A couple days ago, I dropped a line to Miss Snark. (Miss Snark is a literary agent who, with her own snarky and anonymous voice, answers all the stupid and neurotic questions that writers have about the business.) I had picked up a couple of comments here and there that writers living outside the US are more difficult for an agent to represent. More difficult means, of course, that the other manuscript that is almost as good gets promoted. So I dropped her a question about how early on I should mention that the difficulties cited don’t apply so much to me, as, really, there is nothing whatsoever preventing me from waking up breathing American oxygen the day after tomorrow.
The reply was less than encouraging.
Here is my question:
Dear Miss Snark,
Evil Editor made a comment the other day that made one of those question marks pop up over my head. I managed to get rid of it, but they keep coming back (usually late at night, keeping me awake with their eery luminescence and faint wood-burning smell).
Currently I am living outside the United States. Evil Editor mentioned in passing that he would consider that a strike against an author because the author would not be available to participate in book promotion. I believe you have also mentioned payment headaches when dealing with authors not in the US.
However, I am not only willing to spend time knocking about the US flogging my work, I’m looking forward to it. Also there would be no problem paying me in dollars and I would pay my taxes in the US.
I assume these things aren’t deal killers, but are they worth mentioning in a query letter to an agent?
And, an excerpt of her reply:
I’m going to tell you the honest to dog truth.
I hardly read the stuff that comes in from overseas cause I’m just so unenthusiastic about the headaches associated with a client that far away. You’d have to write something REALLY great to get over that hurdle.
While this is only one agent speaking, she is still 100% of the sample, and I think I have to deal with this. I see a few options:
- Put a paragraph in my cover letter expressing that I am geographically disconnected and I’ll live in hell if it’ll help my career (I’d have some good literary company there, I think. It’s even more hip than Prague.)
- Make all initial correspondence reflect a US address. Because it’s always good to start a business relationship with an intentional deception.
- Move back to the States and live in Mom’s basement
- Move to the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and hope they don’t look at the address too closely, or wonder about all those stamps on the SASE.
I’m leaning toward that last option, myself. I could pepper my correspondence with y’all’s and references to Waffle House and whatnot, to reinforce the impression without actually lying. Plus, I hear they have nice beaches there.