I had such a mare of a journey getting to class yesterday, you would not believe it even if I could be bothered to go into the ins and outs. But let’s just say, everything that could go wrong….did! So I ended up being trapped in St Pancras station for a while. Still, it wasn’t all bad…I managed to have my cake fix in Peynton & Byrne 😉
An orange and plum cake that was very nice! Just a shame it didn’t come with a dollop of Mascapone on the side, but anyway, back to class.
I finally made it, having to walk about 2 miles and with drenched feet *sighs* but it was worth the struggle. Today’s guests were Mary Morris, Fiction Editor at Faber & Faber and Claire Conville from Literary Agency Conville & Walsh.
Now, you know me, I took 10 pages of notes, so I’ll just try to give you the gist of it:
Agents have become more proactive in recent years especially with editing.
At Conville & Walsh they have 1 guy who manages the slush pile and goes through all the submissions.
If a MS has a strong voice, everything else about the novel can be fixed.
It’s not unknown for Claire to work with an author for up to 10 drafts of an MS to get it right before submitting to a publisher.
The Agent will come up with the “one sell line” for the publisher. A Tagline for the book that helps with Marketing.
Claire will read 3 chapters only. If she likes it she’ll continue, if she doesn’t, she won’t read on.
When searching for an agent, look in the acknowledgements section of books you think may be a similar genre to your own.
If a writer hasn’t got it by the 4th edit, they probably never will. Agent edit suggestions are meant to inspire and trigger ideas to make the book better.
What works? How do I bag that agent? …..A wonderful MS! A strong title helps.
Have your work professionally edited, and mention that in the cover letter….it shows you’re serious about your novel.
And finally, something that I’d never heard of…..
Mary mentioned “Literary Scouts” so I couldn’t wait to get home and Google it and i found THIS! Literary Scouts let publishers know the gossip on interesting MS’s that are doing the rounds.
Do they have Literary Scouts everywhere, or is it just a London thing?
A very interesting session 🙂