Nathan Bransford, Author

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Literary Agents and Writers Overseas

In the comment's section of yesterday's post, Steph and Melanie wondered if being overseas is an impediment to securing representation. In a word: no. I have clients from around the world and am definitely open to all.

But there are some things to think about. I'm often asked by people living in the UK and Australia if they could have a US agent as their primary agent -- yes, you can. But it's very important to think about your work and where its natural market lies. There are some books that are universal (HARRY POTTER, for one big one), but the US, UK and Australian markets are all very different, and the readers have different sensibilities. A book that is successful in the United States might not be successful in the UK, and vice versa. So take an honest look at your work, because even though the US market is the biggest, you may be best served finding a publisher for it in your home market. And for that you'd need a home agent.

But if you want to find a home in the American market -- query away! I can't wait to take a look.


Melanie Avila said...

Nathan, thanks for addressing this. I consider the US my home and won't be in Mexico forever, so while I'm writing about Mexico, it's not my target market.

Sorry about the Hills - but thanks for keeping us in the loop.

C.J. said...

Who gets custody of the jellyfish?! Nathan, you're closer to Hollyrock than I am, would you start lobbying for a Spencer spin off show?

Nathan Bransford said...


If I were in charge of the networks there would be a show where Spencer and Justin Bobby hit on random girls at bars. It would be huge.

Anonymous said...

nathan, do you know when the curtis brown website will be up and running? is there going to be one now at all?
thanks, emily

Nathan Bransford said...


It's coming soon!

C.J. said...

I know, and it's probably already happening - they'd just have to film it. Writers' strike, Schmiters' strike.

Adrienne said...

Sigh I wanted more detail about The Hills . . . I guess I could go to some MTV site or something. But I like your wrap ups best!

Must remind self this is an agent blog, agent blog . . .

Josephine Damian said...

Nathan, what if you're an American writer and you believe your work will be better received in Europe (most likely the non-English speaking countries)?

Any advice? Should you consider foreign agents for your query list?

BTW, a guy in my writers group who lives half time in the UK (and half time here in FL) says unknown writers don't need to have a complete MS to get representation, just a partial and syn., in the UK. Had you heard that?

Jessica said...

I'm so glad to see this question addressed, as it is something that I've been wondering about. I'm American, but live in and write about the UK and am very uncertain as to where I should begin querying. You mentioned that there is a difference in readers' tastes on either side of the pond. Can you elaborate on that at all?

olga said...

It's great that you are willing to comment on a submission before it hits your desk. Bravo.

Justin said...

Anyway, I'm so relieved to hear that being overseas isn't an issue. While I'm a native to the U.S., I may be going to live overseas for a very long time, and this was a concern for me. Thanks for clearing this up Mr. Bransford.

Steph said...

Thanks for answering the question, Nathan!

Jessica, I think it's just the cultural differences. For instance, you might've heard heard of the bestselling TWILIGHT saga (by Stephenie Meyer). In the US they're huge, right? Well, here in Brazil, they're basically unheard of. There's not even a Portuguese version of the books. Likewise, Sidney Sheldon books are huge here, and in the US, they're successful, but they're not the constant center of attention. Every country has its own market, I suppose, and you should see where your book fits best.


Joanne Levy said...

Nathan, here's a follow up to that. I'm up in Canada (eh) - I know some Canadian authors and their agents see benefit in selling US and Canadian rights separately because then the Canadian author will get a 'push' here at home whereas if they sell NA right all together, they may not. What's your take on this?

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan,

How do you approach slang used in manuscripts from non-US authors? Is it a deal breaker if a Brit has used words like "wanker" and "plonker" and "numpty" in the text and references to UK shows/magazines etc, or are you more interested in whether the overall story and voice grabs you?

- London Lass

Nathan Bransford said...


The Canadian situation varies from publisher to publisher and from book to book, and it's tough to generalize about it. Some US publishers have Canadian subsidiaries and will try and coordinate publication, other times it might make sense to break up the rights with two different publishers. So it all depends.

London Lass-

Some slang and UK spellings shouldn't be an impediment for a US reader, but if the work is too dependent upon UK cultural references it may be difficult for an American reader to fully understand it. But ultimately it's all about the writing. I'm sure I missed more than half of the culutural references in James Hawes' SPEAK FOR ENGLAND, but I still really liked the book.

Luc2 said...

If I would translate my novel to Dutch, and be able sell it on the Dutch market (no bestseller, but no embarrassment either), would that increase chances to sell it in the US?
Or would the general reaction be: who cares about the Dutch market, go sell cheese!?

Nathan Bransford said...


Honestly, unless you're the absolute most beloved/famous author in a foreign country and your name is mentioned in conjunction with a possible Nobel Prize, US publishers aren't going to take notice.

Sam Hranac said...

FYI: Googling "Spencer Heidi unengaged"

You've made it to #1!

Anonymous said...

How about if we aren't from this country, does that interfere in some way with wanting to get publish? would i even have a chance to get publish?

Sharmistha said...

So would you suggest as a first time author from another country I should focus on getting published here first rather than approaching agents in other countries? Because I don't think literary agencies have really caught on in India.
Or is it a better philosophy to care only about being published irrespective of the 'where'?

Stan said...

I have a reverse type of situation. I have written a book for the overseas market: China, Japan, India, Turkey, etc. How in the world do I find an agent that works in the international and overseas marketplace that can work to find publishers in many other countries. The book is not designed for the U.S. market. Would like to "talk" with you about this. Hopefully you will have an idea or two. Please email at
Thank you

Stan said...

I have a reverse difficulty. I have written a book that is for the foreign-overseas marketplace, not for the U.S. For example, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, etc.
Does anyone know how to find an agent that handles books to overseas publishers. The book is not for the U.S. marketplace. I have published other books in the U.S. but this seems to be a significantly different animal.
Appreciate any help or suggestions. I can be reached at:
Thanks all

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