location does matter but “great” trumps all. So, since you’re already striving for “great” with your craft, your plan of attack won’t change. Great is good, indeed.

Happy writing!
The Editor

8 Comments

  1. I have a friend who published while living in Germany so it is indeed possible. Alas, if I’m not able to write a great book (though I am trying) and have to settle for merely good+, maybe I need to move stateside! Increase my odds.

  2. Go for it, Faraway Land! I live in Egypt, my agent is in the US, my publisher is in Canada. The internet makes the world smaller – but in a good way. You may not be able to go to conferences, but there are many ways to build a platform online that will work for you. Good luck! 🙂

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