Curtis Brown Literary Agency hosted a fabulous Discovery Day on Twitter last Friday. This was a great online event and they will be scheduling another one in the New Year so it’s well worth keeping an eye on @cbcreative to find out when.
In the morning there was an opportunity to pitch your book idea directly to the Curtis Brown team using the hashtag #PitchCB. If an agent liked the tweet that was an invitation to then submit directly to that agent.
In the afternoon there were opportunities to ask Antonia Honeywell (The Ship) and Kate Hamer (Girl in the Red Coat) about their writing process and get some writing tips. Some of the fabulous tips tweeted included: –
- Make sure your first page asks a question which the reader wants answered. Every novel is a mystery story
- Write your synopsis as though you’re recommending a book you’ve loved to a friend you think should read it – forget you wrote it
- Scenes in novels rarely need to be longer than 1000-1500 words. If yours goes on pages & pages, do some cutting
- To beat procrastination, glue self to desk with a promise you can stop after 20 mins. When the time is up, you won’t be able to
- The stuff that you write that makes you go ‘uh oh, this is a bit unusual/strange/where did that come from?’ Go with that
- Don’t be too SHOUTY. Less can be more. Lots of us write dramatic scenes in shouty ways – go back and calm them down in the edit
- Don’t write to rules or what you think you *should* do, write what you want.
- Keeping faith is important. Not always easy, but important
The last scheduled event was ‘ask the agent’ – some of the questions and answers were: –
I’m thrilled to have interest from several literary agents. How do I know which agent is right for me? Is there a key factor?
Check them out – twitter, online client lists, acknowledgements in books.
Meet up with them! It’s a long-term relationship & need to feel unambiguous trust, empathy, meeting-of-minds, inspiration…
If agents complement your MS, you’re targeting the right people, but you’ve yet to secure rep, what wld you look to resolve first?
Keep going – and make sure your pitch for the book is razor-sharp.
If an agent asks for the full ms, how long does it normally take to make a decision? Thank you
It really varies, but most agents aim for within a month. There are definitely busier periods though…
Does it help or hinder if an author has self-published before approaching an agent with a different novel
It does no harm (it used to be looked down on) and now can be very positive. However, publishers buy on the strength of book.
If you’ve proactively promoted it and used the process to develop your author ‘brand’ then it can definitely help
How does an author’s book become available to libraries?
The library has to buy them. Works well if borrowers ask for them!