Simon Trewin, Literary Agent, Head of the London Branch of Literary Agency, WME.
Report by Lisa Nightingale
‘Don’t be in a hurry.’ is Simon Trewin’s advice. The Publishing world is slow. In the publishing industry there is movement, but it is often amongst itself. The industry runs the risk of becoming an island of in-breeds.
It is when an idea in a person’s head will not go away until it has been written down that they become an author. Validation of their creativity comes with an agent.
Unfortunately, the publishing industry has taken a path where the writer’s talent is dumbed down by a deal and a big cheque. Publishing has been suffocated by business and as a result, it is more concerned with turnover.
Currently publishers are putting lots of energy into debut authors – not such good news for the author’s future career. This is where your agent comes in. Here Simon gives us some examples of his clients who have much creative genius still bubbling after their first phenomenal success. The agent perseveres with the publishers along with the author’s creative abilities, picks their battles carefully, does all the speculative work and filters through the business issues of the writing/publishing process.
‘When a writer employs the services of an agent, they are buying into a set of tightly honed relationships with the publishing world.’ He says.
‘The world doesn’t need another novel.’ Simon tentatively states. An average reader might buy five books a year. The first four are likely to have been bought under some sort of pressure (Richard & Judy or even the book club’s choice) The fifth book is the one that interests Simon Trewin the Literary Agent. An author needs to make the Agent believe that theirs should be that fifth book. Technology has made that reader’s choice complex. Bookshops have declined and there is nowhere for the reader to browse for their next good read.
‘Do we over-communicate?’ He asks. We share everything using technology. A writer must embrace technology. Engage with Social Media.
Don’t be in a hurry, he repeats. It is not worth trying to hop on the band wagon of what’s trending in novels. Simon believes honesty and hard work is the key to a good relationship with the author. He has learnt tenacity through experience and is pleased to still be learning. An Agent is a good thing to be.
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