Canadian shoes (alas, no longer available) for Darrin, who writes:
I live in Canada, and I aspire to have YA novels published. I’m just not sure if, when looking at agents, I should primarily focus on Canadian agents. I mean, it would be nice to have my works distributed throughout North America, but does that matter when considering agents? Would I be FORCED to get a Canadian agent?
It kind of seems like the answer is obvious, but there’s a chance I could be wrong. Any help you could give regarding this would help ease my overactive mind! Thanks!
First of all, no, no one’s got a gun to your head FORCING you to get a Canadian literary agent. So with that pressing question answered, I think the answer to the rest of your query is “it depends.”
I imagine, much as US agents concentrate first on US publishers, that most Canadian agent concentrate first on Canadian publishers. There is absolutely crossover between the markets, but more often it is in terms of distribution. Multiple sales within NA (that is, to different US and Canadian publishers) is more rare.
So I guess you have to ask yourself, in an ideal world, if you want to be published by a Canadian publisher or a US one. There are benefits to both, but a success in one market is likely to transfer over to the other. If it were me, I’d seek out Canadian agents first, and if you don’t find success, then broaden your agent search for US agents.
Of course, the SCBWI is an international organization, and they might have another perspective you can check out. Good luck!