New Literary Agent Listing: Maria Brannan
firstwriter.com – Friday April 28, 2023
Has very wide ranging tastes in fiction and is interested in writing for adult, new adult/crossover and YA readers. She loves character-driven novels with a commercial bent that spark imagination or discussion. In particular she has a passion for genre fiction - especially fantasy with memorable characters and great world-building; horror with a unique concept or perspective; and softer, genre-crossing science fiction. She is also keen on voice-led and emotive reading group fiction; love stories and rom-coms that make you fall for both of leads; unnerving, twisty crime writing; thrillers with a great hook; and anything with a high concept or speculative edge.
I'm a poet. And I celebrate the days I write nothing
wbur.org – Friday April 28, 2023
During the 30 days of April, poetry, normally not-in-the-limelight, earns a hashtag: it’s #NationalPoetryMonth. It's as though Emily Dickinson has won a Publisher's Clearinghouse prize. There's a major uptick in poems studied, written, performed, and published as poetry becomes the focus of national educational organizations and local community arts counsels, heralded by U.S. Presidents and English language arts teachers alike.
I've been writing and publishing poetry since I was 15. It's usually a quiet gig. Come April, though, my day planner is flooded with readings, public appearances, online events, interviews and contests to establish or judge — and I'm only a state poet laureate. I can't imagine what U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon's calendar looks like for those four weeks. All this fanfare for a genre that won't be touched by most literary agents.
Without freedom of publishing, culture withers
telegraph.co.uk – Friday April 28, 2023
In a world of ideological polarisation, books are in a hazardous position. On the Left, we have those who want to rewrite history, to vandalise our cultural heritage – as illustrated by Penguin Random House’s assault on the works of Roald Dahl, disclosed by The Telegraph in February – and to introduce a literary landscape where the experience of the individual is favoured over the unfettered imagination.
Yet while such small-mindedness is prevalent on both sides of the Atlantic, America is also seeing a rise in censorship and book banning from the Right – which, fortunately, is yet to make it to British shores. The New York Times reported that according to the American Library Association, attempted bans have seen an alarming rise, with 2,571 titles under fire in 2022, compared with a mere 223 in 2020. Many of these books are estimable, but seem to fall victim to their thematic content, which doesn’t always sit well with middle America. Third on the list, for instance, was Toni Morrison’s debut novel The Bluest Eye (first published in 1970), which not only features a racially abused black child who yearns to have blue eyes, but also contains a hefty amount of sex and violence.
New Literary Agent Listing: Sabhbh Curran
firstwriter.com – Thursday April 27, 2023
I am on the hunt for literary, book club fiction and psychological suspense fiction. What I look for is well-crafted and stylish prose, complex characterisations and probably at least a hint of darkness: obsessive friendships and relationships; loneliness; trauma; dysfunctional families; the strangeness of urban life. I’m also drawn to beautifully written, researched and evoked historical fiction.
In non-fiction, I’m particularly keen to hear from chefs, mixologists and food writers but I am also interested in narrative non-fiction, history, travel writing, current affairs, popular science, psychology, MBS, fashion and popular culture. I would like to hear from non-fiction writers (especially journalists and activists) who speak to a younger audience. I have a real soft spot for anything related to art or art history, whatever the genre.
Ripley-Duggan joins The Theseus Agency as literary agent
thebookseller.com – Wednesday April 26, 2023
Louise Ripley-Duggan, founder of the the Ripley-Duggan Agency, has joined The Theseus Agency as a literary agent.
Ripley-Duggan started her career in literary management at the Blake Friedman Literary Agency after graduating from university. She set up her agency in 2019 and built up a list of clients, most notably Isabelle Schuler, for whom she secured a two-book deal with Raven in 2021 for Lady MacBethad.
Inaugural SciFidea Award – Dyson Sphere Science Fiction Writing Contest
locusmag.com – Tuesday April 25, 2023
The SciFidea Writing Center has announced the inaugural SciFidea Award – Dyson Sphere Science Fiction Writing Contest. SciFidea is based in Singapore, and aims to “encourage and develop science fiction and help authors monetize their works”. The top 10 winning stories will be awarded $20,000, with shortlisted authors winning $2,000. Winning stories will additionally be “recommended to be published and adapted to other art forms/media (such as animation or movie); some outstanding works will be translated into other languages and be showcased in foreign countries.”
Agent Elizabeth Roy to retire
thebookseller.com – Tuesday April 25, 2023
Elizabeth Roy, founder of the Elizabeth Roy Literary Agency, is retiring after nearly 50 years working in publishing. The business will pass to Emily Talbot at United Agents at the end of April.
Roy started her publishing career as Mark Collins’ secretary at Fontana, William Collins’ paperback list and work at Eyre Methuen, Hamish Hamilton Children’s Books and Knight Books, Hodder & Stoughton’s children’s paperback imprint, followed.
Twelve years later she started her agency at a time when there were few children’s specialist agents. She launched the careers of the late Marcus Sedgwick and Jackie Morris among others and has proudly overseen the development of many other writing and illustrating careers, including that of Steve Antony, Nicola Killen and Nicola Morgan.
Military vet in debt after paying publisher £14k for novel they printed full of mistakes
walesonline.co.uk – Tuesday April 25, 2023
A military veteran claims he paid a publishing house £14K to bring out his book - which they printed full of mistakes. Granddad Joseph Hentosz, 79, says AuthorHouse promised his novel would get the 'Hollywood treatment' and promoted around the world.
He had spent nine years writing his autobiographical story ‘From the Brink of Death and the Gates of Hell’. It tells the incredible story of how in 1947 his mother met a Polish soldier in Blackpool and took her two young sons to live with him in Poland - but forced to live in a cellar.
Joseph says he paid the publishers 14K over three years - who said the money was for 'scriptwriting services', promotion and exhibits. He says the self-publishing firm also promised him it would be shown to TV producers and movie executives.
But when the book came out Joseph says they had published his rough manuscript which was full of incorrect dates and spelling and grammar errors. He says he only discovered the mistakes when he spotted the book for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Waterstones.
The book then only generated $79 in sales - and Joe claims the publishers told him it was too small amount to pay him. The Royal Air Force vet of Bridlington, Yorkshire, says he has been left in debt and with a stress-related illness as a result.
New Literary Agency Listing: Hannah Sheppard Literary Agency
firstwriter.com – Tuesday April 25, 2023
I represent both adult and children’s fiction (as well as a small amount of non-fiction) and, more than anything, I want to be entertained by a great story while caring deeply about your characters. In general, I love bold, distinctive voices, intriguing stories with a strong hook and flawed characters with something to learn. I want characters who are truly diverse – let’s be inclusive, body positive and joyful in our representation. I also like big, mind-bending ideas and combinations of genres that feel fresh and create something new…
Bookseller survey finds debut authors struggle with lack of support
thebookseller.com – Monday April 24, 2023
More than half of authors (54%) responding to a survey by The Bookseller on their experiences of publishing their debut book have said the process negatively affected their mental health. Though views were mixed, just 22% of the 108 respondents to the survey described a positive experience overall with their first publication.
Of the survey’s respondents, 61% primarily wrote adult fiction, followed by 19% non-fiction and 17% children’s fiction. Around half of respondents (51%) had been published by an independent publisher while 48% were published by one of the Big Four (Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Hachette). The remaining 1% selected “other” and were a mix of self-published authors and “hybrid publishing”.
Of those who described a negative impact on their mental health 47% were published by an independent publisher while 44% were published by one of the Big Four with the remaining 9% citing “other”.
Among the majority who said they had a negative experience of debut publication, anxiety, stress, depression and "lowered" self-esteem were cited, with lack of support, guidance or clear and professional communication from their publisher among the factors that contributed.