Thursday, 16 December 2010
How To Get A Literary Agent, by Sarah Hilary
A couple of years back, I persuaded writer friend Sarah Hilary to come with me to the Fish Publishing award ceremony, part of the West Cork Lit Fest. (What, you haven’t been? Well poor you...) Sarah had won one of the prizes – and I could give her a lift from Cork airport to the lovely town of Bantry. We had a very happy drive, nattering away, and went straight to the library for the opening of the Festival. They’d pushed the moveable shelves back to make room for all the rows of chairs, and I was sitting next to one of the said shelves- labelled ‘Crime’.
‘One day, you’ll have a whole row of books in places like this,’ I said. Because she will. No question. How do I know – well, it’s not difficult – she writes intelligent, intriguing crime novels – good enough to be noticed by a top agent, even in those early days – and was stubborn enough, like Yours Truly – not to give up when it would have been so so easy to.
Getting an agent is tough stuff. Persuading someone that your work is good enough to represent, sell, spend time on, is tough. And giving up at the first fence ain’t an option – if you want to succeed.
So I was very very happy to read on Sarah’s blog that she has been signed – and in her inimitable fashion, she relates the stages of How To get An Agent – HERE!!! And not just any old agent, either... oh no.
Read and enjoy. Especially the bit about not giving up...
Many many congrats to Sarah.
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Thank you, V, for this lovely write-up. I well remember that evening in the library at Bantry! The whole of that trip was a wonderful injection of confidence at a time when I needed it, as well as a chance to learn about my craft, from peers and readers alike.
(Do you remember the hash I made of talking to the two ladies who quizzed me in the pub after I'd had a G&T? As you and I left into the cool of the midnight air, I asked if you knew who they were, and you said, 'Agents, I think.' And when they'd asked me what crime writers I read, I'd said something that could be interpreted as, 'I don't really like reading crime, although I do want to write it.' I made sure to rectify that shortfall, and many others, after Bantry!)
The more I'm in this business, the more I realise that it's all about staying power, and good grace, and paying attention, and giving thanks for every bit of good advice that comes your way. You gave me plenty of excellent advice on that trip, so thank you. And for this - the virtual champagne (which should have appeared at the top of YOUR great news), the celebratory post - thank you.