Jennifer Carlson of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner

Jennifer Carlson of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner

Agent Advice

Posted 5.20.13

For an unpublished writer, does it cost more to seek a literary agent abroad or would it be safer to self-publish first in the home country before seeking an agent in another country?

Daisy from
Rustenburg, South Africa
Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency
27 West 20th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10011

I’m not sure about the words cost and safer that you have chosen to use here. Do you mean them literally, or metaphorically? If you have e-mail, it shouldn’t cost you much. And unless there is a terrific home country–based agent (they are less common where you are, no?) whose loving advances you are rejecting, I don’t see any cost to your career, either. The United States, of course, imports little in the way of books, though we do get serial crushes on various areas around the world (India, Africa, e.g.) and then suddenly there’s a lovely burst of publishing activity centered on works and writers from those regions. I’d advise doing some research to look for U.S. and U.K. agents to approach (for those writing in English, anyway) who have international client lists.

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