Our first event of 2016 was with the agent, Laura Macdougall of Tibor Jones and Associates.
She joined Tibor Jones in March 2015 (after 5 years at Hodder & Stoughton) and has been steadily building her list. Tibor Jones is a small team of agents based in Brixham. Their most famous client is Wilber Smith and they also represent a number of music journalists/musicians. The atmosphere is fun, laidback and collaborative.
Laura’s current list is mostly made up of novelists (12 novelists, 3 or 4 non-fiction writers) but she is looking for more of both. 2 of those novelists came through the usual process – through the site – the remainder came through recommendations from friends/editors etc. Contacts can be used!
Laura spends an hour a day reading the submissions sent to her – it’s an important part of her day. However, the majority of her time is spent editing ms. and proposals.
Foreign rights are sold ‘in house’ and it’s important to consider that different territories have different tastes.
What is Laura looking for?
Fiction – literary (books which Fourth Estate, Granta, Sceptre etc. would publisher) and then more commercial fiction – including Historical Fiction. And Crime.
Top tip – be persistent – it’s a subjective industry!
What stands out in a submission letter?
Formal but not overly
Get your research done on agents
Follow an agent’s guidelines/rules
Have a great title. It’s a selling tool!
Laura recently sold an historical crime series to Headline – editors could see beyond the perceived problems (of historical fiction not doing so well) and this happens all the time. So don’t apologise for your work.
Non-fiction – cookery, travel, history, nature, narrative – quite a broad remit. She recently sold a book to Virago about genders/identity and is currently working on a book about relationships/friendships.