Tuesday, October 09, 2018

So, I went for F and got R

I'm an American living in London. After months of reworking my query, I've finally gotten it to a place I'm happy with. In order to get some feedback before actually querying my novel, I shared my query on the forum of a UK literary magazine during an "Agent Extravaganza." I was not expecting to get a partial manuscript request, which is what happened. (!) I'm not sure what to do now. The request is from a UK agent, but I'm hoping for a US agent.

1) Do I still send along the partial manuscript? I don't want to waste the agent's time, but I also don't want to look like a doofus. 2) Should I be giving UK agents equal weight to their US counterparts? I assumed since I write in American English, my stories are set in the US, and the US is a bigger market, I should look for US agents. Is there anything I'm not considering?

So, you posted something during an Agent Extravaganza expecting feedback?

Was that the purpose of the event?
My guess is that it wasn't since offering feedback isn't what we do. Requesting stuff is what we do!

And now you've got a request. The irony!
(at least you know you've got something interesting!)

I know several American-based writers, who write American settings, who are repped by UK agents.

It's no surprise to you that I think a US-based agent is a better bet. I'm not objective about that.

As to what to do, you have two choices:

1. Write to the agent who requested the partial and say you are seeking a US based agent because the books are US based.

2. Send the partial

What you didn't mention is if you've done any research at all on the requesting agent. I've heard tales of less than stellar agents using these kind of events to hunt for writers. Never send any work to an agent or agency if you can tell  upfront that you wouldn't sign with them. (Sometimes you discover that later, of course.)

You'd be wise to talk to authors who have UK based agents and publish in the American market if you can. They'll have a better take on this than I will.


Mister Furkles said...

Seems like the only issue is whether this is a good agent. I read UK English novels and US English novels. So, popular novels published in the UK are also sold in the US. I'm guessing the same applies to popular novels published in the US are also sold in the UK.

I'd guess a good agent would know both markets.

Craig F said...

Congrats on the partial. A partial, though, is not quite on the bus to an offer of rep. Get that query out there and when you get an offer be ready.

We live in a global economy, so trust that UK agents will have someone who can get books into the American market. I base that by the number of UK pubbed books in my local library system.

Time for me to get back to reasoning with hurricane season.

Les Edgerton said...

I'm a U.S. writer with a European agent (she has offices in Dublin and Paris). I'm with a European agent because most of my readers are European. Also, she is better poised to sell other, foreign rights as that's one of her strengths. In the past, I've had U.S. agents and been very pleased with them also.In today's world, I don't think it makes much difference where your agent is so long as he or she is well-regarded by publishers.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

There is nothing wrong with UK agents. They're no better or worse than US agents.

Do not assume that geographical location is a detriment in this, the age of the Internet.

Brenda said...

Neophyte here, but I’d check out their sales record. We truly do live in a global marketplace. I queried an agent who is based in the Middle East. I was skeptical until I did my research.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I think the others and Janet have already hit this one - if the agent is legitimate and your research shows a good track record with sales and all that rot, send the request. It might be kind of cool to have a UK agent.

MA Hudson said...

One the thing to look into would be the effect of Brexit on the UK publishing industry. I’ve read that they’ll lose rights to sell into Europe and there are consequences I don’t quite understand like publishers demanding more rights from authors in order to recoup their costs sooner. If you have a US based book, I’d definitely seek a US agent, at least until the dust settles in the UK.
(I’d love to hear anything Janet knows about this.)