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Are There Any Literary Agents In Nigeria?

I have been trying to get a novel published and have not been successful in my quest to find a publisher; the kind that do not charge production fees and actually pays authors royalties.

I'm wondering if there are any literary agents around who can help pitch my book to publishers.

Please respond with any helpful information.

Thanks.

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20 answers

its not easy getting getting a work published through a literary agent.

and i'm not sure there are significant numbers of literary agents in nigeria, especially now there's a dearth of african publishers.

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Thanks Mad_Max, you make a lot of sense.

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My pleasure. Lol Joan, this isn't about me.

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Mad Max, thanks for those pointers.

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Mad-max, you just nailed it. Are you a fiction writer btw? Just curious.

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Literary agent-ing's like any other profession: there are horrible agents, mediocre agents, okay agents, good agents and superstar agents that WILL sell ice to an Eskimo. Find the agent, not the agency, that works for you. No reputable publisher will deal with the author. They all deal with the agent that represents you. There are websites that list good agencies. I'm amazed you don't even know what literary prizes and competitions there are. Go online and do some research. An agent will pay attention to a writer who's been published in, say, The New Yorker or Asimov's Science Fiction.

David Higham is an excellent agency. Go through the authors each agent represents and see if you'll be a good fit. Bruce Hunter reps Chinua Achebe (brucehunter@davidhigham.co.uk) Veronique Baxter reps Nigerians as well (veroniquebaxter@davidhigham.co.uk) This is the biggest agency in the UK but they're friendly and approachable. You can also try the agents at United Agents. www.unitedagents.co.uk.

Be sure your book is good. Everyone fancies they can write. Not everyone can.

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@ifez. I did try to get my book published with whitmore just after the work was completed. They simply rejected the work like all publishers do.

They claim to have published several books, don't charge publishing fees, seems genuine to my naive eyes. Then again, New York Literary Agency seemed pretty legit at the time, so you never really know.

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You want to know why there are no literary agents and authentic publishers in Nigeria? Check-out this thread and see the reason for yourself:

http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-188280.0.html

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white pple are the best scammers

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Scribesed, I totally agree with you. The distribution network is so poor. I looked at the bookstores that stock one of the major publishers is less than 20 stores in just about 5 cities. Lots of work to be done.

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You have painted a very grim picture, Joan. And you are mostly right.

I think, however, that the greatest problem facing the industry in Nigeria today is the poor distribution network. I believe a fair percentage of young people in Nigeria actually read, and would read works by Nigerian authors if they could find such books in bookstores.

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I'm just wondering how there can be "literary agents" in Nigeria when it is purported that the majority of literate Nigerians do not read for leisure.

Agents make their livelihood form their work. For their fee, they charge about 10% of author proceeds. So how can they represent an author who writes a book targeted to Nigerians--the same people who are purported as not interested in books? How will the book sell? How will the author, much more of the agent, make a livelihood from this?

Throw in the high degree of piracy and plagiarism going on in Nigeria and you're back to square one.

Not to mention that according to P.A. Modupe Oduyoye, "Book Launching Is Killing Book Publishing In Nigeria"

[url]http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/business/article04//indexn3_html?pdate=170509&ptitle=Book%20Launching%20Is%20Killing%20Book%20Publishing%20In%20Nigeria&cpdate=293008

[/url]

Just wondering.

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@Mad-max. Thanks once again. You are very encouraging. I checked out the agencies above; the marsh ageny seems right. I'll send my manuscript over once I'm through looking it over for the thousandth time.

Could you please suggest currently ongoing literary competitions? I once competed for the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa, but didn't get shortlisted.

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Your geographical location doesn't matter at all, believe me, There are writers in China and Russia and India and South Africa and yes, Nigeria, with US and UK agents. Agents rep people overseas all the time. Just be sure your book is good and it'll find an agent for you. Are you trying your hand at literary competitions and getting published in good literary journals? Agents pay attention to stuff like that. Keep learning and din't rush your manuscript out if it's not ready.

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@mad-max. I think you make a lot of sense. I'll definitely try out your suggestions, though I am

quite skeptical of my chances of connecting with a major foreign agency as a first time writer here in Nigeria.

I can't remember anyone it's ever happened to.

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There are no local literary agencies, I think.

Are you sure your book is the best it can be? You've honed and polished it? No grammatical errors or typos? You won't get a second chance with a good literary agent.

They're on the lookout for talent and will take you up if it has merit. You have to find the agent that is right for your work. Look for published books similar to yours and find out who reps that agent, then pitch your novel. For instance if your style is similar to Roald Dahl, he's represented by Anthony at David Higham Associates, as is Chinua Achebe. www.davidhigham.co.uk. If you write like Ben Okri, approach The Marsh Agency. If your style is like Chinammanda Adichie, approach Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency, etc.

Agents are individuals and like different books and writers. Find the one who likes what you write, and pitch to him or her. Don't ever be discouraged. Keep at it and sooner or later it'll happen.

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The truth is that there are very few publishing houses in Nigeria and there is only so much they can do. You just have to keep pitching to them directly, I've not heard of agents yet.

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@ifez. Thanks for your contribution. I've actually tried in the past to connect with foreign literary agencies and publishers, but they all kept rejecting my manuscript. The only agency that decided to work with me was New York Literary Agency. It turned out she was a scam agency.

Is there no way, no small chance, of finding decent publishing houses and agents in Nigeria?

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If you're trying to publish the book in Nigeria, your chances of finding a traditional and honest publisher are very slim.

However, if you've written a great novel, then you can try pitching it to literary agencies abroad. There was this link to good literary agencies that someone posted here a while back. If I find it, I will come back and post it here.

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@kay-9. I believe my work is great, or at least has the potential to be great. I'll keep working on it, thanks.

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