A Small Refinement to our Submission Guidelines…

We’re seeing an alarming number of angels in our submissions… and not in the sense of religious rapture, either!

In all seriousness, we’ve run the numbers and we’re pretty suprised to see that around 90% of the YA and New Adult stuff submitted to us since late June are angel novels.

Angels vs demons; angels and their boyfriends/girlfriends; ‘I found out I’m an angel when I thought I was just a high school kid’; ‘I found out my best friend was an angel when I thought he/she was just a high school kid’; ‘my Mom is an angel’, etc, etc, etc…

If your book is an angel book, it might be worth directing elsewhere for now. We’ve a mighty backlog to get through and there’s lots of competition in this very niche area.

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…

Brett’s THE DAYLIGHT WAR is a Sunday Times Bestseller…

Peter V. Brett’s superb latest novel, THE DAYLIGHT WAR will be number #3 on this week’s Sunday Times Bestseller list! The novel is the third instalment in Brett’s bestselling The Demon Cycle fantasy series, which has been a huge hit with fans and critics alike.

Peter will be visiting the UK to help promote the novel on the following dates:

  • DWCover25/2: Peter will be signing books at Waterstone’s in Manchester, at 7:00pm. (Tickets for the event are £3.)
  • 26/2: Peter will be signing books at Waterstone’s in Nottingham, at noon.
  • 26/2: Peter will be signing & talking about his books at Forbidden Planet Megastore, on Shaftesbury Avenue at 6:00pm. (More information can be found here.)
  • 27/2: Peter will be signing books at Waterstone’s in Milton Keynes, at noon.
  • 27/2: Peter will be signing & talking about his books at Waterstone’s in Birmingham, at 7:30pm. (Book tickets here.)
  • 28/2: Peter will be signing & talking about his books at Topping & Company in Bath, at 7:30pm.
  • 1/3: Peter will be attending the SciFi Weekender

Zeno Agency represents Peter V. Brett in the UK and British Commonwealth on behalf of our colleagues at the JABberwocky Literary Agency in New York.

Tidhar on the 2nd Word SF Fund…

Zeno client Lavie Tidhar has long been actively involved with promotion for the World SF Travel Fund, a program set up to help industry folks from far-flung places to attend major genre events – WorldCon, World Fantasy Convention, etc.

This year the fund will be helping authors Csilla Kleinheincz from Hungary and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz from the Philippines to attend the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in the UK.

Lavie has given an interview to SF Signal, conducted by the first recipient of the prize, Charles Tan. In the interview, Tidhar explains the mission and history of the World SF Travel Fund, as well as how and why he’s involved:

helping to foster a global conversation on SF/F is important for both sides, and we’re trying, in our small way, to help foster that. For many people, travel to the US or those big conventions is vastly expensive, and I think there is a danger of SF becoming insular if it does not open itself up to new voices, outsider voices.’

Lavie Tidhar is the author of the award-winning OSAMA (PS Publishing) and fan-favourite THE BOOKMAN HISTORIES (Angry Robot).  His web site is at lavietidhar.wordpress.com and he is known to tweet occasionally from @lavietidhar.

New Look Website…

You may have noticed a new look to things around here! We’re just giving the old place a quick Spring clean, so please bear with us whilst we muck around with the colour scheme and slot a new header and footer into place. We’re also looking to increase our posting rate a little, which is good news, given all the cool stuff we’ve got happening right now.

Watch this space!!

Turbulence Creates a Storm…

Samit Basu‘s fantastic new novel TURBULENCE has been published in the UK in paperback and as an eBook by Titan and is already receiving some stellar reviews. It will be released in the US next year and Samit is already hard at work on a sequel.

Aman Sen is smart, young, ambitious and going nowhere. He thinks this is because he doesn’t have the right connections—but then he gets off a plane from London to Delhi and discovers that he has turned into a communications demigod. Indeed, everyone on Aman’s flight now has extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires. Vir, an Indian Air Force pilot, can now fly. Uzma, a British- Pakistani aspiring Bollywood actress, now possesses infinite charisma. And then there’s Jai, an indestructible one-man army with a good old-fashioned goal — to rule the world!

Aman wants to ensure that their new powers aren’t wasted on costumed crime-fighting, celebrity endorsements, or reality television. He wants to heal the planet but with each step he takes, he finds helping some means harming others. Will it all end, as 80 years of superhero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest?

TURBULENCE features the 21st-century Indian subcontinent in all its insane glory—F-16s, Bollywood, radical religious parties, nuclear plants, cricket, terrorists, luxury resorts, crazy TV shows — but it is essentially about two very human questions. How would you feel if you actually got what you wanted? And what would you do if you could really change the world?


Basu knows his stuff…  he conjures up a vast array of imaginative powers… unflinchingly depicts the costly consequences…‘ – SFX

It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s intelligently witty, it’s great…. I found it difficult to put down. Loved, loved, LOVED it.’ – SFFWorld.com, Mark Yon.

The characters are brilliantly written… With a globe-trotting sensibility even James Bond would be proud of, the cinematic action sequences are as breath-taking as anything Hollywood has to offer, so the campaign for a big-screen version, or failing that, at least a sequel to the book begins here!‘ – IGN

TURBULENCE is a new breed of superhero novel and likely to appeal to both classic hero fans as well as fans of contemporary fiction… This is one of those rare superhero stories that is not overshadowed by the powers but is told in the humanity that pulls the superhuman together.‘ – Geek Native

If you’re looking for brilliantly written, fun and fast paced action that leaves you wanting more, this is definitely it. One word of warning though, you may ignore your loved ones completely until you’ve finished it.‘ – The Tattooed Book.

It is somewhat self-referential, inventive and very clever. But most of all, it is fun. If you have ever picked up a comic book and enjoyed it, then this is a must-buy.’ – Starburst

Zeno’s Sidewise Award Nominees…

Zeno clients dominate this year’s shortlist for The Sidewise Award for Alternate History, which will be announced at the forthcoming Chicago Worldcon (Chicon 7) in September. Of the seven novels nominated for on the Best Long-Form , we have three familar names…

Good luck to all three of our authors – in some alternative historical universe, you all won!

RIVERS OF LONDON Up For Theakston Prize…

Ben Aaronvitch adds yet another feather to his already impressive panache with the news that his hugely popular novel RIVERS OF LONDON is one of the titles announced today on the  long list of this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country.

This feat prompted him to wonder if he can now officially be classed as a crossover author! We reckon so, Ben. Congratulations!!

Tidhar’s OSAMA Marches Even Further on…

And no sooner had my post about the various sales of OSAMA gone live yesterday,  than the news came through that Lavie’s book has made this year’s shortlist for the John W. Campbell Award, the third major prize that this extraordinary novel has been up for.

Zeno has a special association with the Campbell Award and if Lavie should win, he’ll actually be the third Zeno author in four years to do so – following in the footsteps of Ian R. MacLeod (2009) and Ian McDonald (2011).

Congratulations and good luck, Lavie!

Nebula Nomination for Aliette De Bodard…

Congratulations to our client Aliette de Bodard, whose story Shipbirth has been short-listed for this the 2011 Nebula Award in the Short Story category.

The Nebulas are are ‘voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.‘ and have been so since 1965!

The ceremony this year will take place at the Nebula Awards Weekend, May 17th thru 20th in Arlington, Virginia, USA.

You can read Aliette’s nominated story here.

Lavie Tidhar’s OSAMA up for a ‘Kitschie’….

Lavie Tidhar‘s formidable novel OSAMA is one of five books nominated for this year’s Kitschie Awards – specifically, their ‘Red Tentacle’ award!

The winner receives a £750 prize, a hand-crafted tentacular trophy and (best of all!) a bottle of the Kraken’s finest black rum. See here for more details and for the full shortlist.

OSAMA is exceptional. Compelling, confrontational, and surprisingly moving, it is one of the best novels yet on terror in our times.’ — World Literature Today

Not a writer to mess around with half measures … brings to mind Philip K Dick’s seminal science fiction novel THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.’ –- The Guardian on OSAMA.

Bears comparison with the best of Philip K Dick’s paranoid, alternate-history fantasies. It’s beautifully written and undeniably powerful.’ – The Financial Times on OSAMA.

OSAMA is written with both an obvious affection for genre fiction and a sense of wild-eyed disbelief at the insanity of a world where people fly planes into skyscrapers. 4.5/5 stars.’ –- SFX

Intensely moving.‘ -– Interzone on OSAMA

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!


Submissions Open for Authors Attending This Year’s Worldcon…

Following last year’s experiment, we are once again opening submissions specifically for folks who will be attending Renovation, this year’s Worldcon being held in Reno, Nevada from the 17th to the 21st August, 2011.

John Berlyne will be attending and will also be appearing on a number of panels. Here are the relevant and *very specific criteria* for submitting. If you can’t tick ALL  these boxes, unfortunately we will not be able to to consider your work…

  • This submissions window is open *ONLY* for people who are attending Renovation. Please include your membership number in your covering email. If we don’t find you on the membership list, we won’t be able to consider your work. Telling us that you are ‘intending to attend’ won’t cut it – sorry!
  • Please follow our submission guidelines. If you are unable to follow the guidelines, we will be unable to consider your work.
  • We’re looking for all shades of  commercial genre fiction – be it SF, Fantasy or Horror or any such permutations thereof (there are many). That said,  the most important factors for us are the excellence of the writing and the commercial hook, rather than how many rockets or wizards or ghosts appear in the story, so look to our Submission Guidelines and the About Zeno page to gauge our tastes.
  • You should submit ONLY if you have a finished novel-length manuscript to send, should we wish to see it. We’re not interested in reviewing your work-in-progress or the novel you’ve written a bit of.
  • Note that we reserve the right not to ask to see your work should your pitch email not appeal.

Good luck! See you in Reno!

The Way of Kings Wins The Legend Award…

Gosh, anyone would think it’s awards season! And the latest wonderful news we have to impart in this department  is that Brandon Sanderson‘s THE WAY OF KINGS has just scooped this year’s David Gemmell Legend Award. WOOT!

A recent arrival in the awards calendar, the Legend award is three years old now, and is decided by popular vote rather than by a jury. There are three categories – for best newcomer, best artist and the Legend award itself, which is given to the best fantasy novel.

We are absolutely delighted for Brandon and publisher Gollancz who have done a really wonderful job with this thwacking great novel. And Brandon is hard at work on the second volume. Let’s hope the arrival of the very large “Snaga” axe he just won doesn’t distract him!