This Just In: New York No Longer Center of Universe

July 12th, 2005 · 6 Comments
by Booksquare

There is, if you can believe it, a debate that rages long and loud: to New York agent or not to New York agent. The crowd on the left believes proximity makes for good agenting. The crowd on the rights notes new technologies like airplanes, telephones, and even something we hear is called “electronic mail.” Someone mentioned something called a “fax machine”, but we have been unable to track down any further details.

As agent Rick Broadhead says,

Prospective clients with caller ID may be confused by Broadhead’s 416 area code, but the Canadian dismisses the idea that an agent based in Toronto can’t be effective. “It doesn’t make any difference, but I have to justify it to clients. They see me as being in another country. I explain to them that some of the best literary agents in the United States are farther away from New York than I am.” [BS note: while it is technically true that Canada is another country, we choose to think of our relationship as closer than that, sort of like a big, huge state only much politer]

In order to settle this for once and for all, here is the official Booksquare position on agents: a) publishers are located around the world, including New York; b) it’s your agent’s relationships with editors that matter, not his or her street address; c) it’s better to have a good agent in Canada than a bad agent in the Bronx. Choose the agent you believe will do best by you. Thank you.

Vitals: Rick Broadhead & Associates Literary Agency, 47 St. Claire Avenue West, Suite 501, Toronto, ON, Canada M4V 3A5, (416) 929-0516 rickb@rbaliterary.com; prefers non-fiction, interested in narrative non-fiction, doesn’t want poetry. Email queries are good, but exercise care and judgment.

File Under: Agents

6 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Jul 12, 2005 at 9:48 am

    I have writer friends who do business with the Harlequin offices in Canada, and they’re always griping about:

    1. How expensive it is to phone editors in Canada.

    2. How much it costs to mail manuscripts to Canada.

    3. How long it takes their manuscripts to reach Canada. And how often they are lost in the mail.

    4. How long it takes to receive mail from Canada. And how often items are lost in the mail.

    Seems to me that all of these things would also be issues for writers with an agent in Toronto. Not that I don’t wish the guy well.

  • Antoine Wilson // Jul 12, 2005 at 10:06 am

    Canadian mail is excruciatingly slow, in and out. I don’t know why.

  • Susan Gable // Jul 12, 2005 at 11:07 am

    I use Fed Ex to ship mss to HQ in Toronto – they’re the only ones you can count on to get it there on-time when you’re rushing to deadline. (g) And it can get very expensive. I wish HQ would let us email our ms. Heck, I’d bet the authors would be willing to chip in to buy printers for their editors (apparently there’s like ONE printer in the office) and even a case of paper if we didn’t have to ship the darn things.

    Gosh, just think how far you could push the deadline if you could email the ms. Right up to the last MINUTE. Ta-da, it arrived on-time. (g) Of course, with my luck, it would get lost in cyberspace.

  • Booksquare // Jul 12, 2005 at 5:01 pm

    It’s the more relaxed pace up there — though I will admit that I, sadly, seem to have no trouble receiving from Canada at the speed of light.

  • NYCMouse // Jul 13, 2005 at 6:12 am

    “it’s better to have a good agent in Canada than a bad agent in the Bronx.”

    Yes, but why not hold out for a great agent on 6th Avenue?

  • Danielle // Jul 13, 2005 at 7:21 am

    Canadian mail is excruciatingly slow

    Canada Post is notoriously awful.