Some Thoughts Ahead of Our Submissions Window…

I know, I know…. it’s been ages and ages and ages since we last opened for submission. Months. Maybe even a couple of years!

This has not been a plot or a conspiracy against authors – rather it’s simply down to manpower.  We’re small agency – like REALLY small. We’re also a busy agency – like REALLY, REALLY busy! With only so many hours in the day, running the affairs of the incumbent client list has had to take precedence over actively extending it. We’re also kept well supplied with material from our associate agencies in the US.

It’s worth noting that most reading publishing professionals do takes place in their own time. It’d be great to spend our days loafing around on sofas reading about magic and robots, but it ain’t so, alas.  That’s how we spend our evenings and weekends!

Stuff has, of course, slipped through the net, some of it we’ve even taken on (and sold!)  – but anything that has come to our attention has done so via personal recommendation and serendipity. I’ve been to a number of conventions over the last few years – Worldcon, World Fantasy, Eastercon, Fantasycon, and one of the reasons I attend is to make myself available to writers even when we’re closed for formal approaches. This pays dividends for both agent and prospective client, so if there are conventions or gatherings you can get to where industry pros go, it can be worth your while making the effort. And they’re fun too!

We’re looking to open in mid-June (how long we’ll remain open we’ve yet to confirm). We’ll mainly be focussing on genre fiction – SF/F/H and all the permutations thereof – and mainly on the more commercial end.  We’ll offer up further refined detail on our requirements in the coming days and weeks.

One super-important thing – please, please, please read our guidelines. Actually, let me say that a bit louder – READ OUR GUIDELINES!! This is not something we say because we’re being superior or over-fussy. Rather it’s to help you give your submission the very best chance of being considered properly. There’ll be a lot of competition for our attention during that open window. Subs that ignore the guidelines will not be as high on the priority list as those that follow them to the letter.

More anon…

JB Interviewed on “I Should Be Writing”…

When I was over in San Diego recently at the World Fantasy Convention, I got together with Mur Lafferty, author and the brains behind the I SHOULD BE WRITING podcast, a massively useful resource for aspiring authors and one that I am very happy to recommend and endorse.

The interview covers quite a lot of ground, including my thoughts on the current state of the market (especially here in the UK) and some advice on how to approach not just us here at Zeno, but any literary agent you might be hoping to interest. Enjoy!


Locus Online on Ian McDonald…

Over at the LOCUS web site, there’s a fascinating Roundtable discussion going on all about the works of our client Ian McDonald (whom we reported recently had been nominated for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke award) with a number of learned folks taking part – including Ian’s US Editor, Pyr’s Lou Anders, authors Cat Rambo and Rachel Swirsky, editor and translator Fabio Fernandes and our very own web guru, moonlighting as a learned genre commentator Paul Graham Raven.

Roundtable: Ian MacDonald’s Developing Economies Stories

Ben Aaronovitch Signing…

Our man Ben Aaronvitch sees his brilliant new novel RIVERS OF LONDON published next month by Gollancz. It’s also being released by Del Rey in the US under the title MIDNIGHT RIOT. With  follow-up novel, MOON OVER SOHO, following in the spring and a third title WHISPERS UNDER GROUND soon to be delivered, January is thus the start of a very big year for Ben.

To celebrate the launch of Ben’s new series, he’ll be signing copies at London’s flagship Forbidden Planet store on January 15th, 2011 between 1pm and 2pm, so be sure to come along and grab a copy. Further details can be found here.

RIVERS OF LONDON manages to be fresh and original and a wonderful read. I loved it.’ — Charlaine Harris

A consummate story of real policing in a vividly real world intersecting the decidedly unreal to marvellous effect. Filled with detail and imagination, the quality of this achievement stands out, making Aaronovitch a name to watch.’ — Peter F. Hamilton

10 Rules on How to be a Writer

I ran across this (see below next to the bullet point) in my feeds this morning – genre writer John C. Wright (author of nine books and numerous short stories) offers up his…

… wise, wise words and although perhaps less specific to submitting one’s material to an agent, he’s bang on the button in oh, so many ways.  Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned wordsterlooking for a sale or an agent, take heed!

Chris Schuler Reviews Hans Fallada…

alone-in-berlinChris Schuler recently had his review of Hans Fallada‘s novel Alone in Berlin (recently published in the Penguin Hardback Classics series in a new translation by Michael Hoffman) published in the Independent on Sunday (click through to read this review online.)

It is June 1940. In a Berlin apartment, Old Persicke, a drink-sodden retired publican, and his ambitious Nazi sons celebrate the fall of France. Their quiet, middle-aged neighbours, Otto and Anna Quangel, have just learnt that their only child has been killed in that campaign. On the top floor, an elderly Jewish lady tries to make herself as inconspicuous as possible, while in the rear tenement, Emil Borkhausen, blackmailer and pimp, is sniffing around for a chance to turn a quick profit…

NEW CLIENT – Colin Harvey

angry_robot-thumbWe’re delighted to add British author Colin Harvey to our client list, representing him in the UK and British Commonwealth on behalf of Jenny Rappaport at The Rappaport Literary Agency in the US.

Colin has recently sold two books to Angry Robot, the shiny new genre imprint at HarperCollins headed up by Marc Gascoigne, and we were delighted to have been involved in steering the deal through. Congratulations Colin!

Here’s a link to Colin’s Blog in which he talks about Winter Song, his novel due to be published by Angry Robot in October 2009.

Submissions. For anyone wondering…

… why we are still closed for submissions, or why we’re taking so long to get through stuff sent in before we closed, take a good, hard look at this article by Shawn Speakman entitled The Busy Agent that appeared on Suvudu today!

Stephen Volk on ‘Fantastic Writing’

He’s only been a client for a day or two, but already Stephen Volk is out there flying the flag! Here’s a little something worth putting in your diary…

Stephen Volk is giving a talk on the creating and writing of his award-winning TV drama series Afterlife at ‘Fantastic Writing – science fiction, fantasy and magic: Writing the future, the past and other worlds‘, a one-day event for budding scriptwriters taking place on Saturday 7th March 2009 at De Montfort University’s Leicester City campus.

The day also includes a keynote speech from acclaimed novelist Graham Joyce (The Facts of Life, DOOM), Q&A sessions with guests such as Phil Ford (Sarah Jane Adventures, Dr Who, Torchwood) and James Moran (Dr Who, Torchwood, Spooks), and a presentation on writing for on-line drama.

Tickets for the event are £65 per person including lunch, refreshments and car parking. For more information or to book a place, please contact:

Promotion & Recruitment Centre
Faculty of Humanities

Tel–0116 250 6470
Email – pghums[at]dmu[dot]ac[dot]uk

And here is the direct link to the event web site.