Notes from live event with agent, Camilla Wray

Camilla Wray, originator of PITCH AN AGENT, is the Crime & Thriller agent at the Darley Anderson Literary TV & Film Agency. She studied English Literature and Psychology at Cardiff University, specialising in novel writing and abnormal psychology. In 2003 she co-founded a successful business and worked on this until 2005, when she decided to follow her love of stories. After gaining a distinction from the University of the Arts, she worked for a national newspaper until she joined the Darley Anderson Agency in 2007. The Darley Anderson Agency is an international market leader for commercial crime and thrillers, and represents No.1 bestselling authors such as Lee Child, John Connolly, Martina Cole, Tana French and Tim Weaver.

 

And author, Imran Mahmood (You Don’t Know Me, to be published by Penguin Random House in May)

 

How did they start working together?

Imran sent his book out to five agents and all asked to meet him – he decided to work with Camilla because of her enthusiasm, and passion for his book and writing.

 

*Top Tip – remember to follow the submission guidelines on each agency’s site – don’t give agents a reason to say ‘no’ before reading your work.

 

What is Imran’s book about?

It’s a crime book – with elements of a love story/friendship – Camilla compared it to the podcasts, Serial and Making a Murderer in her pitch letter to publishers.

 

What work did Camilla do with Imran to get the book ready?

Camilla is very ‘hands on’ with authors – she gets involved with the ms. and can polish the structure, voice and linguistic wording. She is able to see the bigger picture and to suggest changes to make it work.

 

How did the submission process go with publishers?

Camilla sent it out to 11 publishers and 10 said no. They felt it was too different and didn’t fit in with the crime genre writing on their lists. However, the eleventh publisher took his time and finally decided to offer. It will be published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House in May.

 

*Top Tips – when sending your book out to agents, remember to use other cultural references – books/movies/music etc. Broaden out your references.

 

Think about how you communicate your book to others – how do you talk about your book. How will your editor talk to your readers about your book?

 

Warn agents if there are spoilers in your synopsis. Camilla likes to read the submissions as a reader – she wants the writing to unfold and to enjoy a pace in the narrative.

 

Play around with the format of your pitch.

 

Include a blurb in your letter/covering email.

 

Make people stop and read your book.  Make the opener really strong.

Write for your Reader

 

Stand out from the competition by making it the best you can. If you’ve done three edits tell the agent. Be proud of that.

 

Give a pitch that the agent can take to the publisher. Mould for pitch and blurb

Do your pitch letter as the email rather than as an attachment.

 

 

 

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