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
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
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: http://www.vwc.org.uk/
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.
The Kate Nash Literary Agency is looking for an energetic graduate for a six week paid internship this autumn. Please see jobs page for full details.
SECRETS AND LIES by Janet Woods will be published on 25th May 2012 by Severn House.
A destructive secret is guarded by a network of lies . . . until they begin to unravel.
1933. Esmé Carr travels to Australia with her best friend in search of adventure. Left behind is Esmé’s adolescent niece. Meggie Elliot has an imaginative and independent frame of mind, but there is mystery surrounding her birth – one she intends to unravel, despite her mother’s warnings to leave the past alone. When the truth surfaces it’s not what Meggie wants to hear, and Esmé must reconcile the rift between mother and daughter.
*** Closed for Submissions ***
The Kate Nash Literary Agency will be closed to new submissions until 1st September 2011 because of traveling and conferences.
*** Winchester Writers Conference ***
Kate Nash is giving one to ones to writers at Winchester Writers Conference on 2nd July 2011 and is also delighted to attend the dinner and looks forward to meeting writers there.
As the year draws to a close, so does the Great Novel Openings competition. This search for great novel openings caught me completely unawares with how many entries received, and also the high standard of many of the entries meaning that I decided to announce a long list first. Every entry on that long list showed promise and left the reader wanting more – absolutely essential at the beginning of a story. You must draw the reader in right away (and then keep them there…).
In summary, a promising novel opening must have:
- and/or a sense of mystery
Deciding on the short list was no walk in the park and here I imagine that some of my subjective preferences as a reader came into play. Looking at creative writing can be done objectively and subjectively and although I forced myself to try and be as objective as possible – trying to pick those entries that seemed strongest – there was not a lot in it in many cases.
Those entries that were shortlisted tended to also include one or more of the following elements:
- danger or the promise of future danger
- vivid description
Remember the entries were very short – only 500 words – which is not long to develop elements such as characterisation deeply. Vivid description can often be achieved in very few words and I am not just talking about description of setting here, but description of actions. Novel openings tend to be stronger when something is happening. So another likely essential element to add to the list:
The winning entry also showed the following element – something that is essential for a story that will really draw a reader in and not let them go until the end:
Congratulations to Alexander Velky, writer of the winning 500 words.
The winning piece started with detailed description – setting and action – and quickly built up suspense. Within 150 words, enough mystery had been initiated so that the reader would be asking “what happens next”. The winning excerpt also delivered characterisation: every word counted, description delivered plot and suspense as well as giving clues about characterisation.
I look forward to meeting Alexander shortly and thank everyone again who entered the competition.