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Cosy_Mimi
03-19-2014, 02:27 PM
I just wondered if there was a general etiquette for querying agents in relation to the writers location.

What I mean is, I'm based in the UK and although there are many great agencies here, there's a couple of dream agencies which I would love to query for my first book, who happen to be based in the US. Would this be bad form to query over both continents, and should I stick to the UK initially?

Any advice would be well received!
Cheers

waylander
03-19-2014, 03:02 PM
I know plenty of UK writers with US agents.
The only consideration is whether the manuscript you are offering them is a good fit for the US market.
Otherwise query away (being aware that the US version of a query letter is completely different from the UK version)

Victor Clairmont
03-19-2014, 07:10 PM
Yup, as the above poster says you are free to query. Just read up on their website's submission policy and go for it. There are UK agencies with American authors and vice versa.

EMaree
03-19-2014, 07:40 PM
Yeap, Waylander got it in one. Just brush up on the formatting differences and then query away!

HoldinHolden
03-19-2014, 07:49 PM
I'm glad to have found this thread! I accidentally (I know. Pay better attention. ugh) queried a UK agent yesterday, and I'm in the US. We've already written back and forth a few times and the agent seems very interested (thus far)- even though apparently my format was off since I sent her the one I send to US agents.

John Chambers
03-19-2014, 09:20 PM
In this day and age, with the increasing globalisation and interconnectivity of the world, the idea you can only query your own countries agents is silly. I would hope that when i put a book out there that i can apply to every and all publishing houses regardless of my nationality/location.

alexaherself
03-19-2014, 10:17 PM
I live in the UK. If I were querying a US agent, I'd certainly want to say something specific about why I'm querying them which makes it really clear that it isn't because no UK agent will touch my manuscript (which, from what I've seen some of them saying here and elsewhere about receiving submissions from the UK, is what I'd expect many of them to assume - rightly or wrongly - otherwise).

Old Hack
03-19-2014, 10:30 PM
I just wondered if there was a general etiquette for querying agents in relation to the writers location.

What I mean is, I'm based in the UK and although there are many great agencies here, there's a couple of dream agencies which I would love to query for my first book, who happen to be based in the US. Would this be bad form to query over both continents, and should I stick to the UK initially?

Any advice would be well received!
Cheers

If your book has the potential to sell well in the US you have a very good reason to find a US agent instead of a UK one: your agent will almost certainly charge a commission of 15% on home sales, and 20% on foreign sales: which means if your agent is based in the UK you'll pay the lower rate on sales in the UK and the higher rate on US sales; but if you have a US agent, you'll pay your agent the lower rate on your US sales instead. This could be hugely beneficial to you, as the US is so much larger as a market.

There could be downsides to it too, of course: if you're based in the UK it's going to be much harder to meet up with your agent, for example. But plenty of writers find ways around these problems without too much trouble.


In this day and age, with the increasing globalisation and interconnectivity of the world, the idea you can only query your own countries agents is silly. I would hope that when i put a book out there that i can apply to every and all publishing houses regardless of my nationality/location.

John, you're new to AW so you probably haven't got the feel of the place yet: but one thing we insist on here is respect and courteousness. And part of that means not calling other people here, or their ideas, "silly".

You might like to read the Newbie Guide.

Cosy_Mimi
03-19-2014, 11:10 PM
Thanks everyone - very helpful.

Can I add, I'm perfectly aware I can query or go with any agent regardless of country. It was more the expectation and etiquette of the process I wanted some insight into, along the lines alexaherself mentioned - that I would perhaps need to state a specific reason for querying out with the UK.

Cosy_Mimi
03-19-2014, 11:12 PM
If your book has the potential to sell well in the US you have a very good reason to find a US agent instead of a UK one: your agent will almost certainly charge a commission of 15% on home sales, and 20% on foreign sales: which means if your agent is based in the UK you'll pay the lower rate on sales in the UK and the higher rate on US sales; but if you have a US agent, you'll pay your agent the lower rate on your US sales instead. This could be hugely beneficial to you, as the US is so much larger as a market.

There could be downsides to it too, of course: if you're based in the UK it's going to be much harder to meet up with your agent, for example. But plenty of writers find ways around these problems without too much trouble.



J.

thanks so much - very useful information.

EMaree
03-20-2014, 01:05 PM
I live in the UK. If I were querying a US agent, I'd certainly want to say something specific about why I'm querying them which makes it really clear that it isn't because no UK agent will touch my manuscript (which, from what I've seen some of them saying here and elsewhere about receiving submissions from the UK, is what I'd expect many of them to assume - rightly or wrongly - otherwise).


Hm, I've never heard of this before.

It seems quite an assumption for any agent to make... I mean, some of the reasons I query more US agents than UK are because a) there's simply more of them, b) more US agents rep YA and c) they're (generally) more active on Twitter so I'm more aware of them.

I do make decisions based on the feel I get from an agent's social media, so if I query a US agent it's a often sign that I like their online personality. Also, as Old Hack mentioned, it's a much wider market in the US.

If I saw an agent being that judgmental about UK queries, I'd probably avoid them.

alexaherself
03-20-2014, 09:39 PM
Hm, I've never heard of this before.

It seems quite an assumption for any agent to make.

The US agents I've seen commenting on this (in the context of receiving queries from the UK) didn't say they "assumed" it, as I remember. I think they've all said that "it obviously raises the possibility ..." or words to that effect. (And I might wonder about that, too, in their position.)


If I saw an agent being that judgmental about UK queries, I'd probably avoid them.

I saw nothing judgmental, myself.

If I were querying a US agent, without wording it so expressly, I'd certainly want to say something about why I'm querying them which makes it really clear that that isn't the reason. :)

EMaree
03-20-2014, 10:03 PM
The US agents I've seen commenting on this (in the context of receiving queries from the UK) didn't say they "assumed" it, as I remember. I think they've all said that "it obviously raises the possibility ..." or words to that effect. (And I might wonder about that, too, in their position.)

I saw nothing judgmental, myself.

Ah, maybe I'm just reading the tone wrong then. It's always hard to convey tone when paraphrasing.


If I were querying a US agent, without wording it so expressly, I'd certainly want to say something about why I'm querying them which makes it really clear that that isn't the reason. :)

True! I'd hope the usual personalisations should indicate clearly that an author is querying out of genuine respect for and interest in that agent, but it's a good reminder to always personalise queries.

If anyone's sending off queries that state "I'm querying you because I ran out of UK agents" then I weep for the world. (But I bet someone is. There's always one...)

Putputt
03-21-2014, 01:08 PM
If anyone's sending off queries that state "I'm querying you because I ran out of UK agents" then I weep for the world. (But I bet someone is. There's always one...)

:roll:

One of my dear, dear cousins, when applying to colleges in the US, came across the question: "Why are you applying to University of Michigan?" He wrote: "Because University of Chicago rejected me."

Surprise, surprise, U of M rejected him too. :D

OP - I didn't think to explain why I was querying US/UK agents (I'm from the US but live in the UK now), and as far as I know, it wasn't an issue. I think it's more valuable to say something along the lines of "I'm querying you because I follow your blog and [something specific from their blog]."

But I could be way off the mark here!

onesecondglance
03-21-2014, 01:57 PM
I've told this anecdote before, but it seems relevant again here... there was a seminar at UCL attended by various people in the publishing industry including UK agent Luigi Bonomi, and the question of a US person querying a UK agent came up. His response was that, if you didn't live in the UK, he would assume you couldn't find an agent in your home country and would look negatively upon your submission.

That's just one agent, though.

HoldinHolden
03-21-2014, 08:17 PM
The UK agent I queried DID ask me how many people I had sent out my query to. Perhaps she was wondering if I'd dug to the bottom of the US barrel and started branching out. I told her the truth- she was in my first day of querying with a revision. Sure hope she didn't take that as "no one else wanted me!"- I am certainly not even close to running out of US agents to query!

Cosy_Mimi
03-21-2014, 09:28 PM
I've told this anecdote before, but it seems relevant again here... there was a seminar at UCL attended by various people in the publishing industry including UK agent Luigi Bonomi, and the question of a US person querying a UK agent came up. His response was that, if you didn't live in the UK, he would assume you couldn't find an agent in your home country and would look negatively upon your submission.

That's just one agent, though.

thats interesting although I can see the difference when its vice vera (US querying UK) as the US is a much larger country so I'd imagine its a lot less common for americans to query in the UK. Maybe I'm wrong.

Thanks for all the feedback.