mid-October we could not miss the opportunity of getting Isabel Atherton the Director and Literary Agent at Creative Authors to give us an insight into her working day.
And so without further ado we hand you over to Isabel.
Isy on the seafront
Dr Keith Souter has kindly asked me to jot up a day in the life of Creative Authors Literary Agency. We are a young, boutique literary agency, established in early 2008. Our list is growing with book deals coming through and being signed off quickly. In 2011 we see 24 of our books published. We represent an eclectic list of authors and our titles range from books on knitted aliens, crime fiction, cookery books on jelly and cocktails and histories on 50s popular culture to voodoo.
Like every other agency, there is no typical day, and I personally find being a literary agent endlessly enjoyable and rewarding. The following is roughly an account of my day to day as director and literary agent at CA Ltd. I’ve listed this in an hourly fashion for ease of reading.
Hooked by Clare Gee
Apart from brainstorming new ideas with my authors, I will suggest new directions if something isn’t working or feeling a little tired. I’m also very keen on my authors promoting and marketing themselves and will suggest how best to do this, whether running a competition on their Twitter or Facebook page or starting a blog and keeping their website fresh and interesting.
When an author and I have really nailed their proposal or manuscript and it’s polished and ready to go out. I’ll settle down, research the market, see what the competition is and focus and narrow down where that book project will be best placed. Once these are submitted, I keep a track of when the response is due and follow up with publishers when appropriate.
The best outcome from a submission is naturally an auction with a number of publishers and these are delicately handled by the agency for the best possible outcome for the author. There are also times when submissions are narrowed down to one specific publisher, who we feel are the right fit. A recent such title was Dr Keith Souter’s ‘Now You're Talking! What To Say When You're Tongue-Tied And Terrified (Hodder Education, Pub. May 2011)
With all books it’s always a joy to receive that email/call from a publisher saying “Yes, we’d like to make an offer.” That always makes my day and the author’s too of course!
This is the time of day, where I’ll sit down and read the unsolicited manuscripts and proposals that have come through. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide detailed feedback to writers, but I will sometimes suggest another agency, if the work is very good but not my area of expertise.
Punk Fiction by Janine Bullman
Some evenings there will be a publishing party or a reading or book launch to attend. These can be enjoyable nights to chat to others in the industry and to have a general catch-up. The evenings also allow me to catch up with my business partner and company secretary and we will discuss how the day has gone. This can range from discussing which author is working on a particular book and how negotiations are progressing on a contract and whether there are any outstanding payments still being chased. This is a special time of day where we can think about where the business is going and how we would like to see it develop and progress.
For more information on Creative Authors Ltd and our clients, please visit our website at: www.creativeauthors.co.uk