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Monday, 29 January 2018

Meet Literary Agent Katie Nash

Today we are delighted to welcome Literary Agent Kate Nash to Sincerely Book Angels Blog.

Hi Kate, thanks for joining us today, how long have you been an agent?
I set up the Kate Nash Literary Agency in 2009.

Can you give us an idea of what a day in the life of a literary agent is like.
Every day is different but in a typical week I would usually have one or two days out of the office. I’m usually in London on these days, meeting with publishers and my authors. A busy day I might have three or four meetings followed by a party in the evening. By the time I’m heading back home on the train I am exhausted! I also travel to other parts of the UK to see authors or attend events but London is the centre of most publishing activity. Most of the week is spent in the office on my laptop. Most communication is by email so I’m writing many emails during the day about all sorts of topics but all to do with protecting or advancing my author’s interests. There are admin and finance matters to attend to as well as most likely a few phone calls. If I’m catching up with one of my authors we might be chatting on the phone for an hour. I have a filter coffee machine which I visit for regular top ups as well as Westie who likes to have her break after lunch so unless I’m super busy, I fit in a short dog walk then. I try and take breaks now and again to check social media or see how my authors are doing in the book charts or any promotions they might be in. The day goes really quickly.

Many writers hear the words "It's not quite what we are looking for." What are you specifically looking for in a book?
I’m looking for a gripping story with great characters whatever the genre. When agents say “it’s not quite what we are looking for” it is because we simply don’t have time give detailed feedback on everything we are reading.

What are your biggest pet peeves about submissions (ie what people do wrong)?
As long as people are polite and email in their material I am not too worried about writers following some arbitrary set of rules. I do get annoyed to be sent unsolicited manuscripts in the post – because there is no system to deal with these and nowhere in the office to store vast amounts of paper waiting to be read. Especially if they come from Australia in expensive looking bindings in a genre that I don’t even represent! I am annoyed the writer has wasted their time and money when a simple search on the internet would have told them not to bother.

What really puts you off in a query letter?
Writers asking me to look at something in a genre I don’t represent even though they know it is not something I don’t represent. E.g. “Dear Mrs Nash, While I am aware that you do not represent poetry, I have taken the liberty to enclose my collection of poems…”.
Apart from this I am fairly relaxed about query letters and don’t read them too closely. I go straight in to start reading the writing.

What advice would you give regarding cover letters?
I know that agents have different views on this but for me, just keep it short and simple. “Dear Mrs Nash, I enclose the opening chapter to my 80,000 word detective novel set in Dorset. I have never been published before and I would like you as my agent because I am a fan of Faith Martin. Yours sincerely, Crime Writer” is fine.

How does it feel when a MS lands on your lap and you know it's the one?
I am always pretty much absolutely gripped from the start and I start thinking it is the best thing I have read in weeks, or all year!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep honing your craft and pay attention to any feedback that you get from industry professionals. If your ambition is to have a successful career as a traditionally published author, be prepared for a lot of work.

What is the best way to approach an agent?
Exactly as they outline in their submission guidelines. These can be found on agency websites. Mine is here

What is the most exciting event in the calendar for an agent?
In the calendar: when one of my authors is nominated for an Award. Super exciting and less predictable: when my authors’ books hit the bestseller charts. Clinching a great book deal is also a moment to have a bit of a dance around the office and get the champagne out.

How do you go about securing rights for other parts of the world?
I work with a specialist translation rights agency, RightsPeople.

Do you deal with television and film rights?
This is whole different world to books so it is best to work with specialists. My list is represented by Collective Talent.

Would you like to write a book yourself?
I’ve had nine novels and novellas published, one co-written with another author, and now all out of print. I gave up writing when I realised that it was more fun and satisfying to work with writers far more talented then me.

Are you open for submissions?

Thanks so much Kate for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat to us.

Book Angel x

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