UPDATE: Agent week is over!

Thanks to our awesome agents and factioners for making it a huge success!

Head over to our Facebook group to read all the questions and responses!

2018 SEP Agent Week - Typewriter (detail)If you’re an aspiring writer, dreaming of a publishing deal and one sacred day of seeing your hard work on the shelf at your local bookstore, then you’ll likely need an agent. These mysterious beings, hidden away under thick layers of concrete, in secret locations dotted around the countryside, accessible only to those in possession of the secret words, will champion your prose, novel, poem to the big publishers.

To many of us, agents are mythic beasts who guard the doors to fame, fortune and the realisation of our dreams. There are a thousand websites out there with advice, tips and tricks on how to discover an agent and, hopefully, entice them enough to take you on as client.

Should you wish to, on those websites, you can find information on the publishing industry, what happens when you’ve snagged an agent, how to tread the minefield of getting your book out there and then the hard bit, getting people to read it.

But better surely is to ask an agent yourself?

Which isn’t always an easy thing to do. Especially if your introverted Britishness prevents you even putting digit to keyboard… Well, fear no more, the struggle is over. We have, through the kindness of four world class agents of impeccable taste, organised a week in which you can ask the questions and get your answers.

Our four founts of knowledge for the week of 24th September who be on hand to answer your questions are:

John JarroldJohn Jarrold

Between 1988 and 2002 John Jarrold ran three SFF imprints in London at Orbit, Random House and Simon & Schuster. Since 2004 he’s run the John Jarrold Literary Agency, specializing entirely in SF, Fantasy and Horror fiction.

He’s been attending SF conventions since 1973, for 15 years as a fan before he became a publishing professional.

Julie Crisp

Julie CrispJulie Crisp is an editor with over fifteen years’ experience working for three major houses across a broad spectrum of commercial titles within fiction, non-fiction and children’s. This also included three years spent working in the Australian publishing industry. Most recently she headed up the UK arm of one of the largest global brands of science fiction and fantasy, Tor.

She’s worked on bestselling and award-winning authors such as Ann Cleeves, Peter F. Hamilton, China Miéville, Neal Asher, Amanda Hocking, Naomi Novik and TV/Game partnerships including Halo, The Returned, The Walking Dead and Twin Peaks.

Jamie Cowen

Jamie CowenJamie Cowen has worked in publishing for 14 years. Before joining Ampersand in 2013 he was a commissioning editor at HarperCollins, and prior to that he worked in legal and contracts departments at HC and the Hachette Group.

Jamie is looking for genre fiction of all kinds, including crime, thrillers, SF, fantasy and horror. He is also looking for sport-related non-fiction, and commercial narrative non-fiction, and is keen to see submissions of all genres from BAME and LGBTQ writers.

Jamie’s clients at Ampersand include Mark A. Latham (The Lazarus Gate, The Iscariot Sanction and The Legion Prophecy; Titan, 2015, ‘16 and ‘17), Adrian Selby (Snakewood; Orbit, 2016), Mark Hill (Two O’Clock Boy; Sphere, 2016), Nate Crowley (100 Best Video Games and The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack; Solaris, 2017) and Joel Bird (The Book of Shed; Bonnier, 2017).

Harry Illingworth

Harry IllingworthHarry studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Northumbria University before moving to London to work in publishing.

He completed internships at Michael O’Mara Books, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan, gaining experience in different departments of the publishing industry. It was during his placement at Macmillan that he met David Headley and he was invited to join the team at Goldsboro Books, where he is currently the Marketing and Communications Manager, and a Literary Agent at the DHH Literary Agency. Harry is building his list in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.

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If you’re interested in joining the discussion, and who wouldn’t be, you’ll need to be a member of our Facebook Group. Closer to the date, we’ll be explaining how it all works on the Facebook page – some rules and whatnot to keep it all flowing. (I’d better warn the moderators and admins!)

We look forward to seeing you there!


By Geoff Matthews

G. R. Matthews began reading in the cot. His mother, at her wits end with the constant noise and unceasing activity, would plop him down on the soft mattress with an encyclopaedia full of pictures then quietly slip from the room. Growing up, he spent Sunday afternoons on the sofa watching westerns and Bond movies after suffering the dual horror of the sounds of ABBA and the hoover (Vacuum cleaner) drifting up the stairs to wake him in the morning. When not watching the six-gun heroes or spies being out-acted by their own eyebrows he devoured books like a hungry wolf in the dead of winter. Beginning with Patrick Moore and Arthur C Clarke he soon moved on to Isaac Asimov. However, one wet afternoon in a book shop in his hometown, not far from the standing stones of Avebury, he picked up the Pawn of Prophecy and started to read - and now he writes fantasy! Seven Deaths of an Empire coming from Solaris Books, June 2021. Agent: Jamie Cowen, Ampersand Agency. You can follow him on twitter @G_R_Matthews or visit his website at www.grmatthews.com.

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