What is your role at the agency?
I’m a Junior Agent at the Children’s Book and Illustration Agencies, and I also assist Clare Wallace.
How did you get into publishing?
My journey to Publishing was (luckily!) fairly straightforward. I started off as a Bookseller at Waterstones, which I did for six months after graduating from university. I had done a couple of PR internships but quickly realised it wasn’t for me, so decided to look into Publishing. My first real experience of the industry was through an internship at Head of Zeus, which lasted until I got my first full-time job in Publishing, as a Rights Assistant at Macmillan Children’s Books. I was at Macmillan for a year and a half before joining Darley Anderson as the Children’s Book Agency assistant in 2019.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with my clients! I love seeing what they’ve come up with, brainstorming ideas, reading their manuscripts and matchmaking their work with publishers.
It’s so exciting to work with so many talented people and I feel hugely privileged to be working with them on a daily basis. And there really is no greater or more exhilarating feeling than sending your clients’ work out into the world in the hopes that someone else will love it as much as you do!
What do you look for in a book?
There are a few of things I always look for when I read a manuscript: a great voice, a captivating story and memorable characters. I want to feel something when I read a book, so anything with heart, warmth and a sprinkling of humour is always welcome. I also love to see concepts or ideas that I haven’t seen before. Originality is key in the crowded children’s book market and whenever I’m considering submissions, some of the most important questions I always have at the forefront of my mind are “what’s this story’s unique selling point? Is it saying anything new?” We’re looking for stories that will stand out from the crowd and that bring a fresh take or perspective to children’s literature.
What’s on your “to be read” list?
So many books and the list keeps growing! I desperately want to read Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series after having watched the Netflix adaptation (which I loved!). Other books on my TBR pile are Circe by Madeline Miller, the latest Emily Henry novel and anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have no doubt that this list will keep on growing!
Who is your favourite fiction character?
This is a tough one. Strangely, I don’t think I’ve ever really had a favourite fictional character but I tend to root for the underdogs. Characters who everyone else writes off but who come back fighting. And any character with a kind heart – I love books that celebrate kindness as part of a character’s strengths rather than seeing it as a weakness!
What is your go to reading snack?
Biscuits, obviously. There’s only one right answer here. Although I could also accept toast with butter and jam. Both preferably accompanied by a cup of tea (in the afternoon) or coffee (in the morning). Heaven!
What soon to be published book are you most looking forward to reading?
There are too many to name! I’ve been waiting to read Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman for months and I’m delighted to say I’ve finally started!
We are also running a submissions webinar on Wednesday 29th June at 5:30pm. Registration can do completed at the link below.