Monday, February 14, 2022

Query widely!

I'm a new author living in Australia, I wonder whether it is appropriate to submit a story set in the UK, and in a fantasy location as well.

Can I send to agents in the UK and US?

You can even send to agents who are vacationing on Carkoon.
Cast as wide a net as you can.

I have clients across the globe.
The contract they sign with me is governed by US contract law.

A publishing contract is often governed by the contract laws of the country where the publisher does business.

But right now, query widely.


RonC said...

That's very interesting. I've come across some UK-based agents that seem like potential good fits for my novel, but hit the brakes when I saw they were non-US for two reasons: 1) how do I know if they're open to authors outside their territory and, 2) would they automatically assume a US author is only approaching them because they've struck out domestically? Anyone have experience with this? Always great to see a new Janet post to kick off the week!

Katja said...

I'm so glad because I will most likely have left the UK when my second novel, Living Lies, is finished and ready to query.

I shall live in Switzerland 🇨🇭, very close to the Alps, with Living Lies set in both Switzerland and the UK, and I am planning on querying Janet first thing - err, first agent. 🙃🥰

I'm going to Switzerland next month (unless another Omicron is messing it up!) and am having a job interview for a position as a trilingual tour guide.

Please do cross your fingers and toes, Reefers. 🙏💖

AJ Blythe said...

OP, another Aussie here *waving*. We're lucky, as we can query agents in the UK (a lot are closed to the US).

I recommend using Query Tracker, as they list agents in the US, UK and Canada, so it's a great place to start.

There are a few Aussie agents who are open to slush queries as well, but definitely don't count on them as most have pretty full books and aren't taking new clients.

Good luck with your time in the query trench!

Katja, all the best with the move and job interview! I hope you soon find yourself with that amazing view :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yes, query widely. Maybe be a bit wary of agents who vacation in Carkoon. But up to you. Maybe you like kale. A lot. I am not judging. If an agent is open to queries, represents the kind of stuff you write, give it a shot.

Craig F said...

Our Queen has one writer that she to make up a posse for, and chase over half the world.

That also proves another thing, a Literary Agent will pursue what they feel is worthwhile.

NLiu said...

RonC I've seen British agents who state they're not open to queries from the US, so you'd need to check. I'm guessing it's because they work with British publishers so they need to cater to the UK market. A Great American Novel might not be easy to place. If someone writes about, say, Tudor history or sets their books in the UK like you, I'd assume it will go down better. (Also, and I have no idea if UK agents also care about this, but it's cringeworthy when Americans write books set in the UK but don't research them. I read one recently where working class men in the East End were playing rugby. If you don't know why that shook me out of the narrative, you should probably find a British friend to check your work. US and UK culture are very different.)

I'm glad to hear American agents will take Brits!

Colin Smith said...

Just to be different, I'm going to say, query widely! Oh... ok... but it's true. At the query stage, you've got nothing to lose. Your query is not an agreement to work with the agent. You're tossing your line into the pond and hoping fish (or sharks... in a pond... okay that metaphor went astray...) will bite. To raise your chances of catching a fish, don't be afraid to find the biggest pond with the most fish.

NLiu: One book I read a while ago, by an author I otherwise enjoyed, wrote a British character (English, to be precise, but I'm not sure the author was that precise) who referred to policemen as "bobbies" and used antiquated phrases that most English people outside of certain posh regions of the country would never use. Threw me right out of the narrative. Yeah, people, do your research.

Elise: Carkoon is not a place anyone voluntarily goes. The only non-Carkoonian literary agent I've met here also happens to be Queen of the Known Universe, revered by the inhabitants and feared by those whom she has exiled... 😱

RonC said...

Thanks for your perspectives!

Katja said...

Wait, Colin, you DON'T call coppers "bobbies"? I learned that at school, you know. In the 90s. So when did you emigrate again? 🤔 Maybe you missed something. 😆

I actually took a photo of a real bobby in London when I was 16. He even smiled for me. I just thought that maybe he would lose his pretty hat when he'd chase a bad guy.

Katja said...

Thank you, AJ, we're not moving yet and it isn't certain at this point.

It is more difficult than we expected due to Brexit, which has made the UK (from Switzerland's POV and many others) a third country.
This means that Husband CANNOT take 'the lead' in our move and get a job, leaving me time to find a part-time job later.
It is now ME who must take this lead and get a job first because I will get a residence permit automatically as a German citizen. Only then Husband can get a visa through me.

It's going to be a massive challenge coz I haven't worked 'like that' in over a decade. But I so much want to go and live in Switzerland so that I'm willing to do this.

Brexit truly sucks! 😫

Colin Smith said...

Katja: "Bobbie" was the original nickname for the English police force (named after their founder, Sir Robert Peele--"Peelers" was another popular nickname) back in the 1800s. It fell out of fashion before I was born. I don't know of anyone who called them "bobbies" while I was growing up or living in the UK. The nicknames I heard were "the fuzz," "the old bill," among others. As far as I'm aware, there hasn't been a revival of "bobbies"--and I talk to my family back home fairly regularly. Some might use it occasionally to be quaint, but not seriously.

If you or your hubby know of contemporary Brits who still refer to the police as "bobbies," I'd be interested to know.

NLiu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NLiu said...

Colin bobbies! I don't think I've ever seen that outside of newpaper headlines that were trying too hard.

I also recently read a book by one of my favourite authors (American) who had tried to write a Welsh character. Unfortunately she hadn't done this by finding actual Welsh people to assist with dialogue, but had the character talk and act like an American (sidewalk, go do chores, elevator) then added in the word "cwtch" every now and then. It made it hard to take the book seriously.

See also books set in Scotland where everyone says "och aye tha noo", quotes "Rabbie Burns" every other sentence, owns a castle and wears a kilt. But also has an American sense of humour and is doing this completely unironically. Cringe cringe cringe!

And Katja how exciting! All the very best with job-hunting for Switzerland!

Trudy said...

Katja - Good luck on your move, I hope it all comes together. Completely agree with you on Brexit, it totally sucks.

Julie Weathers said...

I dreamed about Janet last night. I was writing acknowledgments for The Rain Crow and very happily adding her name to the people I am grateful for. No, this isn't pandering. This deal was struck with my writing muse long ago. Janet would appear in books and Tawna Fenske would also appear in a book.

As happens in my stories, things go long and Janet's scenes in both Far Rider and RC got moved to later books should there be ones. Janet is now a horse trader in FR and a very independent widow lady in RC who beats a man with her gardening hoe to get him to stop beating his wife then promises to use him for rose fertilizer should he touch her again.

One of my writing partners was agahst, and asked if this was a good idea to include Janet in a story. "Well, yes, Janet, Tawna, and I were having a discussion a long time ago and agreed we should. Tawn will be a madam in a bordello. Should we ever all meet up, there will be donuts."

Anyway, Colin Smith and Dr. Frain are still in RC also and perhaps it may be closer to publication soon. I am hiring an editor to help me chop it down to an acceptable length. Then it's going back on the query trail. At which point, I will query widely.

Alas, #Pitmad is closing its doors. I am very sad to note this, but understand.

The volunteers there did a remarkable job and I hope they realize how important and appreciated they are.

Colin Smith said...

NLiu: *sigh* The problem is, the author might have hoped you'd give them credit for being nuanced enough to make the character Welsh and not just a generic Brit. But it's patronizing to then assume the one thing that makes the person Welsh is by the use of a single phrase. Especially when there's an entire catalog of Welsh stereotypes to draw from--largely concocted by their best friends (*ahem*), the English! 😉

Julie Weathers said...


Yes, that's one thing I am scouring Rain Crow for now. I have an English character and I've had to be careful to keep her dialogue and syntax consistent.

Same with my Irish characters. Not all will use the same pronunciations depending on where they are from or the same words, but I'm not sure readers will realize this nuance. Even so, I have to keep each character in their own lane. Oh the
The Irish People Try youtubes I did watch for research. Joking. I do that for fun. I did a lot of research, though, and hope I got it right. Plus, I have a Gaelic language guy I bounce questions off when my prim and proper Lorena goes off the rails and cusses someone out.

I watch a lot of British mysteries for some reason, half-heartedly. I'm usually doing something else while the tv is on for background noise. Every now and then my ear perks up. "Why are they getting torches to go search something? Don't they have flashlights? Oh, nm."

It's the same reason I read very few western romances. Most authors get it so wrong it makes my teeth hurt. Kari Lyn Dell was the only one I trusted.

Katja said...

Trudy, thank you so much 💖.
As for Brexit, I also had to stop selling my bookish items in my Etsy shop to the EU countries I had selected for sale. The fees a customer in the EU would have to pay at their door at the moment of delivery are just too high.

Business lost and it doesn't mean that suddenly I have more UK customers instead. Not at all.
And I'm not the only one who's lost business that way.

An acquaintance told me we would just have to endure another couple of years of brevity and then we'd feel the benefits. When I asked him what exactly these would be, he literally had no answer.

Yes, I am utterly frustrated here, hence the rant.

Thanks, Nicola.

NLiu said...

Julie that is some proper research right there. You have all my admiration for being so thorough - hoorah!