What can be harder than being a writer? Being a Canadian Writer.
Of course, there are other countries that similarly have their own challenges when it comes to writing.
As Canadians, much of our experiences are influenced by our neighbors to the South. Most of our online feeds are filled with U.S. content. Our world news feeds tend to be dominated by their news events. Our own Canadian made movies and television content even seems to be lacking in comparison to what is available on U.S. television, with the notable exception of Vikings, which is a Canadian/Ireland co-production filmed in Ireland and written by Michael Hirst, and Englishman.
If you search publishers, both large and small independent publishers, literary agents, book printers catering to the relatively newly accepted (and still growing out of the slop-heap of disdain by non-self published writers into acceptability) self-publishing writers, you get long lists of possibilities.
The problem is that almost all of them will be South of that border that is not only a barrier to free movement of people back and forth (you have to line up and make offerings by way of showing your passport and answer questions that make you feel like you are interviewing to join some special and secret club to pass in either direction to visit your neighboring country), but also is a barrier to the simple and free movement of joining the ranks of going from some guy or chick who wrote a book to being some guy or chick who has a published book.
That’s great if you are a U.S. citizen, not so great if you are Canadian.
The Canadian publishing market in all ways seems almost non-existent compared to our neighbors to the South.
We have a handful of just a few literary agents, compared to the much larger population of them over the border. Although, in recent years it seems that most of the U.S. agents I followed online have moved on to other forms of employment. (Could the literary agent be a slowly dying breed?)
Odds are, any attempts to contact and court one of these very few Canadian agents in the hope they will consider you as a client will be met with … nothing. They won’t even bother to take the time to respond because they are very few.
Similarly, getting a response from a publisher if you are a U.S. citizen sending query letters to a U.S. publisher are about a thousand times more likely to receive no response at all than a polite rejection. And a thousand times more than that likely to not receive an invitation to send your manuscript.
The Canadian market for authors seeking publishers is the size of one of those little nubby things on a new car tire compared to the number U.S. publishers of various sizes (the whole tire being all the U.S. publishers).
Canadians are notoriously charged more for most things than our U.S. neighbors are too. Everything from clothing to food to raw materials to services like book printing cost more North of the border. If it is shipped to Canada, you can pretty safely assume the price was hiked because they can get away with charging more. That makes the both the cost of living and the cost of doing business higher than it would be otherwise. Books and other printed material are one of the products where this is obvious. In Canada, books must list the Canadian price too, which is always considerably higher.
That means you can expect to pay more for any services associated with publishing and being published, and having to charge more for your books to recover your expenses.
So, what is a Canadian writer to do?
With the added challenges of trying to be a Canadian published writer, your odds of success are likely none to something North of there. If you have not made a name for yourself to attract the attention of Canadian publishers and agents, it’s going to be like finding intelligent life on another planet, seemingly forever out of your reach.
Your best chance is to open yourself to markets outside of Canada. But that too has its own set of challenges. You can be published anywhere in the world, as long as you are not actually being paid for it.
Being a Canadian writer published outside of Canada and being paid for it is a whole new challenge, especially if you prefer to not be taxed by both countries on that income.