International talent? Oui. Bon.

10 Oct

Being a Canadian literary agent, most of my queries are from local writers. This makes sense. As a Toronto based writer, you are likely under the impression that garnering a Toronto based agent is the way to go. And it is. The lovely thing about working with local talent, is that I can actually have face-to-face contact with them. Our dialogue is not limited to static ridden Skype sessions, or epic emails. I enjoy working with Canadian authors. Especially when it means a getaway weekend to Montreal or Ottawa. When it comes to my authors, I do in fact, go the distance. With that being said, it is impossible to have a lucrative career as an agent when you are solely working with Canadian talent. This has nothing to do with the writers themselves, but rather the lack of publishing houses and editors. Submissions must be scarce, as there are only so many editors, and it is imperative that you space out your submissions accordingly. Otherwise, you are going to be barking up the same tree time and time again. Clearly, this is going to lead to strained relationships with the editors, and it is in my best interest as an agent to keep a healthy and happy working relationship with the local editors. So, the only solution is to build a client list that is comprised of international talent. I still plan to work with a few Canadian authors, but for the most part I am seeking writers from the US, and overseas. Do not get me wrong, this is not a slight against the editors themselves, but rather a means of building myself a viable role in the publishing world. A means of survival in the harsh world of agenting. As an agent to international talent, I know that it is possible to maintain a successful working relationship with these writers, even if it is from across the pond. I am heading to the UK next month, where I will be meeting with a few of my London based authors. It is important to me to have that personal contact with my clients. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I would go the distance.

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