Is it harder for people from another country to get an US agent?

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Pinguicha

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I'm Portuguese, writing in English. As I queried around for my YA speculative, one particular agent mentioned that he found it odd that I was from Portugal because my English was nearly flawless. I never told him that I was Portuguese, so he found that out himself. When I told him I got rejected often, he also found it weird, because, as he said, my writing was good and my main character was great. Same for the main concept.

My point is... do you think it's harder to land an agent outside of your country (in Portugal, there's no such thing as a literary agent)? Am I getting tons of rejections from US agents because I'm not from there? Is it a handicap to be from a small country where English is not the first language?

I'm not saying I got so many rejections because I'm Portuguese. Perhaps it's my novel that's not anyone's cup of tea, but I was wandering... Could my nationality be impacting the agents' opinions?
 

Violeta

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Maybe.

I recently read something about this topic and someone (I think it was an agent) said that most of US agents got clients from all over the world. It doesn't really matter where you're from (as long as your book is good and picks up their interest, that is).

But, to be honest, there are still agents out there who would (and will) reject you just because you're not an US citizen. Well, it's their loss. :evil

So don't worry about it. If an agent loves your book, they will love you too no matter where you live.

Good luck with your queries!

Sincerely,
your closest neighbor. :tongue
 

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No, I don't think it's any harder. (It's still hard, though).

I think the only worry an agent might have would be your fluency in English; but after reading your writing the agent would discover that it isn't a problem. Most agents now use email for everything, so postage isn't the potential problem it used to be.
 

Pinguicha

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No, I don't think it's any harder. (It's still hard, though).

I think the only worry an agent might have would be your fluency in English; but after reading your writing the agent would discover that it isn't a problem. Most agents now use email for everything, so postage isn't the potential problem it used to be.

It is. And while most agents take e-mail, there's still a number of agents I can't query because they only take snail-mail and, well... Postage costs are high, but that's not the main problem. I can't send SASEs, as they're country-specific, so my hands are tied in that aspect.
 

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As Bluecloud said, it's very hard to get an agent regardless of country, but I've heard quite a few US agents state that they don't care where a writer is from. It doesn't seem to be an issue (and e-mail submissions make it very easy for international submitters to reach them :) thank god for the internet! I couldn't afford postage to the snail mail only agencies.).

Quite a few UK agencies will not accept international writers, but they state it clearly on their website submission guidelines when this is the case.
 

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Aw, that's too bad, Pinguicha. I remember sending out a lot of full manuscripts (from here in Canada) to the US, along with SASE, and it would cost about $40 for a round trip .I used to stock up on US stamps whenever I crossed the border.

Have you considered querying UK agents? You would still need the stamps but the cost would be less. Perhaps you could get stamps from a friend there--same thing for the US--and pay them back.
 

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Quite a few UK agencies will not accept international writers, but they state it clearly on their website submission guidelines when this is the case.

This is, unfortunately, true. As I was searching for agents, I saw some that would be a great fit and then I'd read their guidelines: "We don't represent authors from outside the UK." Ouch.
 

Pinguicha

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Aw, that's too bad, Pinguicha. I remember sending out a lot of full manuscripts (from here in Canada) to the US, along with SASE, and it would cost about $40 for a round trip .I used to stock up on US stamps whenever I crossed the border.

Have you considered querying UK agents? You would still need the stamps but the cost would be less. Perhaps you could get stamps from a friend there--same thing for the US--and pay them back.

God, $40 is a LOT. I don't know how your survived!

I've queried some UK agents and, if I don't get representation from any, I'll try those who only take snail-mail queries. I'll probably take up your suggestion and ask my friends over there to stamp my envelopes and get my correspondence. It's a great idea, actually!
 

Maxinquaye

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Yes, it can be. I've had... um... three agents that have said outright that they wouldn't consider me because of contract problems. How would a contract be enforced if an agent is in New York and the writer is in Europe? One of those agents were in the UK, so I think that may be an issue.

Edit - there are large differences, to begin with, in European and North American contract law. This has nothing to do with this issue, but it illustrates the often large differences: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2...nnot-stop-you-reselling-your-downloaded-games
 
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I know several non-U.S. authors with U.S. agents. In the world of e-mail and e-contracts, a lot of business can be handled at no cost at all, thought I think most contracts are still mailed (and, yes, that's a cost, but it's worth it for the actual contract, right? Not for a query, IMO).

I've never heard of an agent rejecting someone because they were in another country until now, but apparently it does happen.
 

Maxinquaye

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Aspects of US contracts can be illegal in the European Union. Like I tried to point out, aspects of EULAS are invalid in the EU for instance. So, if I as a European sign a contract with a US firm, parts of that contract could be void because they're not legal in the EU. I think that's a definite problem.

But you're right - I also know people that have agents in the US. So it's not a big problem, apparently. Just be aware that it can crop up.
 

padnar

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I'm Portuguese, writing in English. As I queried around for my YA speculative, one particular agent mentioned that he found it odd that I was from Portugal because my English was nearly flawless. I never told him that I was Portuguese, so he found that out himself. When I told him I got rejected often, he also found it weird, because, as he said, my writing was good and my main character was great. Same for the main concept.

My point is... do you think it's harder to land an agent outside of your country (in Portugal, there's no such thing as a literary agent)? Am I getting tons of rejections from US agents because I'm not from there? Is it a handicap to be from a small country where English is not the first language?

I'm not saying I got so many rejections because I'm Portuguese. Perhaps it's my novel that's not anyone's cup of tea, but I was wandering... Could my nationality be impacting the agents' opinions?
You are correct. I find most of the Indians who have achieved success live in US or UK.
 

waylander

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Three writers in my UK-based writing group have agents in the US so it is certainly possible. I would suggest that most of your rejections so far are down to your query letter rather than your geographic location.
 

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I have been accepted in the US for e-publishing three times and turned down the contracts due to unsatisfactory information. The fact that I am British and live in Europe seems to attract them! Every time I got an acceptance. Okay lucky me, but it seems too easy and I'm not a world class writer.

I do get the impression that sometimes it has an element of individual preference rather than we accept people from all over the world.

PP
 

bmadsen

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I've had a conversation with agent Jim McCarthy on exactly this subject. Jim (a very helpful and attentive agent--still rejected me BTW :)) told me that MOST agents don't really care about your nationality or where you are from, at least not in the querying part, because of the ease of contact through e-mails and e-contracts. It's a whole different ball game if you are from Portugal and you are writing about, say, Portugal (then they do care, a lot).

However, most agents requesting a snail-mail query will not respond to those internationally if they don't have a SASE. (I usually ask agents to reply through e-mails but they don't do so).


My thought is: Agents are looking for talent all around the world. And it it's good, someone will want it.
 

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What's not being mentioned in this thread, is that while US agents generally do not care where you live ,they may well care that the setting of your book will not interest enough US readers.
 

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These are very usefull informations since I have the same problem.
About the setting I usually deal with fantasy or generic settings that may actually be western or American, so I hope that part is covered.
The main problem will be my use of the English language, but I'm working on that.
What would happen if some agent find out that the story may be nice but there are some spelling-grammar-phrasing problems?
 

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Dodici -- a lot of spelling and grammar issues can make an agent put down your book, even if the concept is great. Others might ask that you revise and resubmit if they love the concept, but that's only if you're lucky.

It could be worth hiring a reputable freelance editor to do copyediting before you go on submission, to give your work the best chance.
 

gingerwoman

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These are very usefull informations since I have the same problem.
About the setting I usually deal with fantasy or generic settings that may actually be western or American, so I hope that part is covered.
The main problem will be my use of the English language, but I'm working on that.
What would happen if some agent find out that the story may be nice but there are some spelling-grammar-phrasing problems?
You should have said "This is very useful information." Not "these are very useful informations." There is no such word as "informations."
I think you may need to get a proof reader to look it at for you, to correct the English, but make sure you are not scammed.
 

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I'm an Indian author with a US agent and know others, so it's not unheard of. There are certainly agents who represent people from all over the world. It eventually comes down to (1) Is it a good book? (2) Can I sell it?

The "sell it" part is where the nationality plays a problem. If you're a non-US writer seeking a US-based agent, presumably you want to publish your book in the US market. Do you have an existing platform in that market? Are your blog readers from the US or from your own native country? How will you promote your book once it's published if you're not in the US?

Some agents will obviously love your book enough to work out those questions with you or at least ask. But many won't. The automatic non-US or non-UK rejection probably has less to do with you and more to do with their lack of experience (or success) selling international authors.

The solution: Build up your US credentials! Publish in US magazines, write a blog that appeals to American readers, prove to an agent that your reach is beyond your country.

Good luck!
 
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Galaxy

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You all write in English. I write in Serbian and because I don't speak English well I have to hire a translator. Do agents and publishers want to read translations or they avoid them? Also, I self-published my book in Serbia. Are agents and publishers in US are interested in such a book?
 

Theodor M.

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Hello,

I write corporate drama. Novels about corporate affairs as well as some private affairs of shareholders and employees of corporations in focus. I also try to keep in balance comic and action moments, to keep the reader attached.
Overall, I understand that people mostly ready fiction to relax, so I prefer to keep things simple, often going into detailed explanation more than once, in case the reader was distracted from it several chapters back.

I'm a Ukrainian national, living in Ukraine and writing in English (luckily, English-focused high school plus 4 years undergrad in Economics given in English and 1 year postgrad in Finance given in English allow to do that).

Thing is, that the world is somewhat divided on OECD countries vs. non-OECD countries. In two words OECD countries is a club of rich countries, which aim to make nationals of all other countries to have complications in cross-border interaction not only with their nationals, but also with everyone else, so they caim all the benefits.

I.e., I am barred for staring a project on a Kickstarter and so on (even Paypal is not working on a reception side in my country).
That is why I am determined to find either British or US agent, willing to work with a writer from outside of OECD. I would even agree for higher agent's commission, and maybe cut on some other privileges.

Can anyone offer any contacts of agents willing to work at such conditions?
P.M. me.
 

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Hello,

I write corporate drama. Novels about corporate affairs as well as some private affairs of shareholders and employees of corporations in focus. I also try to keep in balance comic and action moments, to keep the reader attached.
Overall, I understand that people mostly ready fiction to relax, so I prefer to keep things simple, often going into detailed explanation more than once, in case the reader was distracted from it several chapters back.

I'm a Ukrainian national, living in Ukraine and writing in English (luckily, English-focused high school plus 4 years undergrad in Economics given in English and 1 year postgrad in Finance given in English allow to do that).

Thing is, that the world is somewhat divided on OECD countries vs. non-OECD countries. In two words OECD countries is a club of rich countries, which aim to make nationals of all other countries to have complications in cross-border interaction not only with their nationals, but also with everyone else, so they caim all the benefits.

I am not very familiar with the work of the OECD, but I can't believe that's what it exists to promote. I might be being naive, but even so.

On the OECD's website it states,

The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. We measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. We analyse and compare data to predict future trends. We set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals.


We also look at issues that directly affect everyone’s daily life, like how much people pay in taxes and social security, and how much leisure time they can take. We compare how different countries’ school systems are readying their young people for modern life, and how different countries’ pension systems will look after their citizens in old age.



Drawing on facts and real-life experience, we recommend policies designed to improve the quality of people's lives. We work with business, through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC), and with labour, through the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC). We have active contacts as well with other civil society organisations. The common thread of our work is a shared commitment to market economies backed by democratic institutions and focused on the wellbeing of all citizens. Along the way, we also set out to make life harder for the terrorists, tax dodgers, crooked businessmen and others whose actions undermine a fair and open society.

Back to your post:

I.e., I am barred for staring a project on a Kickstarter and so on (even Paypal is not working on a reception side in my country).
That is why I am determined to find either British or US agent, willing to work with a writer from outside of OECD. I would even agree for higher agent's commission, and maybe cut on some other privileges.

Can anyone offer any contacts of agents willing to work at such conditions?
P.M. me.

I don't see how being unable to use Kickstarter should make you want to find an agent in the UK or the US: but I can assure you that if your writing is good enough, you won't have any problems finding an agent in either country who is keen to represent you. Note that the good agents work with standard terms and won't be willing to accept your offer of higher commissions, as that would be unethical. If you find an agent who accepts your suggestions, you almost certainly won't do well working with them.
 

The JoJo

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This is interesting, I had never considered sending submissions to agents outside my country. I have a question, though. My novel is naturally written using British spelling and conventions. If I was to submit my work to an American agent, would it be advisable to change it to US spellings and formatting first?
 

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