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Monthly Archives - October 2014

Opening pages: 7 ways to make an agent groan


Orwell’s most famous first line: “It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” If I were an agent, I’d be offering representation.

At our recent Festival of Writing in York, we host a number of panels with literary agents that give writers the chance to meet, talk and ask questions.

We end those panels with a scary-but-brilliant session called Sushpile Live where some very brave writers stand up, read the first few paragraphs of their work, then get live feedback – X-factor style – from the assembled agents. (more…)

Meet the agents: an interview with Stephanie Roundsmith

stephanie roundsmith

Stephanie Roundsmith

We’re today launching what will become the signature feature of this blog: a series on “meet the agents” that come straight from those agents. Today we start with Stephanie Roundsmith, a showjumper-turned-agent, who’s looking for children’s fiction, especially in the age 5-12 range. Her Agent Hunter profile can be found here. Her own website can be found here. (more…)

Do literary agents want self-published authors?

James Oswald, with his team of beta-readers

James Oswald, with his team of beta-readers

A few years ago, most literary agents in UK were snobby about self-published work. And rightly so. A few years back, it was genuinely the case that a large majority of self-published authors wrote bad books that were poorly edited with terrible covers and sales to match. There were some breakout successes of course – there always have been – but they were rare enough that no agent wanted to tramp those stony fields in the hopes of finding something to grow.

That’s all changed. (more…)

Do literary agents really care about your author platform?

This guy could probably find a publisher.

This guy could probably find a publisher.

You don’t have to trawl the Net for long to discover articles recommending that authors work hard to build up their online and social media presence as part of the whole get-an-agent, get-a-book-deal campaign. And, no question, it never hurts to have a reasonable web presence. That kind of thing will never count against you. But how much work should you really put in? And what kind of authors really need to work at this? (more…)