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edited July 2011 in - Writing Tales
So often we read that agents like to know we've done our research, whose books we envisage seeing our own tome sharing a shelf with, how important it is to sell ourselves as well as our book and so on and so forth......

....... I've just looked up Bill Hamilton at A M Heath who represents Katie Fford, only to find in an interview in Myslexia, that he doesn't want any of that. No comparisons, no over-selling, no detailed synopsis.

Will still send my novel to him, but it's worth looking to see if there's an interview with your chosen agent prior to submitting your work, isn't it?


  • Yes it is!
    And good luck, Anna
  • Hope it goes well, good luck.
  • Cheers chaps. Have been revising approach letter.

    BH says they get 75 submissions a week and only take on 2 new authors a year. About as much chance as winning the Lottery, but hey ho.

    More likely to take on someone recommended by a publisher (isn't that putting the cart before the horse?!) or existing author. (How does that work? Have any of you ever sent a MS to an author? Is it best to self-publish and send a copy to an author?)

    The goalposts get further and further away......... (sigh)
  • I sent a short story to Meera Syal, and she suggested I try her publisher. I did, but no luck.
  • [quote=Anna]About as much chance as winning the Lottery[/quote]

    Not really, Anna. Agents who open up about their business tell us that 80 per cent of submissions are non-starters, many showing a deplorable lack of quality and professionalism. Another 10 per cent are promising but nothing like ready - needing a lot more work, too much for them to take on and work at with the author.

    You'll be in the remaining 10 per cent. What you want is to get the agent to read your manuscript, so between your letter, synopsis and first couple of pages, you must make them feel it worth a gamble to spend another chunk of time reading the rest of your MS, and that must persuade them that this book keeps the reader glued from first page to last.

    Does your book work? And have you put it over at its tempting best in your pitch?
  • Anna I've heard some authors say they won't look at manuscripts sent to them because of concern that there could be later claims of plaguarism against them.
  • edited July 2011
    Put it this way, because you did your research, you've avoided the first 'auto-reject' pitfall.
  • Good advice there, Anna - I'm going to remember that. You learn so much from reading a publisher/agent interview, especially about their personal preferences. (For children's writers Tracy's site http://talltalesandshortstories.blogspot.com/ has some great interviews.)
  • pbwpbw
    edited July 2011
    Very best of luck Anna. You won't achieve anything by not sending it out.
    Bon courage!
  • Wishing you lots of luck, Anna.
  • You did your homework, which is the first step, Anna. I wish you the very best of luck!
  • Thanks, folks. Tomorrow is the day I send my precious baby out into the big bad world of publishing. Gulp. Exciting, though!
  • Good luck.
  • Good thread - good luck, Anna!
  • Good luck Anna!
  • Very exciting - do let us know how you get on. Now to think of ways to distract yourself...
  • Good luck, Anna. Very exciting times :)
  • www.mslexia.co.uk/getpublished/pub_agent5.php -

    Try the above link if you want to read interviews with individual agents.
  • Best of luck, Anna!
  • Good luck, Anna, Seems you've done your homework.
  • Good luck. The thing is to get it out there, no one is gonna come knocking on your door saying 'have you written a book ?'
  • Good luck - you've done the work and you deserve it.
  • Thanks again, everyone.

    Well, I've sent it on it's way. Feel very peaceful about it after all your encouragement.

    Also feel a bit self-conscious about the way this thread's gone - I didn't mean to turn the focus on myself; it was more about the benefits of reading up about your chosen agent as opposed to 'accepting as read' the generalisations we read and hear about.
    Hope it might prove useful for someone else.

    Moving on.......
  • Hope you now get the response you want, good luck
  • Better get used to the attention now Anna... good practice for when you're published!
  • Don't worry about it. It's always exciting to hear what other writers are doing. Good luck.
  • Can anybody post up the names of publications which agents read?
    Thank you.
  • I would think that each one varies pbw.
  • Good luck Anna. Fingers crossed for you.
  • Bit the dust, Casey, but thanks anyway.

    (Novel now languishing in drawer until I decide next step)
  • Anna, can I humbly suggest the next step might be to work hard on your opening page or rather your opening 5-6 pages. The 'how to' reading I've been doing recently is emphasising how hard-worked agents lose patience rapidly at this stage of a proposal. Assuming your covering letter was faultless (not difficult) and your synopsis was watertight in plot, your task is to keep the agent reading. A good opening can incline them to read on and on (apparently).
  • Don't give up Anna. It might be worth getting a critique of the synopsis and first three chapters from Writers Online (the WN website) if you haven't tried this. It's not expensive (£49 if I remember right with a discount for subcribers). At this stage feedback can be helpful and at least you'll know you're on the right track. Good luck with it.
  • Hey, that's an idea, Casey. Never thought of that. Thanks!
  • I can recommend it, Anna. I sent my synopsis and first 9,000 words in, and got very helpful feedback from an expert. £49 is not expensive as these things go, especially since it's informed feedback on your baby.
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