Meet the agents, was a really special evening.
Araminta, Donald, Jessica and Sarah blew away some of the mystique surrounding their craft. I found their clarity refreshing and their professionalism, excellent.
Agents really do look after their clients for not only do they hand-hold, kick author's bum, and promote your work worldwide, they also ensure that the author receives a fair contract. They do know about legalities, thus ensuring that you don't get ripped off. Apparently many an author has been wrapped in an appalling contract due to dealing direct.
One single message appeared throughout the evening - the writer must also be professional. This relates to your intro. letter, synopsis and of course your treasured manuscript. Make sure that you submit as per the guidelines, which differ from agency to agency.
It was staggering to learn that about 80% of submissions have no chance of success due to errors.
The agents call the errors red flags. Here is a short list of what 'not' to do.
Spelling mistakes - especially the name of the agent or company, offering gifts, all my friends love my work, I'll ring for an answer, poor synopsis, small fonts used to get around the maximum page requirements, unusual font, too many italics.
I got the strong impression that punchy words work best. And if you think about an agent receiving 70/80 submissions each day, it is understandable why they cannot spare the time on anything below their high standards.
Hopefully one of us will be successful with a submission.
Tessa Ditner, you are a little gem. Thank you for organising such an informative event.