international submission

Do Agents Ding International Queries?


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