Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fantasy author overseas

I'm an author of young adult fiction about time travel, adventures in prehistory and lost civilizations. The first book in the series has been published twice. Since I currently live in South Africa (tiny market, no agents, small publishers), I'm looking for a capable literary agency and an international publisher. My current publisher is willing to license the publishing rights. A major publisher in London are currently assessing the material as well as agents in London and Sydney. I'm showered with praise, but one publisher in Frankfurt said that they are too small on the fantasy side and one agent in Sydney is too ill to represent me.

I just need more options. What do I do? Can you recommend a good agency that can represent me or advice me on how to approach this?

The only advice I can give it to keep querying agents, especially in the US. Fantasy (for adults and young adults) is not a big genre in Australian publishing - only Voyager (HarperCollins) and Orbit (Hachette Livre) have any kind of commitment to it. Accordingly, not many agents look at it - we have to run a business, and it doesn't make sense to specialise in a genre that not many publishers will publish. The agency I work for has recently made a decision to no longer look at fantasy (for adults or children) for this reason and also because, frankly, most of the books are too long - staring down a 200 000 word manuscript makes my spine go cold. I just simply don't have the time to read enough fantasy books to become an expert or enough fantasy manuscripts to be able to tell what's good and what's not. It's not because I don't believe in fantasy novels - they make a lot of people happy, and that's always a good thing. I just simply don't have the time.

So the answer is: go to a bigger market, and that means the US. Try agentquery.com to work out which agents you should approach, and tell them that you're a published author. It will take persistence and application, but I'm sure you'll get some interested parties.

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