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publishers outside of one's own country

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Hi, I am Canadian, and currently seeking a literary agent to represent my book. My book takes place in the U.S. (Texas). Are there any rules (or tendencies) as to who would likely want to represent or publish my book based on its location? I heard or read that most American publishers will only publish books that take place in the U.S., and the same for Canadian publishers that will only publish books that take place in Canada. Is there any validity to this? Should I solicit only American agents/publishers? Thank you so much for your anticipated replies.
#1 - March 24, 2014, 12:05 PM

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there is some truth to this but it's not a hard and fast rule. If you want to publish for the American market it makes sense to set your story in the USA and query American agents/publishers. But that's not to say you can't set your story in Canada or other areas of the world if that's what the story demands. I'm Canadian and I have a NY agent and publisher, and even tho my chicken world is made up my cities are based on American cities. There are also Canadian agencies that submit worldwide. My agency mate is American and has a book set in Canada because that's where the story led. I think a lot of Canadian publishers are limited to Canadian authors and content as they receive subsidies from the government.



#2 - March 24, 2014, 12:48 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
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Debbi, it depends on the agency. Check their website to see whether they have a foreign rights department/person and check Publisher's Marketplace to see whether they have sales outside their country.

I think that most American publishers will publish books with settings in Canada (or elsewhere).

But many Canadian publishers will only publish books written by Canadians and set at least partly in Canada. This is because the Canadian government subsidizes many, if not most, Canadian publishers. The government wants to see Canada and Canadian authors represented in our literature.

Also, when we were sending my first novel out to publishers, I had one manuscript with Canadian spelling and one with American spelling.

-- Barb, a Canadian who has a Canadian agent  :moose
#3 - March 24, 2014, 04:14 PM
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 04:19 PM by Barbara Etlin »
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Thank you, Artemesia and Barb, for your replies. My book takes place in the U.S. because it involves killer bees, and killer bees have not reached Canada, at least not yet (and hopefully never) Therefore, I do not have much of a choice, and yet the agent whom I believe is most suited to my book is Canadian. I will check if she accepts stories that take place in the U.S.
#4 - March 25, 2014, 09:27 AM

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Good luck, Debbi!

(I was an extra in a background scene in the movie, The Savage Bees, in 1975. I was on vacation in New Orleans and there was a Mardi Gras scene down the main street of the French Quarter. Unfortunately, I was a victim of the cutting room. ;-) )
#5 - March 25, 2014, 10:16 AM
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