London calling - pursuing overseas readers, agents and publishers

I get visitors to this blog from all over the world. The top countries are U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and India. However, the top cities are where things get interesting.

Click to enlarge. The list of cities represents the top 10 for the last year.

I've talked about this before, speculating on why Landless appeals to Londoners the way it does. The margin between London and New York is huge, much more so than between cities farther down the list. Granted, I'm probably overthinking this, looking for definable reasons where it's probably due to a simple explanation, like fluke, happenstance or benevolent extraterrestrials.

Still, what does this mean for future endeavors? Or, for my London friends, endeavours? I've always assumed that when I have a book to get published, it would be here in the U.S., with exploration into other countries later on. However, is that a reasonable thing to think, or is that hopelessly old school?

Assuming for the moment that I don't have every major house falling over themselves, throwing six-figure advances at me to secure the rights to my first novel (crazy talk, I know, but bear with me), a large part of that freshman effort's distribution is going to be as an If I do an indie pub, it'll be almost entirely, with paperback only as a POD option.

Since readers all over the world can download an, or have it printed locally, is there any difference between London, New York and Sydney? It's not like I'm going to have a publisher paying the tab for a big overseas book tour, or even a domestic one. Signings and readings locally in the Philadelphia area would be part of local promotion, but New York is only two hours away, and I'd have to go there on my own dime.

Is it crazy to consider London agents and publishers as fair game? Why would they be any more remote or distant than someone in New York, L.A., Chicago or Cleveland? Every interaction would be via e.mail, telephone or post. I've worked with a far-flung editor and publisher that way, coordinating my writing with that of co-authors in multiple parts of the world. It all worked out fine, even with the challenges of the various timezones.

Anyone have any experience they'd like to share on long-distance writer-agent-publisher interactions?

p.s. Philadelphia isn't in the top 10, nor is it in the top 25. No man is a hero in his hometown.

==== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. Interesting demographics. It's true that a prophet (gifted, talented author) is not a hero in his hometown, but when you're rich & famous, you can either relocate or move all your friends/fans there.

  2. I've often wondered the same thing but in reverse - all of the info is targeted towards US writers querying US agents/publishers, and I often wondered what a UK gal was to do. I don't think it really matters where you are if you're just releasing ebooks as they are reasonably international. I did once ask a US-based agent if she ever read submissions by authors based outside of the US and she said she did, but she recommended you try agents in your own country first due to the constraints of actually meeting up.

  3. Demographics are always a puzzlement to me as well. Love the bit about not being a hero in your hometown. I live in New York, so I can delude myself, but I know the truth. None of those hits are from MY corner or the New York.

  4. @Apple: I'll start with the get-rich-and-famous part first, then go from there. 8-)

    @Icy: That's occurred to me as well. Do I enjoy an institutional advantage by being in the US, or doesn't it matter? The Internet and e.books certainly appear to be a leveling force, but I have no firsthand knowledge. As for meeting up in person, I wonder how often that's necessary. If I got an agent here, would there ever come a time when they say, "Hey, Tony, come to New York so we can discuss XYZ about your book." From my perspective, going to New York is just a train ride, but LA would be worse than London. How often to face-to-face meetings take place anymore?

    @Rachel: I'm still waiting and learning. For that matter, I imaging there are plenty of people looking at these numbers, wondering why I'm even thinking about it when I'm not bringing in 20,000 hits a month.

  5. I wouldn't worry about it my lovely. I received over 30 rejections from UK agents and publishers for 20 Years Later, then landed a publisher in America. The distance hasn't been a problem at all - the wonders of modern technology and all. The only thing that I had to think carefully about was the territorial rights issue, as if I only gave them North American rights, it wouldn't have been possible to sell the book in my own country!

    The most important thing (in my very humble opinion) is to just write and write and write until something comes up that you want to try to publish, and then query the agents and publishers who like that kind of stuff, home first I guess, then abroad. I think geographical considerations are less important now than ever.


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