Literary agents in CanadaThere are only about twenty agents in Canada: five in Vancouver, one in Halifax, and the rest in Toronto. New York City probably has about 150.
Dealing with a literary agentRobert gets about thirty to forty queries per week (about the same as ten years ago). He can see quite quickly whether he thinks the project is something he can sell. He charges 15%, and of course, only gets paid when he makes a deal. Most agents don’t have a lot of clients. He tries to keep his client list to under forty.
Write, don’t call.
What about the proposal? He didn’t get into too much detail about the format and nuts and bolts of the proposal. Just put together a short description of your project and yourself. Describe what you’ve done so far to promote your writing, and include the trail of yeses: writing contests, magazine articles, previous publications, and any other time someone said yes to your writing. What he doesn’t really like to hear: “I can finish the manuscript in three weeks.” “We’re going to make so much money on this!” “Oprah’s going to love this!” and, worst of all, “I’ve decided I’d like to be a writer!”
Should you self-publish?Deciding on the best publishing route is too big a topic to go into here, but here are a few points:
|Advantages to self-publishing||Advantages of conventional publishing|
|you keep all the profits||no up-front expenditures|
|you have total control||the publisher does the marketing|
|it’s fast||you get the credibility of the publisher’s brand|
|you benefit from the publisher’s professional expertise|
An important point is that a self-published book that gets decent sales and some good reviews may be picked up and re-published by a conventional publisher.