There’s a nasty rumor / rumour out there.
It seems that when most authors imagine their perfect literary agent, they picture some New Yorker in a power suit or fashionable pencil skirt. They’re probably sitting in a swanky publisher’s office showing off your crisp manuscript over their $10 cups of coffee. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but there are definitely stereotypes still floating around out there on the internet, and I’d like to dispel them with the help of literary agent Carly Watters.
Welcome to the 21st century! Where we have telephones and internet, and there are these big vehicles that fly through the air and take us to far away places in a matter of hours. Literary agents today have much more flexibility when it comes to doing business in the publishing industry. They do not need to live in New York!
So, is it due to the preconceived notion of a fantasy agent that so many Canadian authors seek representation in the US? What do our agent friends to the south have that Canadian agents don’t? Not much. There are many resources available to any agent. And it seems that us Canadian writers are missing out, because many American writers have already caught on.
“90% of the fiction writers I represent are American and 95% of the unsolicited queries I get are American. I have done deals with both major US and Canadian publishers. US writers clearly aren’t afraid to query north of the border so I recommend Canadian writers not shying away either. P.S. Literary considers North America our home market and conducts business as such.
The optimal skill set of agents is the same, no matter where they are located: good network, talent spotting, negotiation experience, industry knowledge, project management experience, and great communication skills.
In today’s publishing landscape agents work via email and phone most of the time so being in the same city as editors is not a prerequisite for the job. I travel to New York and many US conferences to meet editors so I understand their editorial interests and strengthen my network.
The bottom line: find an agent that can champion your work, that believes in your career, and has success making deals in your genre no matter whether the agent is from New York, London, Toronto or anywhere in between.”
Well said, Carly. Thank you for sharing with us today. So whether you’re an American writer or a Canadian, it’s pretty clear that by limiting your queries by zip-code or country, you are limiting your own career potential. Make sure you don’t miss out, eh?
Still need more convincing? Check out more of what Carly Watters has to say on the topic in her article, ‘Should American Writers Submit to Canadian Agents?’