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sfogle
06-09-2010, 08:51 PM
What's wrong with querying UK agents? What's with the vat rate? It seems these agents are willing to look at my work as much as US agents. Should I continue to query them?

Mr Flibble
06-10-2010, 12:10 AM
Who said there was anything wrong with it? There isn't.

And what has vat got to do with queries?

And yes.

Albannach
06-10-2010, 12:22 AM
I'm a bit confused what VAT has to do with it. And I also wonder who said there is anything wrong with querying UK agents. I regret that what I write wouldn't sell there because I'd prefer to work with them.

Fran
06-10-2010, 04:36 AM
What precisely are they charging VAT for? The only thing I can think of is fees of some description, and you shouldn't pay upfront fees to any agent anywhere.

bertrigby
06-10-2010, 11:50 AM
There's nothing wrong with querying UK agents if you're from overseas. However, bear in mind that some UK agents do not take clients from other English speaking countries - e.g. http://www.felicitybryan.com/contact.htm ('USA , Canada, Australia , New Zealand and India - For practical reasons we do not represent authors based in these countries'), just one example among many. Make sure you check submission guidelines carefully before sending your covering letter and pages.

shaldna
06-10-2010, 01:55 PM
There's nothing wrong with the VAT rate. It is a tax charged on the majority of goods and services but I fail to see how this applies to querying agents.

I appreciate that you are new here judging by your post count, but perhaps in future you should try to be a bit clearer in what exactly you are asking.

Theo81
06-12-2010, 02:48 PM
VAT stands for Value Added Tax and is charged on goods and services in the UK and across Europe. When you buy something in a shop, VAT has already been added to the price you see on the label, unlike in the US where (or so I understand), tax is added when you get to the till.

There is no VAT on books in the UK. The VAT paid on services pertains to things like Builders, Electricians and so forth. VAT has nothing whatsoever to do with the business of being a writer and of selling books and so you are therefore free to forget everything you have just learned about it.

I suspect you may be confusing VAT with income tax - the tax you are expected to pay on your earnings. As you have yet to earn anything it is a moot point, but under the tax treaties between the US and UK, I doubt you would pay UK income tax and would continue with your current tax regime as normal.

One further point - there is nothing wrong with querying UK agents. However; before you waste your time, and theirs, question whether or not your book is suitable for the UK market. If it is set in the US, has US characters, deals with US subjects and has US culteral references, they may not be interested.
If it is set in the UK, etc, ensure you have a full understanding of UK things - like VAT. Otherwise, we will come to your home and do Dick Van Dyck impressions at you until you understand the pain Hollywood's cultural dilution has caused us over the years.
All together now: 'It's a jolly 'oliday wi' you Mary Poppins!'

Swordswoman
06-12-2010, 11:41 PM
Welcome to AW, sfogle!

I think your question is both clear and pertinent. The VAT rate does indeed affect writers querying agents in the UK, unless they are already registered for VAT themselves - which a US writer is unlikely to be.

VAT is added to an agent's commission. If they charge 15% of a writer's advance and royalties, the amount deducted by a UK agent will actually be 15% plus VAT (ie a further 17.5% of their percentage). The amount is unlikely to be big, but it should still be taken into account by writers comparing the rates of different agents in the US and UK.

There are other factors, of course, as Theo has already pointed out. Viability in the UK market is a crucial one, but you also need to consider how much harder it is to get an agent here in the first place. The odds (http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/Numbers.asp) of landing a UK agent are around .1% - although if you do get one then your odds of getting published are anything up to 90%. I don't know the latest figures in the US (and would be grateful if anyone knows a good link to them), but I've been told there's a better chance of getting an agent there in the first place, though many agents then offer only a 50-60% chance of publication.

You will also, as bertrigby has pointed out, need to check submission guidelines, as not all UK agents will consider overseas clients. This is a small country, and many of the big agents insist on face-to-face meetings with clients before signing them, which is bound to militate against those outside the UK. I believe there are exceptions, but you'll probably have the best chance with smaller, newer agents who are happy to work via e-mail.

Good luck either way - and again, welcome to AW.

Louise

ETA: The figures on getting agents in the UK are based on those published by the SofA three years ago, and may of course have changed (for the worse!) in the recent climate. However, the site I've linked to has very strong current links with UK agents and would probably have updated their figures if there were any significant change.

sfogle
06-18-2010, 12:06 AM
Thanks, everybody, for the information.
I was quoted the rate for representation and they mentioned a VAT to be added so I was confused. It doesn't take as much to confuse or amuse me as it once did.
I have had some of the best results from UK agents but no takers yet. Still hopeful.

shaldna
06-18-2010, 12:21 PM
Thanks, everybody, for the information.
I was quoted the rate for representation and they mentioned a VAT to be added so I was confused. It doesn't take as much to confuse or amuse me as it once did.
I have had some of the best results from UK agents but no takers yet. Still hopeful.


By rate I assume you mean the percentage the agent earns after you get paid, and not an amount that you are paying upfront for representations.

sfogle
06-18-2010, 11:53 PM
Yes, this was part of the rates quoted me when I first emailed this agent. I suppose she was just getting everything up front and out of the way. Scary but efficient. Thank you for all your info and encouragement. I do need both. I never dreamed getting an agent would be this hard. I am a true babe in the woods here and I don't like that feeling of impending doom.

Mr Flibble
06-19-2010, 12:28 PM
You emailed an agent a query and they immediately sent you back their rates?


In your initial post you said you were just querying (hence why I wondered why you're worried about VAT as it won't matter until you've sold your book)

Have they offered to represent you? Have you checked them out in B&BC (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22)? Are they asking for money up front?

Not to be paranoid lol, but from what you've said here it sounds a bit odd. Unless you've missed out the whole asking for a full, wait six months, get offer etc. When first querying an agent, they do not generally send you back a list of their rates.

shaldna
06-21-2010, 12:19 PM
Yes, this was part of the rates quoted me when I first emailed this agent. I suppose she was just getting everything up front and out of the way. Scary but efficient. Thank you for all your info and encouragement. I do need both. I never dreamed getting an agent would be this hard. I am a true babe in the woods here and I don't like that feeling of impending doom.


Not efficient, scamming.

NEVER pay upfront for an agent. They get paid when YOU get paid. Not before. And they get paid a percentage, not a set fee or a retainer or anything else.

Any agent who asks you to pay upfront is not worth using. Steer clear would be my advice. There are plenty of good agents out there.

sfogle
06-24-2010, 12:35 AM
Thanks Shaldna,
I appreciate the information. I sent a query and the agent sent back pages of his requirements and his fees and I was overwhelmed. Most agents have been at least kind about turning me down. One asked if I had read science fiction at all and told me that my story had been done before. This was after my query letter only. Any advise you guys give me is really appreciated.

Mr Flibble
06-24-2010, 02:06 AM
I sent a query and the agent sent back pages of his requirements and his fees and I was overwhelmed.

This is..unusual, to say the least. They could be legit, but it's definitely different. Check if they are listed on preditors and editors (http://pred-ed.com/)and in AW's Bewares and background (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22) checks forum

Terie
06-24-2010, 12:40 PM
Thanks Shaldna,
I appreciate the information. I sent a query and the agent sent back pages of his requirements and his fees and I was overwhelmed. Most agents have been at least kind about turning me down. One asked if I had read science fiction at all and told me that my story had been done before. This was after my query letter only. Any advise you guys give me is really appreciated.

This really sounds like one of the scammers. Agents don't have 'fees', they have 'percentages', which are typically around 15% or 20% for domestic (to them) sales and 5% more for international (because they have to hire people in-country to handle some aspects of the transaction). See how I did that in one sentence? If he has pages, I'd put good British sterling on it being a scam agency.

shaldna
06-24-2010, 01:05 PM
just like IRU said, i would search for the agency in beware and background checks, there's a list at teh the top in a sticky.

it will give you a good idea.

out of curiosity, can you tell us who it was?

waylander
06-24-2010, 08:50 PM
PM me the name of this UK agent if you don't feel comfortable naming them in public. I know of most of the reputable UK agents who handle SF/F