Category Archives: Finding an agent


I liked these people, MCA… but despite being listed on as looking for my genre, the agent mentioned in the listing is not actually looking for sci-fi or fantasy.

So… gets a big thumbs down from me… one to avoid unless you’re in the US I suspect.

Looking for a new agency to submit to but not doing too well… many, when asked, express an aversion to fantasy… maybe I should pitch it as a comedy and forget to add the word ‘fantasy’, that’s a bit cheeky though.  Better to be straight.  And although it’s crap that there are so few agents dealing with my genre in some respects, on the up side, the fewer there are, the sooner I’ll know if I’m stuffed.

I really would love to find an agent though.  You know, a real one.  Someone who could help me hone my work, somebody who could open my eyes and turn me from a reasonable writer into a really good one… But at the same time, I’m kind of intimidated… the more agency websites I research, the more Oxbridge  English graduates, with MAs I find… I can’t see these literary rocket scientists going for an eccentric middle-aged, middle-class Mum with a bad Art History degree and a huge pussy* cat.  Hmm… it’s going to be a long search.

Never mind.  My submission to Snow books is good to go… what a pity my book isn’t (guffaw).  No, I’m not that disorganised, I just need to finish the last chunk of editing which is marked up already.  Then I can send it.

Perhaps it’s time to write another free e-short.  I have had 39 downloads in a month… not going to set the world on fire but not bad and I suspect it won’t get much better unless I keep up some momentum… wondering if I can manage one a month… or perhaps I should do a reading and sell it as an aural book.  That would be a scream.  I am a massive ham!

On that subject… the speaky thing, I mean not being a monster ham; since there’s a lot of speech in my novel ( “is it a play?” one agent asked me) I’m toying with adapting Few are Chosen for radio… just following the models of people who have succeeded at writing varietals of the stuff I do.

Well… it’s a thought.

* This joke was brought to you by the Mrs Slocombe appreciation society.

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Filed under Finding an agent, General Wittering, Marketing Ideas

That second handy blog…

The second handy blog is… ta-da-daaaa.

This one

The reason I find this one useful is just to read comments from a savvy person who is an agent and is prepared to share information and time with the world.  Here in the UK, you do tend to get the impression, when you approach an agent, that it’s about how busy they are and what a nuisance (to the point of stalkerdom) you are.

And there go my chances with any of them.

But what I mean is, they aren’t all like that, even the ones who give that impression, they’re just laden with British guilt because they have about 3,000 authors after each slot on their books… possibly more.  Underneath it are people who want to help and when I read the work of Mr Bransford, even though he’s in the States I feel that yes, it is worth continuing the search for an agent, even as I self e-publish my book, because many of them are human.


Filed under e-publishing, Finding an agent, Useful Resources

A small hoorah and some handy info

Oh yes.  Finally, I have made the Smashwords Premium Catalogue… my freebie, pique-their-interest-story should now appear on Amazon and Barnes and Noble… eventually.

It went live on Smashwords on 8th December and so far, 19 people have downloaded it.  No reviews, though, which is a pity as I’m sure there’s nothing like a good review to drive it up the charts.  Then again, I fear this story may receive nothing like a good review.  There’s a reason I don’t usually write shorts and that reason is, I’m not very good at it.

On the search for unicorn poop er-hem, sorry, finding an agent front, I have been introduced to a couple of useful blogs.

The first, Queryshark answers the question, what do you write in your query letter when you approach an agent.  The answer is an elevator pitch.  A short sharp synopsis which (and I quote)

MUST contain:
1. Who is the protagonist?
2. What choice does s/he face?
3. What are the consequences of the choice?

It seems that’s pretty much all you need to do, you can add a bit about how you’ve done writing classes if it’s relevant but nothing I’ve done is relevant… well actually I suppose 12 years of corporate communications probably counts for something but not anything of potential use when writing a novel.

I’ve been reading queryshark for a while now and have submitted my own pitch for perusal.  I hope they tear it to bits because lord knows, I need to get it right.

And there I leave you.  More on useful blogs tomorrow.  Go check out the queryshark.  She’s great.

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Filed under e-publishing, Finding an agent, Useful Resources

Advice re agents…

Here’s an excellent piece of advice I was given about finding an agent, today.  Find the agents which fit your writing/genre, then look down your shortlist and apply to new agencies, ie anything under 5 years old.  The bonuses are clear…

Most new agencies are started up by experienced agents from larger agencies gone solo.  As an unknown, fledgling writer, you won’t get a graduate trainee or somebody with one year’s experience.  If they take you on, your agent is likely to be a great deal more knowledgeable than anyone you’d get at a larger agency.

They’ll try harder, they are out there to make a name for themselves as well as you.

They will be less well known so you may only be up against a thousand or so other writers pitching for that one slot rather than the two or three thousand you’ll be up against pitching to a larger agency.

This advice came from a London publisher – he publishes text books but he’s still a publisher.  He also recommends writing consultants, you pay but they, too, are often go-it-alone publishing professionals with excellent contacts among agents and publishers.

Food for thought, anyway.

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Filed under Finding an agent, Good Advice


Many years ago, when I first wrote a book I was filled with enthusiasm – actually, I’m still filled with enthusiasm – but also, impatience.  You know how it is, you’ve finally manged to get from one end of a novel to another and you want to get your masterpiece out there as soon as possible… even though, in year heart of hearts, you know it’s not ready.


I think all I really wanted to know was whether or not somebody “in the know” thought I had the writing ability to cut it.  So… I had a friend of a friend who was an agent and after a very helpful and friendly initial call, I sent it to them.  He said it wasn’t his bag gave me another name.  I sent it to her, she said it wasn’t her bag, gave me another name and I decided to wait until I’d rewritten it before I tried that.

Spool forward 8 years.  I look her up and yes the agency is still going.  I send an e-mail and horror of horrors, get a very nice reply saying she died some years back but that if I’d like to send an excerpt in, they’d be happy to read it!

I did.

They said no.


Never mind they were kind enough to try to help, advise and answer questions when I rang for feedback and I still believe in this one, it is marketable.

Even so… I feel kind of flat.


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Filed under Finding an agent, Rejections

Rejection Number 1

My first application to an agent has been rejected.

I am unsurprised and I am surprisingly unmoved.

What does make it a bummer, though, is that they seem to be excellent types and have about the only website that talks to unpublished writers as if they are people rather than a trying nuisance!  It’s also a bummer because it means I’ve got to compose a meaningful pitch aimed at someone else in the pitiful amount of free time the mother of a 10 month old has in a day!


What does surprise me is that I don’t seem to have lost any confidence.  It sounds incredibly arrogant but I know my writing is good, I know it’s good enough to be worth publication.  That’s not enough these days, of course, you have to be a red hot seller which I am so not and you have to have a certain kind of luck.  Knowing somebody in publishing also helps.

Never mind.  I heard somewhere that JK Rowling got rejected 20 times.

Onwards and upwards, I will now proceed to agency number two on my list.  Meanwhile, here’s the letter.

Dear Mary

Thank you for your recent letter and the material which I enjoyed looking at.  As a small agency we take on very few of the many writers who approach us each year and, having considered your work, I am afraid I do not feel we can effectively represent you.

I trust you will understand that the sheer volume of submissions to this office unfortunately prevents us from providing you with a more detailed and personal response.

May I take this opportunity to wish you success with another agent or publisher.

With all best wishes etc

A decent letter.  And I know they can’t but oh how I wish I could go into the next submission with a hint, just one thing, that might need improved.  To paraphrase Rowan Atkinson… I am a blind man in a darkened room looking for a black cat that isn’t there!

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Filed under Finding an agent, General Wittering, Rejections

A little babychaos

A week ago, having finished my submission for a literary agent, honed it, toned it and generally agonised over it my Sister In-Law – who works in publishing – kindly volunteered to read it.

Seeing the enormous size of my synopsis – it’s a complicated plot – she recommended I ring the agency I was approaching to check if they had any particular length in mind when they said “short”.

Eventually I took my courage in both hands and did. It rang, somebody answered and before either of us could say anything Mini Me shouted.

“NANG!!!” At the top of his voice.

There was a surprised silence.

“I’m sorry, this isn’t a prank call. That was my son. He’s a baby.” I said.

Oh happy day when she laughed! Luckily they are happy with a longer synopsis, the point is that it should be free from waffle. If there’s lots to say, that doesn’t matter.

Phew again.

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Filed under Finding an agent, General Wittering

The first hurdle…

I need to find an agent because, amongst other reasons, I’m shit at sales.

Trouble is, I need to write a shit hot sales letter to get an agent.  Enter my smashing sister in-law who works in publishing and is on the case.

Emily, take a bow.

Some meaningful and helpful thoughts about this coming later… I hope.

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