Congrats to Caz Jones from Stoke-on-Trent, who won the Clare Jacob signed copy of 'Ophelia in Pieces' from my competition a few blogs back. As promised, here's my chat with Oli Munson her agent, who works at one of the top London book agencies, in securing publishing deals for new and existing authors.
He's got a full catalogue of clients, quite an eclectic mix actually. You guys have given me lots of feedback about the types of books you like to read yourselves so you may find some others on his list to tempt you. But I don't think I've mentioned how I got in touch with him in the first place.
Well, one of my all-time top authors is Tess Stimson. Love her books – 'Adultery Club' and 'Infidelity Chain' in particular – also liked the earlier ones, including 'Pole Position' and 'Hard News'. Turns out quite coincidentally that Blake Friedmann – the agency where Oli works – represent her, but I didn't know this when I got chatting to him at the York writing festival last year.
This year we finally met up for a lunch, so I could do a feature on my blog about their latest new author, Clare. And I wondered what actually makes him go after a particular new client? He and I met up in London a few weeks back and over a nice Italian lunch we discussed books, eye-catching new authors and all things publishing.
So for those of you who have asked me about getting your own books published, maybe there will be a few hints here… and more news next week about how I got on with the Mills & Boon team at my latest writing weekend.
One day, we were having a coffee, mulling over potential directions, when he told me about this idea that was just beginning to develop in his mind. All he had was "Nostradamus wrote 1000 quatrains. Only 952 exist today. What happened to the other 58?"
It was such a strong, high concept pitch at a time when 'The Da Vinci Code' was still riding high in the charts that I knew we could have fun with it. I ended up selling the book that became 'The Nostradamus Prophecies' in 37 countries, and 'The Third Antichrist', the third and final instalment in 'The Nostradamus Trilogy', is being published in December.'
David Mark is my most recent client, writing a wonderfully atmospheric crime series set in Hull, a city that has been previously unexplored but is absolutely right for a dark, gritty series.
He sent me his unsolicited manuscript for 'The Dark Winter' in the middle of February just before my wife and I were due to fly to Budapest on holiday. I'd actually packed some non-work related holiday reading but made the fatal mistake of packing my e-reader which had a number of manuscripts I was considering for representation, including 'The Dark Winter'.
I read the first couple of pages as the plane left Heathrow and was hooked from the first page. I finished it while in Budapest, called David when I got home to London, met him on Friday and had the manuscript on submission by the following Wednesday. A few weeks later we had four major UK publishers offering for rights with Quercus – Stieg Larsson's publisher – eventually emerging victorious after an auction.
I've since sold the book in the US, Italy, Germany and Greece so it's been a real dream in terms of how fast things have moved. It's a great book though, so I'm not totally surprised!
Sam Hayes is someone I wanted to represent because she's first and foremost a wonderful storyteller, writing what she rightly terms as 'real life fiction'. She manages to take people's most primal fears and use them as the basis for truly heart-stopping, contemporary novels.
Her Iatest novel 'Somone Else's Son' is a perfect example. I also was eager to add somebody writing female suspense in the Jodi Picoult/Sophie Hannah vein to my list so I was pleased to have the opportunity to work with Sam.
She manages to encapsulate everything that's good about the genre while still retaining her own, distinctive voice.
Till next week,