10 May 2018

Round-up of literary agent insights

by Katie Smart From the Agents, Writing Tips

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Here’s a round-up of some recent agent insights from our newsletter stories …

Jonny Geller: ‘I want books that will change my worldview’

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On what he’s looking for in a submission …

I’m at the stage now where I want books that will change my world view or move me in a way that only a book can. Having worked with le Carré for so long now, and learned so much from writers like Will Boyd, David Lodge and Howard Jacobson, I ask myself the following questions:

  • Does the writer have a unique personal style?
  • How am I feeling as I read and most importantly, what am I left feeling at the end
  • Who could I recommend this book to?
  • Would I pay £15 for this if my best friend recommended it to me?
  • It doesn’t have to be flawless, but are there moments that stay with me after the last page? Visual imprints or emotional points?

Read the full interview with top literary agent Jonny Geller here.

Agent Sophie Lambert and author Fiona Cummins: ‘Stay true to your instincts’

Image fi and sop

On choosing which agents to approach …

Sophie: It’s best to send to more than one agent at a time so you’re not stuck endlessly waiting, and so that you potentially have some choice if you get interest from more than one. But don’t send simultaneously to more than one agent at the same agency.

Fiona: When I had a draft I was happy with, I sent it to a number of agents who I felt would be a good fit. I got a lot of interest pretty quickly, so I was able to choose. I was particularly drawn to Sophie because I liked the feedback she gave me on my work. It was so honest and astute – she talked to me properly about what still needed to be done, and I knew she was right.

Read more of Sophie and Fiona’s top tips here.

Sheila Crowley: ‘We have no business without authors’

Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown Agent

On why she is drawn to books with an ’emotional hook’ …

An interesting question as this ‘emotional hook’ which I have loved for many years is now being categorized by publishers and the media as ‘Up Lit’.  David Nicholls and Jojo Moyes have been writing like this for over a decade, but suddenly people are saying it’s new. In today’s market we are competing so much with movie/TV content from many sources, plus the uncertain political landscape. Novels with great stories at their heart, including emotional, psychological, topical, literary, diverse will always rise to the top.

Read the full interview with top literary agent Sheila Crowley here.


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