We are asking our esteemed agent panel a question a week over ten weeks and publishing the answers right here for you guys. It's the penultimate week of the series and we are asking...
What was it about your current clients that made you sign them up?
Madeleine Milburn of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency
When I started reading their manuscripts I could not stop. They are all ambitious, compulsive writers. Their novels have that ‘page-turning’ feel, to the point that I feel engaged in a deep conversation with the author.
Laura Longrigg of MBA Literary Agents
It’s a completely subjective thing, liking or not liking someone’s work. But I look for:
1) potential not just for the UK market
2) evidence that someone is going to write lots of books, not just the one.
Above all I have to absolutely fall in love with their work.
Hannah Ferguson of The Marsh Agency
With all the clients that I represent I have been able to see something special in them. All my authors have something unique about them that means I believe wholeheartedly that I can do something with their work and that there is a place in the market for them. I would find it hard to take on someone that I didn’t truthfully believe could be published.
Lisa Eveleigh of the Richford Becklow Literary Agency
I should say that I’m just starting agenting again after a sabbatical so am building a new client list. Happily, Grace Wynne-Jones, whom I represented at A P Watt and later, has kept in touch with me and is writing her fifth novel now.
Her first novel, Ordinary Miracles is a gently comic story about Jasmine, who is facing forty with some trepidation, and trying to ignore inconvenient and wistful urges. When I read the early chapters I was immediately engaged by the depth of her characterisations, and the honesty and wit of her writing. Grace herself is delightful; very easy to get on with, and very responsive to editorial points and feedback. She’s also professional in her approach and has followed each novel with a really satisfying follow-up. You can learn more about her at www.gracewynnejones.com
Sarah Lutyens of Lutyens & Rubinstein Literary Agency
Any novel which gets read with huge pleasure over a weekend when your kid is ill, you are going to a wedding, also a christening, a lunch to cook for 10 people and your mother-in-law to stay, is usually a good bet.
Diane Banks of Diane Banks Associates
They all have business like approaches to their writing, which you'll need to have if you intend to make a career of it. They're genuinely talented, market savvy and aren't precious. It always interests me how these three qualities tend to come together.
Sheila Crowley of Curtis Brown
Story! Falling in love with their writing in the first instance and then connecting with them in person.
As always, we'd love to hear your feedback. Do you agree with what the agents say? Have their answers helped you? Let us know!