Good morning folks, and today I’m delighted to welcome literary agent Caroline Hardman to my blog. Here, she discusses how her career plans would have been very different if she wasn’t a literary agent, what she looks for in covering emails and her guilty pleasure genres.
Over to you, Caroline.
1) Did you see yourself becoming a literary agent after you left school? Did you actually have any other career plans?
Definitely not. I didn’t know what a literary agent was! When I left high school, I was always going to be a dancer (and went to full-time dance school), but decided it wasn’t for me after all. As a university student I just wanted to carry on being a student for ever, so I did a masters with a view to doing a PhD, but found after my masters that I was yearning for the bright lights of London, realised I loved books, so I decided on a career in publishing (like a lot of other people, as it turned out). But I still hadn’t thought about a career as an agent until I got my first job at the agency.
2) How did you find leaving the North for the South? (Manchester to London)
I love the North and think I still have a northern sensibility, but I always wanted to come to London. It wasn’t a big transition for me as lots of my university friends were coming to London too, and I loved it as soon as I arrived. I consider it home now, absolutely. Not that I’d say no to living somewhere like New York or any other big city – I love cities.
3) Did you always plan to set up your own agency?
Not really. I’ve always seen where the wind blows, to a certain extent, so it was really about the right circumstances and timing, though now it seems like a no brainer. When I told my friends, their response was something like ‘of course you were always going to work for yourself – you don’t like being told what to do.’!
4) What do you look for in a covering email?
Clarity, concise information about the author and the book, good English, no typos, and most importantly, an enticing sounding novel or proposal. And it’s always nice when people bother to say why they’ve submitted to you or shown that they’ve done some sort of research before sending, but it’s not essential.
5) Is there something in the crime genre that you haven’t seen or read about previously and think ‘I could see that in a book.’?
Not that I can think of right now, but that’s the joy of the business – I like it when authors surprise me with their ideas and I’m sure there are so many new directions for crime. I’d love to find more regional crime and diverse characters.
6) What is your guilty pleasure genre?
There have been guilty pleasure books (hello, 50 Shades), but I don’t think I could classify a whole genre that way.
7) What was the last book you read and did you enjoy it?
I read I AM, I AM, I AM by Maggie O’Farrell, which I loved. I’m currently reading THE DRY by Jane Harper (and next on my large to-read pile is MISSING, PRESUMED – a bit embarrassed I’ve not read it yet). Sorry, that’s more than what you asked for, but it’s hard to stop talking about books.
8) Completely random – do you like Rod Stewart and do you have a favourite song of his?
Ha ha, not really. The song I know best is Da Ya Think I’m Sexy. Does it count if it’s a cover?!
Yes, it does. Thanks for your time, Caroline.