We asked Lucy Luck of the Lucy Luck Agency some quickfire questions:
1/How would you describe your taste in books in three words?
Quality, character, plot
2/What is the best and worst thing about your job?
Best – being the first to read a new talent. Worst – having to disappoint people, either submissions or not being able to place an author with a publisher
3/What are you working on at the moment?
Catherine O’Flynn’s new novel THE NEWS WHERE YOU ARE is being published next year, as is Craig Silvey’s brilliant JASPER JONES. I also have a first-time novelist I’m working with, looking forward to sending out her novel in the new year. That, and many other things fill my days.
4/What book would you have liked to have agented?
Most recently, I read Samantha Harvey’s THE WILDERNESS, and thought it astonishing. Also, Tana French’s IN THE WOODS – brilliantly written compelling psychological crime.
5/What inspires you in a writer?
The ability to sit down alone and write on a page regardless of whether others will read the work.
6/What top tip would you give to an unpublished writer?
Don’t write to be published. Don’t take rejection personally. Do realise how difficult it is to make a living out of books.
7/What’s the most common mistake writers make in submission letters?
Asking if they can send their manuscript (needs a response, which I don’t have time for). Saying ‘lots of friends have read this and think it’s great’ – it doesn’t matter.
8/What writer would you like to have round for tea?
I think I would have liked to meet Graham Greene.
9/What could writers do to promote themselves and their writing?
The best thing is to work with your publisher, let the publicist do their job but be as amenable as possible to any options. Make sure you are considerate of the efforts of all those involved in the publishing of the book, from editor to assistant to marketing to production to publicist. And be willing to answer many strange or repetitious questions.
10/How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next five years?
Ebooks will make a difference, more discounting, a greater power of independant bookshops and word of mouth via the internet. Bestsellers will sell more and other titles will sell less, but I suspect there will be more books becoming bestsellers from humble beginnings – small publishers, or online bookselling – which will make publishing more of a gamble, and will drive down advances for first books but drive them up for those whose first book has been successful. Non-fiction will become a lot more difficult to place.