Meet the agents: an interview with Stephanie RoundsmithHarry Bingham
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.
What made you decide to become a children’s literary agent?
I’ve always loved children’s literature but it wasn’t until I launched my reading and writing scheme for children (www.kidsreadwritereview.co.uk) that I began to think of agency work. The scheme has given me a huge amount of first-hand knowledge as to what children read and what they are looking for next so I started to think how I could use this knowledge for the benefit of the children. Editing and proofreading is also a passion of mine and I have supported many children’s authors over the past few years, so an agency role seemed to tick all the boxes for my dream job. Working with authors, improving manuscripts and getting great books into the hands of children: the perfect job!
What books do you enjoy reading?
I have a very eclectic taste and read anything that’s well written. In terms of children’s books I grew up with the classics: Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl but I also love many of our modern authors such as Jonathan Stroud, Anthony Horowitz, Guy Bass, Michelle Harrison, Cat Weatherill, Steve Cole, Jeremy Strong and Matt Haig, to name but a few.
How much of a writer’s three chapters do you read before deciding if you want to see more?
I’ll always give the first three chapters a chance, but if you haven’t grabbed me by then I’m afraid I won’t be requesting the full manuscript.
Are you currently looking for clients?
Absolutely! I’m building my client list and welcome as many submissions as I can read.
What are you looking for at the moment?
Humour always does very well with children of all ages so if you’re writing the next Jeremy Strong novel I’ll gladly take a look! I’m looking for originality and style. Something that’s fresh and exciting that can fit in either the fiction, non-fiction or fantasy market. Whether it’s about flying underpants, a dragon university or a cat detective – I really don’t mind – so long as it’s well written. I’ll consider picture books but my main area of expertise is the market for 5 to 12 year olds. I’m very keen to work with new, unpublished writers but I also welcome published authors too.
Where can writers meet you?
I’m all done for 2014 but in 2015 I’ll be attending the Hay Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival, Getting Published event and Festival of Writing (both organized by the Writers’ Workshop) and Frankfurt Book Fair.
Do you have any tips for writers looking to submit to you?
Firstly, don’t panic! I’m very approachable and although I expect writers to send in work that is well proofed and well presented I won’t be rejecting work for things like typos. It’s not a job interview so I’m happy for you to send in a punchy, personal email. I don’t request a covering letter for the very reason that I like to keep things informal. However, please don’t send in your work unless it’s finished. I do get a lot of requests to ‘please read and then give me your opinion on whether I should continue’. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do this.
How can writers submit to you?
Please send a synopsis, one or two paragraphs about yourself and your first three chapters to email@example.com. Please note that I only accept email submissions.