1. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Why is it difficult to find an agency to publish Fantasy in the UK?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by miss sunhine, Mar 7, 2012.

    So In writers' and Artists' Yearbook I found only four but one had no website so I'm suspecious. There doesn't seem that many agencies willing to take it and I thought it was one of the most popular Genres. I know it does well in America but I'm struggling to find an Agency.
    Would I have more luck with Young Adult? It does work into the YA Genre.
     
  2. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    I don't know if it's a cultural thing in the UK or what, but perhaps the story being submitted doesn't mean their standards, or doesn't line up with how they're trying to present themselves? Or they may think the story won't sell if published. Could be a number of things.

    Also depends on the size of the story and the publication. Are you looking for big house publications, indie publications, or smaller print (like magazines and journals) publishers?
     
  3. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    I haven't tried to Publish it yet I'm just Researching.
     
  4. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I had no idea and I'm not so sure that it's true. I mean you go to bookstores and find too many fantasy books to count, even in the small ones. I think you need to research more.
     
  5. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    Sorry - little lost.

    An Agent is someone who will represent your work to a publishing house.

    Are you saying there are no agents that will take on Fantasy work or no publishing houses?
     
  6. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Not many Agents seem to represent Fantasy at least in the UK.
     
  7. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    Gotcha - does it matter?

    I have never tried publishing anything via that route so haven't a clue but will an agent in another country not still represent your work - after all they don't necessarily need to meet you face to face if your work speaks for itself?

    I'm sure Shadowalker, Madhoca, Mamma or Cog will know the answer to that one....
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is more than four in the Writers and Artists Yearbook ;) However sometimes that is only discovered by going to the website of an agent that doesn't specify either way. Some would rather not represent it, but also don't rule it out either. I don't think John Jarrold an agent that specilises in fantasy is even in the book. Also have you looked at Angry Robot (Fantasy publishers)? And their YA imprint Strange Chemistry, because they are having an Open Doors month again this year If you PM me I have the details of a site which can give you much better information than you will find here, it is mostly UK sci-fi/fantasy writers. (although it is international). I have an Australian publisher and a Dutch agent currently asking about my work, however I suspect there is an element to my fantasy that will mean certain rejecting with the Australian one, and I am considering going down the self publishing route anyway, so I am not restricted to writing to a 'brand'.

    It is easier to place contemp/urban fantasy or YA fantasy with an agent than classic high fantasy. The publishing industry is different in the UK to the US and different again in Austalia and New Zealand. Mainland Europe also follows its own rules. It is worth geting UK specific advice for synopsis, covering letter, formatting of manuscript etc. If you do go down the YA the Writers and Artists Yearbook has a Childrens edition.
     
  9. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    It's generally better to get an agent who works within the market you are trying to sell to - that's just common sense. A German agent will know what sells in Germany, but may be clueless about what the UK market is doing. Even if you get a UK agent, if and when you decide to sell the book in foreign markets, they will contract an agent working in that market to sell the book to publishers in that country. That's why your agent's commission is higher for non domestic sales than domestic ones - because they have to pay another agent out of that commission.
     
  10. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Maybe the reason there aren't that many UK agents taking on UK fantasy is because there's so much stuff coming out of the States - why would they take a punt on an unpublished author when they can just buy the rites to titles by published authors with proven sales? I know that there are certain styles of fantasy that are uniquely 'British', like Pratchett, Rowling etc, but 12 out of the top 20 best selling fantasy authors in the UK are from the US:

    1) J.K Rowling (350 million)
    UK

    2) Stephen King (350 million)
    US

    3) JRR Tolkien (c. 300 million)
    UK

    4) CS Lewis (120 million)
    UK

    5) Terry Pratchett (55 million)
    UK

    6) Robert Jordan (44 million)
    US

    7) Terry Goodkind (25 million)
    US

    8) Terry Brooks (21 million)
    US

    9) Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (c. 20 million)
    US

    10) Frank Herbert (18 million)
    US

    11) Eoin Colfer (18 million)
    Ireland

    12) Douglas Adams (16 million)
    UK

    13) Kevin J. Anderson (16 million)
    US

    14) Raymond E. Feist (15 million)
    US

    15) Christopher Paolini (12 million)
    US

    16) Stephen Donaldson (10 million)
    US

    17) Laurell K. Hamilton (6 million)
    US

    18) George RR Martin (c. 3-4 million)
    US

    19) Neil Gaiman (2 million)
    UK

    20) Peter F. Hamilton (2 million)
    UK
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as i understand it, writers in the uk don't rely as much on agents, as those in the us do... and there are fewer agents there, but i don't know which is the cause and which the effect...

    so, anyway, instead of concentrating on trying to get an agent, why don't you do what it seems most new writers in the uk do and query publishers directly?
     
  12. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Actually, this couldn't be further from the truth. Almost ALL large or reasonably established publishing houses in the UK refuse to accept unsolicited manuscripts. This is largely due to the fact that many are actually owned by US publishing houses...

    Point is, in the UK you need an agent just as much as you do in the US, unless you wish to go the indie route.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    In sweden they are even more rare, usually only established authors have agents and not even all of them. I've only ever heard of one aspiring writer who got an agent before approaching the publishers, and it seems most of the publishing houses here are a bit suspiscious towards new writers with agents, at least that is what I've heard. Funny how different things like this can be from one country to another.
     
  14. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    That is kinda odd, isn't it?

    In the UK publishers use agents much the same way as businesses use recruitment consultants - it's another level of quality checking that they don't have to bother themselves with, because someone has already sifted the wheat from the chaff and focused the submissions on their specific requirements. The idea that a publishing house would be suspicious of or even discourage agented authors just seems like they're making more work for themselves :D
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Very few even small and middle sized publishers take unagented submissions. Some publishers have open doors months where they will take some but out of thousands of submissions only half a dozen will be accepted. Go with the advice on websites and the Yearbook.

    There are some publishers do but an agent makes life easier. HOWEVER no matter the genre finding an agent is harder than finding a publisher.

    For OP here are some that take fantasy in the UK: (which includes a lot of London's biggest agencies)

    Curtis Brown
    Conville and Walsh
    United Agents
    Mic Cheetham
    MBA Agents
    London Independent Books
    John Jarrold
    Mic Cheetham Associates
    Dorian Literary Agency (DLA)
    Londond Independent Books
    Marjacq Scripts
    Sheil Land Associates Ltd
    Artellus Limited
    Anubis Literary Agency
    Zeno Agency
    Christopher Little
    Antony Harwood Ltd


    There are others and it pays to check their websites for recent submissions guidelines and if they are taking submissions, some like Christopher Little only take them for a month or two at a time. If they say they are not taking just keep checking their websites.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    my supposition was based on what i've read from writers in the uk who've complained about there being a paucity of agents there, compared to the us... so, do you who disagree with this have it on good authority that it's not the case?

    and is it any harder/easier for a new writer to snag an agent there, than in the us?
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is your supposition that is wrong, not the writers complaining about how hard it is to get an agent.

    It is much harder for a new writer to snag an agent here. I'm doing well having tried for a year half heartedly to find one and to have had feedback from some agents (a couple asking for changes I'm not prepared to make). It is not unusual for a great book to spend three years looking for a UK agent. JK Rowling with her fourteen months was fairly fast.

    Whilst it is said it is harder to get an agent than find a publisher, finding a publisher without one is also an uphill struggle.

    Getting published in the UK can be far more difficult than in the US.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what is it about my supposition that is wrong, if you don't mind explaining?... are you saying that new writers in the uk don't rely on agents as much as they do in the us, or what?...
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    as i understand it, writers in the uk don't rely as much on agents, as those in the us do... and there are fewer agents there, but i don't know which is the cause and which the effect...

    so, anyway, instead of concentrating on trying to get an agent, why don't you do what it seems most new writers in the uk do and query publishers directly?

    The above suppositions are wrong. Most new writers do not query publishers directly and we still are very agent reliant to get noticed by the main publishers. My British published writer friends are much more likely to have an agent than my US published writer friends. We do still have a harder time, require more patience and a very strong product to find one.

    There are plenty of agents, of course there are fewer than in the US as we have a smaller population.
     
  20. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Yes, I have it on good authority that it's not the case - the authority of looking at submission guidelines to UK publishers, most of which say 'we do not accept unsolicited manuscripts' - i.e. 'you need an agent for us to even consider your submission'.

    I wouldn't know, because I've not sought representation in the US, but the general feeling is that the UK publishing industry is much harder to penetrate than the US. I think because the UK market is really tough. I've queried agents who've said they could market my story in the US, but that it's not 'high concept' enough for the UK market.

    Anyway, I don't think there is a shortage of agents, it's just that there are fewer titles published in the UK annually. And the number of new writers who get published every year is miniscule, so agents are really, really picky about who they take on. That's why getting an agent is like winning the lottery, almost more of an achievement than getting published.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks for the upgraded info, uk-ers!... it's much appreciated... hugs, m
     

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