As promised, I am mighty pleased to introduce you to Adam Gauntlet, my agent at Peters Fraser & Dunlop (PFD). I have quizzed him about what it is to be a literary agent, and, crucially, what he is looking for from prospective author, and he has kindly answered below. A true gent. He is a cracking agent – and he won’t mind me saying this – rocks a great hair cut. Let the Q & A begin. Hope it helps…
What qualities do you need to be a literary agent?
A keen eye, strong editorial instincts and persistence.
How did you get started?
I started off working over PFD’s backlist titles, before moving over to work in our Dramatic Rights Department, selling book-to-film/TV rights and book-to-stage rights. Aside from book agenting, I now handle all dramatic stage rights at the agency.
What’s the best part about being a literary agent?
The thrill of closing a deal for a client you love and seeing their work reach a wider audience.
What mistakes do prospective clients make?
Uninspiring pitches fed by half-baked submission letters.
Describe the perfect approach from a prospective client.
I don’t think there should be a prescriptive answer to this. What I will say, as a continuation of the above, is that a well-wrought and thought-out submission letter can really make all the difference.
How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy?
Beautiful and erudite writing will always transcend the whims of the market and ultimately find its natural home.
What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?
I expect an author to be dedicated to the refinement of their craft and be willing to take onboard constructive criticism.
What’s something coming out now/soon that you’ve represented and are excited about?
A memoir by Bob Dylan’s tour manager, Victor Maymudes, titled Another Side of Bob Dylan. It will be published by St. Martin’s Press in autumn 2014.
What sort of genres are you on the lookout for in submissions?
On the whole I’m more drawn towards commercial literary fiction and narrative non-fiction, though am perennially interested in crime and thrillers. That said, good writing can often be difficult to categorize; I’m happy to consider most things.
How can aspiring authors contact you/send in a submission?
Email (preferred) or postal submission. My email is: email@example.com
What’s your advice to an aspiring author?
Believe in what you’re writing and always be aware of the market.
So if you needed to discover what agents are looking for, now you know! Adam is open to queries. To read more about what Adam & PFD represent, plus see their submissions guidelines, please go here. A huge thank you to Adam for taking the time for this post.
**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**