Thursday, 5 July 2012

Roving Reporter, Claire Saxby reports on the AGENTS' PANEL

In the historic building housing the NSW's Writers' Centre
Jill Corcoran from Herman Agency of New York 
Jill represents picture books, chapter books, middle grade and ya fiction, and illustration. She has a long history in working in many areas where she is launching new products to the market. Which is what new books are.
Her most important role as an agent is in finding talent for publishers.  She then works with them to make them fabulous. She helps creators to find their voice, and grow their career. Placing the right projects in the right place to make the most impact.  The main things she looks for in a new manuscript is originality, works out where there's a place for it and that it's saleable.
She needs to love it and to know that the market has a place for them.
She gets lots of queries and now has two interns to read them. She does pick up people from the slush pile and does represent Australians. 
Frances Plumpton, Frances Plumpton agency, New ZealandBegan working as a children's librarian and loved working with books and their readers. When she was made redundant she worked in a series of jobs related to children's books before starting with Richards agency. 
She now runs her own agency as of 1 June 2012
What does an agent do for their fee?
Nurtures you in craft and career.
Develops a strategic plan for you
Advocates negotiates and mediates for you.
Encourage and reality check.
Cheer squad and shoulder to cry on.
Office manager.  
Sandra Morris illustrators',  New Zealand
Looks for new talent in Australia and sometimes from Europe.
She is happy if illustrators do their own thing as well as the markets are small and people have to make a living.
Although if she does make a sale she expects to represent for all subsequent projects there.
She supports illustrators having multiple styles but suggests keeping publisher in loops if you propose changing style radically on a project. She believes a variety of styles can be of advantage to both illustrator and publisher. 
Brian Cook, The Authors Agent & manuscript appraisal agency
Background in sales marketing and editing.
Now runs manuscript appraisal agency and literary agency. Reps adults and children's creators. Wants to work with more especially those with more than one book in them. 
Approach agency with ms complete rather than with idea.
Do your research, it helps to show you are serious about your work.
It's all about relationships.
If approached about taking on the second in a three book series where the first has done well online in the US would he be interested? He said not really as the intellectual copyright for that book has already been out there and would have to consider the second book as a first book. So second book would have to stand alone. Even if it worked for Matthew Reilly.
Brian referred people to his website for a schedule of fees for manuscript assessments. 
Other agents said they couldn't charge for considering ms.  
Jill said she was happy to consider queries from conference attendees and gave directions for addressing emails. Guidelines are on her blog. 

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