Posts Tagged ‘agents’
TLC has helped thousands of writers over the past 15 years. Once in a while the editorial feedback leads to a swift sale or contact with an agent, but in most cases the journey is still long and winding. For many writers the exchange with an editor at TLC and the knowledge that they ‘can write’ encourages them to be persistent. In the case of Jim Powell his tenacity helped him to attain terrific results in a notoriously unpredictable industry.
Jim Powell writes: “the immense encouragement and sound practical advice I received from The Literary Consultancy proved to be the bridge between the dream of being a published author and the reality of becoming one.” Nearly ten years ago, when Jim was in his early fifties, he decided he wanted to write novels. He submitted his first novel to agents, but it wasn’t accepted. One agent, however, recognised its potential and suggested he send it to TLC for an objective assessment. Although his reader, Charles Boyle, was immensely positive towards the manuscript and TLC championed his work, agents still did not bite. Then in 2007, Jim sent his second novel The Breaking Of Eggs to TLC for another assessment by Charles. Again TLC was encouraging and after many more twists and turns, Jim was taken on by insightful literary agent Susan Armstrong at Conville & Walsh. She immediately sold the world rights for a six figure sum to Arzu Tahsin at Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The novel was published in March 2010 in the UK (hardback), and in July 2010 in the US by Penguin (paperback). In March this year it was chosen as one of the best 12 first novels of the past two years by the BBC’s The Culture Show.
The success that the novel attained was due to a combination of Jim’s strong-headed approach, TLC’s support en route, and the fact that in the end Conville & Walsh recognised the writer’s potential. Jim writes of TLC: “both critiques gave me a much better insight into what I had written and how it might be viewed. Most importantly, the process helped to give me the self-confidence to believe I could write novels, and the stamina to go on making submissions despite all the rejections, and thus certainly contributed to what happened later.” TLC encourages writers to be realistic in their goals and to seek an objective opinion of their work before self-publishing or submitting their work to agents.
Check out Jim Powell’s website for more information about his previous and current writing projects.
TLC’s mentoring programme just keeps on growing. On 9th October, we had 15 mentees attend the second of our biannual industry days. The day is an event exclusively arranged for mentees in TLC’s Chapter and Verse mentoring scheme to discuss the publishing industry with industry specialists and meet the other mentees. TLC was delighted to again offer an intimate panel of experts: Will Atkins (Macmillan New Writing), Arzu Tahsin (Orion) and Anna Webber (United Agents literary agency).
We thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet all the mentees and hearing about their experiences. At the end of the day we even had several mentees do a lively round of practice pitches for our panel of agents and editors. Lots of good energy and inspiration!
The Literary Consultancy hosted a cutting-edge publishing debate last night, with Google, Canongate, Faber, Robert McCrum and digital expert Bill Thompson. In the audience were key agents such as Claire Alexander and Caroline Dawnay, journalists and writers of different kinds. Click here to read the Bookseller review of the event. Check out TLC events for more, as we believe in keeping people writing informed about how the publishing industry works, and finding out what is in it for them.
These days, the task of first sifter generally goes to agents – but even they are feeling overwhelmed. Curtis Brown proclaims on its website, as a point of difference: “We are one of the few agencies who do accept unsolicited manuscripts.” Anyone who begins to feel this publishing business is a closed shop has good reason.
But there are other ways to get a hearing. There is The Literary Consultancy, for example, established by Hannah Griffiths and Rebecca Swift in 1996, at a time when many independent publishers were being gobbled up by conglomerates. They began to see, as Swift puts it, that “bottom lines had become all-important, meaning that writers who were perhaps too literary or too experimental are judged with extreme caution by anyone interested in profits first.”
In the slush pile Swift saw not guilt-inducing dross, but “a great big neglected pile of people’s efforts. Everybody needed and deserved attention.” But at the same time, “what they needed to understand was that that was very highly skilled attention, and that to get a really good response should cost money.” They charge £75 to read stories of up to 3,000 words; £250 for a one-or two-page synopsis up to 100 double-spaced pages; £1.50 per double-spaced page for the first 300 pages of a longer manuscript, and £1 per page thereafter, providing for that a detailed, thoughtful critique of the entire submission. If they consider a work exceptional, they will recommend it to an agent. They are doing well.