Wednesday, October 3, 2012

[Link] What do literary agents really want?

by Jonny Geller, joint CEO of Curtis Brown

Times are tough in the publishing industry, but agents still need to find new authors with a story to tell

"Are you completely mad?" one of my authors asked me. "I thought your agency was deluged by manuscripts – why ask for more?"

He was wondering why Curtis Brown, one of the UK's largest literary agencies, which receives between 600 and 800 manuscripts a month, wanted to welcome yet more at Foyles in central London last month. "Discovery Day" – an open day for any unpublished writer to pitch to an agent – was designed to open up the doors of the seemingly inward-looking publishing industry.

Eight minutes of expert feedback were followed by a 15-minute surgery in the café to probe further, and then a panel discussion with a leading author, a publisher and an agent to round off the day. Three hundred and fifty writers signed up within two days.

To be honest, we didn't know what to expect.

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