Saturday, June 6, 2015

Agentopia: Clare Wallace

Welcome to the June edition of Agentopia! For more information and to see other Agentopia posts, click here.

This month Clare Wallace from Darley Anderson Agency is in the spotlight.

Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. Clare is building the children’s list and is scouting for new authors of picture books, middle grade, teenage, YA and illustrators. Clare also represents commercial and accessible literary women’s fiction. At the Agency Clare represents authors both in the UK and the US including Rosie Blake, Caroline Crowe, Kerry Fisher, Martyn Ford, Polly Ho-Yen, Olivia Levez, Cesca Major, Adam Perrott, Beth Reekles, Dave Rudden, Phaedra Patrick and Kim Slater and illustrators Loretta Schauer and Lorna Scobie. Clare formerly assisted the Luxton Harris Ltd literary agency. Graduating with a first from a BA in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University, Clare went on to gain a distinction on the MA in Creative Writing. She has proof-listened to hundreds of adults and children’s audio books and worked for Cardiff University as a research assistant and coach to international students.

Query Clare according to agency submission guidelines.
What are you looking for in YA submissions right now?

I would be delighted to find a fantastic contemporary love story. I like unusual settings and high concepts. I’d like the narrative to be standalone, rather than a series. The YA market is cautious at the moment because it’s so saturated. More than ever, the writing has to be exceptional.

What's an immediate turn-off in a query, something guaranteed to get the author rejected?

When there are lots of other agents copied into the query. In fact, I don’t even read those. I just delete them. I’m also unlikely to want to work with you if you tell me how many millions you’re going to make me, who will star in the film adaptation or that you’ve done all the work and just want someone to publish the book.

Follow the guidelines. Every agency website has them. Personalise your query and let us know why you think we would be a good match for you. And stay focused on your writing rather than too much of your own personal history.

We are on your side. We want to find new writers. We can’t exist without you. But we do receive a huge amount of submissions every week. I received, alone, 250 last week. So, making your query shine will make it so much easier for us to find your talent amongst the other 249 submissions.

What's the story got to have to make you want to represent it?

Voice. A strong voice. Character is everything. And a cracking, well-paced, plot.

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