What is your role at the agency?
I’m a Translation Rights Agent. My role is to get our authors publishing deals in other languages. We (the Rights Team) are across all the books at the agency. We develop pitches for the books and send them to editors/publishers/rights teams in other countries with the aim of securing a publishing deal for the author in as many languages as possible. That’s a very, very abridged definition of the role. There’s a huge amount of work that goes into making those deals happen!
How did you get into Publishing?
A strange mixture of bad luck, good luck and timing. In 2012, during my second year of university, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (the bad luck) and had to take the rest of the year off to have chemotherapy.
While I was undergoing treatment, I wrote an irreverent blog about my experience (which I find too embarrassing to look at now) and it got shared online a fair bit. It ended up reaching Camilla at DA (the good luck) and when she found out I was studying English and was interested in working in publishing, she kindly offered me some work experience.
A year after I finished my degree, Camilla was looking for an intern and got in touch to see if I was interested, which I certainly was! I had just started a full-time job working back-office admin at a stockbrokers but the company were really supportive and let me work four days a week while I commuted to London one day a week to intern with Camilla. Six months later, a part-time role as an assistant to the Rights team came up (the timing) and Mary gave me my first proper publishing job! Since 2016, I’ve been working full-time at DA building an exciting career in Rights.
I was extra lucky that DA was the company I got the opportunity with. I got to learn the publishing business from the most talented, intelligent, hard-working, motivated, enthusiastic and compassionate team in London/probably the world!
What’s the best part of your job?
Arghhh too many to name! Firstly, being paid to talk about books. I still find it ridiculous when I’m practicing pitching books out loud that this is my job.
I love the book fairs, one of the most important parts of being a translation rights agent. It’s when we meet with international publishers in person and discuss books et al. It’s a huge privilege to meet with book people across the world. I’ve met some amazing, inspiring people over the years. I love that I get to travel abroad, whether it be book fairs or to meet publishers in their offices. It’s an exciting part of the job which I don’t take for granted.
But above all, I love dealmaking. There’s nothing more exciting than getting that offer email from a publisher – I still squeal! We work hard to champion our brilliant authors across the world so it is brilliant to see the hard work pay off.
What do you look for in a book?
I’m notoriously eclectic in my reading choices and read across most genres. Atmosphere really draws me in. I love a distinctive setting so read a lot of books set in other countries. Voice is key (something I learnt at DA) and I have come to realise I’ll read just about anything that has a great voice.
Recent reads include Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason and As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. Also, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A F Steadman, as part of DA Children’s Agency Book Club!
What’s on your “to be read list”?
My TBR could fill a library. Here’s a quick selection, old and new: Colleen Hoover (open to any suggestions of where to start!), People Person by Candice Carty-Williams, Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li, Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, Wild Swans by Jung Chang, Exiles by Jane Harper, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
Who’s your favourite fictional character?
At this moment, I’m craving omniscient wisdom. So, it’s Dumbledore.
Go to reading snack?
I don’t know if I snack that much while reading. But a small glass of wine and some ready salted crisps sounds pretty good.
Book you’re most looking forward to reading?
My next David Sedaris. Me and my brother like to read and regurgitate the funniest bits to each other.
What book do you wish you could read again for the first time?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for sure. I read that book cover to cover for 16 hours straight to make sure no one spoiled ANYTHING for me. Another book is Every Dead Thing by John Connolly, so much atmosphere and pace, I could barely tear my eyes away.