Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Huddersfield Literature Fesival - 15th March 2014 - Meet the Agent and Editor Event

Hello yet again my faithful followers of fashion.
Here is a quick run down of what happened at the above event I attended last Saturday at Huddersfield Lit Festival -
Hosting the event was Jenny Savill - senior literary agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates and
Antonia Hodgson - Editor in Chief of Little, Brown Publishers.

Jenny - J - started telling us about her role as an Agent -
J has been an Agent for 12 years and sees herself as an enabler - to enable an author to stay published a long time.  She will only sign up an author if she can launch and improve their career.
She emphasised how to her being an agent its important to have a human relationship between the author and agent and J likes to meet an author before signing on to get to know them and get their idea and vision for their future.
J advised its important for an agent to know what is happening in the publishing world and build relationships with editors and keep track of them if they move around differnt publishing houses.
Also her job is to get a contract for the author and once signed she works with the author.
Agents/agencies help usually with payments and contracts and tax issues - also all the tricky copyright and digital right issues that crop up leaving the author free to write.
J also has to ask editor if things alright to miss deadline if author not on time.

Antonia - A - also told us what her role involved -
A has been an editor for 19 years for Little, Brown which she said was unusual as most editors move around alot - but she loves her role and is also able to publish a variety of genres.
A reads submissions and decides whether its good enough to publish.  She has to think about what the sales may be like and how much they will offer the author(s).
She helps to edit the novels and also works with the designers on book covers - she also makes sure the marketing process is going well.
A describes her role and other editors role as a Professional Reader which she loves to do.

When she recives a submission she has to love it as got to sell the idea to the management and marketing - it's all about taste and judgement.  A structuarally manages the manuscripts.
A started off doing Literature fiction and also non-fiction as likes a mix of books.
She gets help from her management and other editors.

There was then a Q & A session where the room asked varies questions which I will try to break down.

What influence does author have on cover?
J - In author contract the author will have a say in the cover.
A - Some authors have an idea of what they want for the covers.

Getting into publishing!
J - Find your way into publishing like she did - by starting at an agency at the bottom and working up - e.g. starting on reception.  J went onto become a PA to an Agent and advised be prepared to do anything.
A - So many people apply for an editor role but remember there are different parts of publishing to work in. - From Marketing to Cover design - to copy writer.

Sending in Manuscripts!
J - she rarely reads the synopsis - as this is a tool for agent/editor to see where story going if they like the first 3 chapters - you need a good and friendly opening letter with not too much waffle and usually first 3 chapters although this can differ for different agencies/editors.
Bullet point you synopsis with main events.

Additional advice -
J - Authors especially published are able to change genres - 2 which spring to mind are JK Rowling and Iain M Banks.

J - First time authors usually have too much telling in their first manuscripts and not enough showing of events and usually info - dump.
A - Most manuscripts start well but usually have rushed endings which she works on with the authors.
A - Little,Brown don't accept unsolicitored manuscripts as its better to have an Agent.
J - It's best to have a finished manuscript before you make a submission and usually a 3 month response time.
J - I varies between different Agents and Editors to how many Authors they take on but J has 30 Authors she has on her books and helping out and usually takes on 2 to 6 new authors a year - some have more or less.

Well guys - as you can see have got quite alot out of the meeting with both Agent and Editor which was packed and gave good information - my advise as well as theirs is to do your reseach on the Agency and publisher your wanting to send work to.
Hope you enjoyed


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