Describe your role.
I have just been promoted from associate to literary agent so much of my role is now about building a list of clients and getting them published, as well as managing the writing careers of the authors already on my list. Day-to-day tasks can vary but generally I am liaising with my authors and various editors, dipping into my submissions inbox, handling contract negotiations, submitting a new project from a client and probably spending a little too much time on Twitter.
What do you enjoy about your role?
I love that every day can be so different—that is what drew me to agenting initially. My favourite parts of the process are sending out a new submission (and getting offers, hopefully!), seeing cover art for the first time and, of course, the moment you get to tell an author that their book is going to be published. It is the very best call to make.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just read Sophie Claire’s latest novel—she just keeps getting better and better. I’m in the process of editing a magical début middle-grade that explores what it means to belong. I’m currently out with a funny and relatable Millennial romcom, a detective mystery middle-grade début, and a brilliant non-fiction proposal from journalist Marianne Eloise.
What skills do you need for your role?
A keen eye for detail is vital for editorial work, contracts and royalty statements. Agents are the author’s advocate so you have to be up to speed with the industry and that often means networking, as well as having good interpersonal skills, knowing how to have tough conversations and how to counsel and support your clients. Also, get comfortable with numbers—they’re essential for working out if your author is getting a good deal or not.
What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
Keep up to date with industry news, follow the agents and the publishers you’re interested in on Twitter and engage with what you find there. In simpler times, I’d advise asking people for a coffee or a quick chat about their route into publishing but alas, 2020 changed all that (luckily the great people at The Spare Room Project have come up with a Zoom solution that I recommend people check out).