Announcement: Promotion of Sarah Taylor to literary agent

The Kate Nash Literary Agency is delighted to announce the promotion of Sarah Taylor to the position of literary agent. Sarah Taylor has a BA (Hons) in History with Italian from the University of Reading. She joined the Kate Nash Literary Agency as literary assistant in 2012. Sarah has a particular interest in children’s and young adult fiction as well as women’s fiction, crime and historical fiction. Submissions marked for her attention should be sent to the Agency submission email address as usual.

New book deal for Jane Lovering

The Kate Nash Literary Agency is delighted to announce a new book deal for award winning author Jane Lovering. Starman, a romantic comedy, will be published by Choc Lit in December 2014. “The hero is an astrophistc…an astrophycist…a scientist,” writes Jane Lovering. “It also features a horse called Stan.”

Simon & Schuster to publish Janet Woods backlist in ebook

A_Dorset_Girl_-_Janet_Woods793fThe Kate Nash Literary Agency is delighted to announce that Simon & Schuster are to publish six backlist novels by Janet Woods in ebook early next year. The historical novels are The Convict’s Woman, A Dorset Girl, Beyond the Plough, Where Seagulls Soar, A Handful of Ashes and The Stonecutter’s Daughter.

Guest post: Do you need an agent?

Samantha Tonge writes: 

In this digital age, writers frequently ask “do we need agents?” More and more imprints are emerging, like digital-first CarinaUK Harlequin, who have just published my debut novel, Doubting Abbey and don’t ask for agented submissions. So what, if any, are the advantages for me, being a client of Kate Nash? Surely I could have done the deal myself and kept 100% of my royalty payments?

Samantha TongeThe thing is, I’ve been with Kate for two years now. During the years previous to that I didn’t manage to sign a contract with a publisher and the whole process of trying to get a deal was, at times, soul-destroying. With Kate I finally had someone respected in the industry who was on my side. Her validation that I could write was crucial, at a time when I wondered if I would ever be a published novelist.

Not only do I lack her technical and legal publishing know-how, what’s been important is how Kate has guided my writing and submissions in an objective way – without my impulsive nature and impatient tendencies being allowed to take effect. I’m sure Kate would agree, I am probably one of her most impatient clients – Nudge should have been my middle name!

That, I would say, is the most frustrating thing about having an agent. For years I was master of my Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tongeown destiny, when it came to submitting. Handing over that control has been surprisingly difficult. The only other negative factor was not getting a deal straight away, after signing with Kate. For so many years I’d built up this naive idea in my head that getting agent = immediate publishing deal and overnight success. Of course, that is an unrealistic expectation, ask any of your published friends – so just be aware, getting an agent is just another step along the road to publication. It may well mean a deal arrives swiftly – it may not.

For me, it is the emotional support of an agent that tops the list of advantages. Certainly it’s been great to have someone advise on offers, cast a shrewd eye over contracts and give feedback on my synopses for new projects. But more than that, an agent is there to listen and put your writerly paranoias into perspective. I’ve probably appreciated her even more since working with my publisher. Little concerns I’d be loathe to run past an editor are dispelled by Kate with a return email. And that’s very important – choosing an agent you aren’t going to have to tippy-toe around. For me, they must be approachable and have a good sense of humour.

So, do we writers really need an agent nowadays? I’m sure Kate would have a list of reasons, more specific than mine, as to why the answer is yes. And yet, the digital age is clearly a challenge for their role, with some already diversifying by, for example, publishing their authors’ backlists.

My personal opinion? If you are confident in your writing, with a depth of experience and knowledge of the publishing industry to-boot, than perhaps an agent isn’t for you… But if, like me, you’d benefit from a professional shoulder to lean on now and again, go for it – and the very best of luck.

Congratulations Jane Lovering and Terri Nixon

Two books by Agency authors have been nominated in the Festival of Romance Reader Awards 2013. Hubble Bubble by Jane Lovering has been shortlisted for Best Romantic Read 2013, and Maid of Oaklands Manor by Terri Nixon has been shortlisted for Best Historical Read 2013. We wish them all the best for the Awards which are announced on 9th November.

How Publishing Sees Readers. And Authors.

Publishers’ relationships with readers and authors is changing; becoming closer and more interactive. What does this mean for authors? This is a presentation from the Kate Nash Literary Agency Day which took place on 15th June 2013 in London. How Publishing Sees Readers

Publishing Today

Today’s publishing model is tomorrow’s chip paper. Publishing is changing fast, so where are we now? This is a presentation from the Kate Nash Literary Agency Day which took place on 15th June 2013 in London. Publishing Today

Get Writing writers’ conference

(c) Kevin Bennett 2013

(c) Kevin Bennett 2013

Sarah Taylor writes…

On Saturday, I attended the annual Get Writing conference on behalf of the Kate Nash Literary Agency. It was the first event I had attended as Agency Assistant, so I was particularly looking forward to the day.

For me, the main highlight of the day was attending the one to one sessions where aspiring writers pitch their work in five minute slots. In the space of an hour, I listened to ten different people talk about their work. From an agency point of view, it is a great way to meet aspiring writers and hear, albeit briefly, about their work. In each short session, writers’ give a brief summary of their novel. As my particular interest is in children’s and young adult fiction, I was delighted to hear from some writers’ in this genre.

I also had the opportunity to hear some of the panels on the day as well as listening to Ann Cleeves of ‘Vera’ and ‘Shetland’ fame, who was the keynote speaker. There were also various workshops throughout the day, which people could book to attend.

Get Writing is a brilliant event organised by the Verulam Writers’ Circle and held at the University of Hertfordshire. You can find out more information here:

Ten Tips for Aspiring Novelists

I gave a talk last week to a delightful group of creative writing students at the University of Northampton. The focus of the session was publishing, and the students got into the spirit of things with a role play “fantasy commissioning meeting” where they were given a lump of money to spend and a variety of book proposals to choose from, from sure fire bestsellers to more risky projects. The right answer was of course that there are no right answers but it did serve to show what kind of commercial considerations underpin a publisher’s decision making.

I also shared my top tips for aspiring novelists, which I reproduce here:

1. Novels are not real life. What happens in a novel must make sense.

2. “Show not tell”, although you might occasionally want to “tell” don’t until you’ve learned this rule.

3. Think cinema, watch television, for storytelling ideas and techniques.

4. Always include emotion. Up the emotion. Push it beyond your comfort zone.

5. Accept informed criticism. From peers and professionals.

6. Write from character point of view.

7. Use active tenses.

8. Third person simple past tense is easiest. Write a third person novel first, and then write a first person novel. First person might seem easy but it can be restrictive.

9. Make it interesting. This is fiction, not real life.

10. Consider the money. Don’t be dictated by the market, but keep your eye on it.

Books, books, books

It has been a much busier year for the Kate Nash Literary Agency than the lack of posts on this blog would suggest. Firstly, what a life changing year for agency author Jane Lovering who thrillingly won Romantic Novel of the Year 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music, after also scooping the award for Romantic Comedy of the Year and also being on the shortlist for the Melissa Nathan Award. Many parties, much champagne (Jane), and fizzy elderflower stuff (Kate, expecting). Seeing a story metamorphosize not just from a Word document to a published book but on to become a major prize winner, Romantic Novel of the Year, is nothing less than awesome. For its agent too.

Which comes back to what a literary agency is, and should be, all about is books. Yes it is about authors but authors are the sum of their parts, that is their collected works, their books. And the books are what readers love, and what the industry is all about. I’d always described Please Don’t Stop the Music as an “unconventional” romantic comedy from the start. Jane Lovering’s unique voice, now so publically recognised, will go from strength to strength and that – in fact – is even more exciting than winning fabulous awards. Her latest novel Vampire State of Mind, published in August this year, has already attracted a lot of positive attention for its against-the-genre-grain vampiric set up, and her next novel Hubble Bubble, again genre atypical, is scheduled for release by Choc Lit in June 2013.

Janet Woods, one of the agency’s most established authors, unfortunately lost her long term editor who moved on but has settled with a new editor and a brand new two book contract demonstrating the confidence her publisher has in her wonderful writing and loyal readership. The third part of her family trilogy spanning from the First World War to the Second, I’ll Get By, will be published in February 2013.

It’s wonderful for an agent to be able to work with debut authors too and we are much looking forward to the first historical novel from Anita Seymour. Royalist Rebel charts the story of Elizabeth Murray, a real historical figure caught up in the drama of the Civil War and will be published in January. Anita is now working on her second novel based on a real woman and drama from history and we’re so excited for her.

The agency has taken on several new unpublished clients in the past twelve months. Usually a great deal of work goes on behind the scenes before an agent gets to the stage of offering work to publishers. We currently have two new writers working on revisions and one writer actively in the nailbiting submissions stage with her novel. We also continue to actively try and exploit backlist opportunities for our authors. This involves the sale of rights not previously exploited or resale of previously published work.

While we remain committed to remaining a small agency able to give our clients the attention they deserve we are expanding. Having not found a suitable candidate for an internship we have taken on Sarah Taylor as a part time agency assistant. Sarah will be involved across the agency and will also be appearing in this blog to help keep it more up to date.

We remain open to submissions and try to respond as quickly as possible to submitted material. Please follow the submission guidelines and only approach us if you are a UK writer or one who wishes to work with UK publishers. If you are a writer based in the US please make it clear to us in your email why you wish to be represented by a UK agent and by the Kate Nash Literary Agency as well as adhering to our guidelines to include sample material.

Kate Nash


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