Former World Book Night c.e.o. Julia Kingsford and agent Charlie Campbell are launching a new literary and marketing agency.
Kingsford Campbell Literary & Marketing Agents, London, will begin business in June, providing traditional literary agent services for authors, as well as offering brand, marketing and digital strategy services.
Former Transworld publisher and m.d. and publisher of Blue Door, Patrick Janson-Smith, will become the non-executive chair of the agency.
Campbell has been an agent at Ed Victor Ltd for 10 years. His departure follows the recent news that agent Sophie Hicks would also be leaving Ed Victor to set up her own eponymous agency.
Kingsford, who is also a former head of marketing at Foyles, told The Bookseller: "I've known Charlie well for about four years, and we've often spoken about the future of the industry, and the idea of a book-focused marketing agency. Eventually, we thought we would be able to do it together with our complementary skills."
Campbell's list includes clients Will Hill, Mark Forsyth, Rebecca Front, Will Storr and Lucy Cooke. Kingsford said she would also look to build "a small list", focussed on "great writing". She said: "I have very catholic tastes, and I want is to find great writing, not necessarily in a pompous, literary way, just writing where the author is able to tell the story in the best way possible."
Campbell said: “I've always believed that the relationship between author and agent is a very special one but we can do more. Authors know there are more paths to market than ever, but finding the right one is key. We will help them prepare and then take the journey with them. Julia is the perfect person to help shape our authors' careers right from the beginning. Plus, I've wanted to work with Patrick ever since I met him. He epitomises the best of the industry.”
Janson-Smith said: "I am so, so happy to have been invited to hitch my battered old wagon to a couple of visibly rising stars. Let us hope this proves to be a case of the past informing the present to create the future."
The agency will not have a dedicated office to begin with, and Kingsford will continue her work developing business and marketing at ValoBox. Foreign rights at the agency will be handled by ILA Ltd.
Asked if the agency would consider publishing authors' books itself, Kingsford said: "I don't think there's an agent in the country who isn't considering it, when the opportunities are there. Our aim will always be to find happy homes for our authors, but if there's a project we believe in that doesn't quite fit somewhere, I think we definitely have the skills in marketing and elsewhere to make successes."