Archive for September, 2005
Posted on September 9, 2005 - by MG
Here’s something interesting.
I realised, looking at my spreadsheet of agents, that I don’t really know anything about any of them. They are just names – I don’t know much about what they like to read or anything.
I did find an interview on a Website with one agent at an agency I submitted to, and she sounds very nice and I get the sense that ‘Todd Garcia, Boy Archaeologist’ might be something that would appeal to her, but of course, I don’t know that she’d read it. It’s a big agency after all, and their rules say you just send material to ‘Submissions’.
So anyway. I thought – I’ll spend a day really searching hard for an agent who I can be pretty sure will enjoy the story. I did. I turned up a guy who I later realised was actually the first agent I ever submitted anything to (he was the first agent to be sent ‘VIP’). His agency has changed names since then. I notice that it happened round about when I sent him the submission which he ignored. Maybe there was too much going on?
I found him via a press release he’d posted on the Rights Noticeboard at The Bookseller. It was a terrifically well-written press release, oozing enthusiasm for his client’s book. Damn, I thought, this is the guy I need to represent my writing. When I saw his agency profile at Publisher’s Marketplace I was even more convinced.
But he has track record as a Submission Ignorer. So, I had to grab his attention in an email subject line, or he’d probably delete the email again. More research, this time into his authors, revealed an intriguing link between one of his successful children’s authors and myself – we both read biochemistry at Oxford. So I wrote him: Would you like to represent another Oxford biochemist?
Guess what…he responded the next day, read the submission within half an hour and wrote back: “I won’t offer to represent this as it stands, but I’d be happy to talk to you about it.”
So, we are going to talk tomorrow. I’ve no idea what he’s going to suggest but it beats the formal rejection hands down…
Posted on September 1, 2005 - by MG
Writers are often asked – especially by other writers – how they found a literary agent.
These are the blog entries I wrote during the process. I didn’t log all the rejections because at the time I was trying to be positive, not dwelling on them. (I did keep a scarily efficient Excel spreadsheet though, with the ones who’d rejected being greyed out…)
But I did receive around 10 rejections – mainly of my first manuscript a technothriller.
Todd Garcia: Boy Archaeologist, the manuscript that eventually became ‘The Joshua Files’ had a slightly chequered past – it just failed to shortlist in a Waterstones/Faber competition (the WOW Factor), the full ms was requested and then rejected by a very well-known children’s publisher and also a top children’s literary agent.
And by my agent too, who took one look and sent me off to write something he might actually be able to sell…
My agent, by the way, is Peter Cox of Redhammer, pictured above (photo by John Buckman). Peter produces and hosts the Litopia Podcast about the publishing industry and runs Litopia, the online writer’s colony.
For the whole story about how I found a literary agent, read the entries below.