The winners will have a ten-minute private slot to get direct one-to-one feedback from agents David Headley, Simon Trewin and Sharon Bowers, or award-winning publisher Myriad’s Senior Fiction Editor Vicky Blunden (and even if you don’t win a spot, you can register for a one to one with one of our professional author story mentors*).
So, let’s find out about our industry insiders, and what they’re looking for!
Our main conference sponsor David Headley combines being a literary agent with running central London bookshop, Goldsboro Books, which specialises in signed first editions and live events: he’s on The Bookseller magazine’s Top 100 in the industry. He founded his agency in 2008, aiming to offer more, attentive individual representation for authors. DHH Literary Agency represents an eclectic range of best-selling and award-winning authors, including novelists, historians, short-story writers and children’s authors.
David says: I love discovering new and original voices and I am very influential in helping debut writers launch their careers. What I look for in the writers I represent is great storytelling, vivid characters and originality. I’d love to see literary fiction, book group/upmarket commercial women’s fiction, crime, psychological thrillers, suspense and historical novels.
Simon Trewin is a Partner in the London Literary Department at WME. He has been an agent since 1993 and is proud to have a diverse list of multi award-winning clients and has also worked extensively with media, music clients and brands
Simon says: I want to see high-concept commercial fiction that will make non-bookbuyers run to bookstores en masse! Anything gamechanging, left-field and a challenge. I welcome an email describing your current writing project to email@example.com
US editor-turned-agent Sharon Bowers is a partner at Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management in New York City. Before becoming an agent, she worked as an editor at HarperCollins. She has a particular interest in practical nonfiction, including health, food and lifestyle, with clients such as Cal Peternell, executive chef of Chez Panisse and James Beard-winners such as Amy Chaplin. She also represents a wide range of memoir and narratives, including Irish Book Award-nominated HOPSCOTCH by playwright Hilary Fannin, as well as novels such as the Anthony Award-winning THE BLACK HOUR by Lori Rader-Day.
Sharon says: I always want to read a distinctive, resonant voice and a strong point of view, no matter what the subject is. It's impossible to write specifically for the market--you have to write what you're passionate about, and the rest will follow. I never greatly enjoy gore and violence, children in peril, or excessively restrictive diets.
And what about meeting an editor who could actually publish your book? We’re lucky enough to have Vicky Blunden, Senior Fiction Editor at Myriad Editions, an independent publisher based in Brighton which is committed to nurturing new talent and publishing prize-winning fiction. Vicky has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex and worked for a literary scout before joining Myriad. She won the IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award in 2013.
Vicky says: We are always looking for original and bold new writing and we read every submission that comes in hoping that it is going to have the wow factor and sweep us away. We don't have a fixed agenda but we want to be surprised, to start reading and not be able to stop, and to know that if we love something and are really excited about it, other people will feel the same.
And we have a fuller interview with Vicky right here…