A view from the other side – how to be a Literary Agent

Jonny Geller

Candice: I was going to write a post about the book I have just finished reading, ‘Reckless’ by Andrew Gross.  However, though it is a perfectly readable book, and I finished it, I wouldn’t say it broke any boundaries or I could add anything to it, so I’m not sure what I’d write about it.

So, I’ve been trawling the web for ideas and found this interesting interview with a Literary Agent. Obviously, Literary Agents are like God to us. To get one would be like finding the Holy Grail.  But it seems no one wants to bite.  So I thought it would be useful to see the other side of this conversation.

The interview is with Jonny Geller from Curtis Brown.  He represents some big names including John LeCarre and Adele Parks.  It seems he fell on to his role by chance.  But I have to say that is the case with a lot of careers I think, I certainly didn’t come out of my degree and decide to become a Marketer (though I did want to be in something creative like writing or acting), I worked my way around to it.  I often think that’s better as you have time to develop into what you want.

The most interesting piece in the interview is the kind of authors he is looking for.  “We get around 13,000 manuscripts a year and I’m looking for someone who is a career writer.”  He wants some one who is driven to write above all else, and of course some one who can generate a stream of books which he can make money from.  Now, at which point in out covering letter have they missed the fact Phil and I have ideas for a seven book series….

He also doesn’t rate social media. “I think social media is really interesting, because I don’t think it works for most writers.” He thinks it actually means they are giving all their hard-earned ideas away for free.  Hum, I’m not sure if I agree, I think you can tease through social media to get more of an audience, especially the younger ones.

However, the most important point to me in the interview is this, “It certainly doesn’t matter if an author is good-looking or not because sometimes that actually gets in the way funnily enough.”  Phil, I don’t think we need to worry about that head shot quite so much…

Read the interview, it’s a useful insight into the literary world.


Filed under Candice, Writing

3 responses to “A view from the other side – how to be a Literary Agent

  1. Interesting…… Thanks for sharing. And nice to know you don’t need to be pretty to sell books 😛

  2. Pingback: Pity the man who has to say no | nolanparker

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