Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ask my agent...anything!

I recently stumbled across a blog post where the author had interviewed her agent and realised that, even though I've been with Maddy Milburn for four years now (first with the Darley Anderson agency and now with her own agency), I haven't once interviewed her on this blog!

So I'm going to...but I want to do things a bit differently. I want to throw it open to my blog readers to throw some questions into the mix. What question have you always wanted to ask a literary agent but have always been too afraid (or never had the opportunity) to ask?

It could be anything from - 'what's the shortest amount of time it's taken you to get an author a book deal?' to 'how old is too old to be an author?' to 'what do you think the next big trend will be?' to 'how do I know if an agent is a good fit for me?' Anything at all! I can't guarantee Maddy will be able to answer every question (you might want to avoid 'will you sign me?' and 'does this sound like a good idea for a novel?') but I know she'll give it a go.

Leave your questions in the comments or, if you'd like to ask your question anonymously, email me at

The best question (as chosen by Maddy) gets a signed copy of 'Home for Christmas', a bookmark and a limited edition tote bag of the Duke of York's cinema, Brighton (the inspiration behind the cinema in 'Home for Christmas') by designer Natalie Gowing.

Closing date for questions - Thursday 23rd August.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Sarah*G* said...

What is the usual sequence of events from someone submitting a manuscript to it being published. Assuming of course it is good and warrants publication. How many people read it etc?

Cally Taylor said...

Ooh, good question. Thanks Sarah.

Yasminselena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yasminselena said...

Hi Cally,

What a great competition and Lordy have you read some good books this year!

I'd like to ask Maddy Milburn this, if that's okay.

Hi Maddy,

As a literary agent, are you ever able to negotiate cover control on the writer's behalf as part of a publishing contract deal? Meaning the design is co-planned and they get final say in the process. It's something I feel really strongly about.

Many thanks
Yasmin Selena Butt

D..J. Kirkby said...

Hi Cally, Hi Maddy
Maddy, if one of the authors on your list sent you a MS (of theirs) in a genre you didn't represent would you still read it with a view to passing it on to another agent / agency?

Cally Taylor said...

Yasmin - great question. I must blog about my experience with book covers (good, thankfully) at some point.

DJ - ooh, nice! *considers what she might write that Maddy wouldn't want to represent!*

Karen said...

Hi Maddy (and Cally), How long have you been a literary agent and what is your favorite genre? Is there a specific genre that seems to be the hottest (most sought after) right now by agents like yourself and readers? Thanks!

Cally Taylor said...

Thanks for the question, Karen.

Flowerpot said...

Hi Cally, need to get thinking on this one. Need coffee!

Helen Maslin said...

Hi Cally and hi Maddy,

I'd like to know if there's ever a particularly good time to submit a manuscript.

Agent Kristin on the PubRants blog recently admitted that she is far more likely to take on a new author during the winter months.

And I imagine agents have far less time to look at new submissions whenever there's a big book fair on.

So is there a 'best time' to submit to the Madeleine Milburn agency?

Helen xx

Cally Taylor said...

Flowerpot - Did the coffee help?! ;)

Helen - OOoh good question. I remember looking into that when I first started submitted but have forgotten what the answer was!

Mama J said...

The covering letter is the first thing an agent sees from a submission. What is the most important element you're looking for and what would make a covering letter stand out?

Cally Taylor said...

Ooh good question, Mama J. My letter to the Darley Anderson agency is online somewhere. Must dig it out. P.s. Thanks for linking to this post from your blog.

Anonymous said...

Here is my question:

When seeking representation, new writers are advised to consider only literary agents with proven track records. How does a relatively inexperienced agent go about improving themselves and gaining their track record?

I'm looking forward to the interview…

Cally Taylor said...

Thanks Captain, interesting question.

Cally Taylor said...

Here's a question I received via email from Susanna:

Would it put you off from representing an author if his/her work was good enough but too similar (or on a similar theme eg supernatural romantic comedy) to another writer you already represent?

Michelle Woollacott said...

Hi, I'm Michelle, a writer new to blogging and I'm looking for some great blogs to follow! This one looks right up my street! Any similar recommendations? Many thanks, Michelle