‘How to Hook an Agent’

(copyright - Writers’ & Artists website)

(copyright – Writers’ & Artists website)

Just so we’re clear, I haven’t ‘hooked’ one yet 😉

No, I’m referring to an event (title as above) that I have just booked that is due to take place in September at Bloomsbury in London.

These literary events pop up every so often and do usually require a fee to attend and meet agents who are giving talks. Some events allow you the opportunity to chat to an agent and pitch your work. Due to lack of funds to spare I’ve always had to pass on these events.

Within five minutes of getting the email from the Writers’ & Artists’ website this morning promoting the ‘How to Hook an Agent’ event I’d made up my mind that this time I wasn’t going to miss out.

Self-publishing via Kindle has definitely opened a few avenues for me. Although I’m not earning anything life-changing from my Amazon sales, it has allowed me to ‘reinvest’, as I like to call it, in my writing career. I plan on taking a Crime Scene Investigation course soon and I have also been able to book this latest event without maxing out my credit card.

To some £149 isn’t much and I had to think about whether I thought the event would benefit me. I also know I can’t rely on how much money I’ll make each month through Kindle, but I look at it this way – if an opportunity comes along to do something that would’ve previously been almost impossible to do in the past, you need to just take a chance and go with it.

Some may ask why I’m bothering with this ‘Hook an Agent’ event if I’ve self-published.

The answer is simple. Having an agent and traditional book deal has always been my goal for many reasons. That’s not to say I have reluctantly self-published – I’m glad I have, as I’ve been building a readership – but being the stubborn moo that I am, I won’t let rejection stop me aiming high. At least I’ll have developed skin like a rhino on my journey, and in this profession you really need it!

Some may say you don’t need to spend anything on these events to ‘hook’ an agent.

Well, yes, that’s true. Obviously many have ‘hooked’ an agent without doing any writing courses, winning any competitions or paying for these ‘insider-type’ events. Thing is, I know of some who have. I also know that you can pick up some tips that will help set you apart from the slush pile.

Sometimes it’s all about taking a chance.

Anyway, back to the event…

This is the introduction from the website:


“Join us for an intimate lunch in the beautiful Georgian surroundings of Bloomsbury, London.

Are you writing a book for publication but unsure of how to find an agent? This intimate half-day event with four literary agents will give you insider knowledge on how to submit your manuscript to an agent, what they’re looking for and how to grab their attention. With a networking lunch and a chance for a one-to-one with the agent of your choice, you’ll receive direct  feedback on how best to hook your agent. 

Held in the historic literary surroundings of Bloomsbury at Bloomsbury Publishing, home to authors including Margaret Atwood and J.K. Rowling, this is your chance to get noticed.”


The event lasts from 9:30am until 2:30pm and those interested can find all the details here. Spaces are limited, but there is another event in November if you can’t make the one in September.

I have sent out so many submissions that I’ve now lost count. I have had some success with getting full MS requests so my initial submission ‘package’ can’t be too bad, but I’m sure there will tips that I haven’t thought about that I can take on board.

A bonus for me is that one of the agents, Juliet Mushens from The Agency Group, is attending. Juliet has already read the full MS for ‘The Principle of Evil’. She requested the novel in November, and gave me some great feedback despite the fact she didn’t offer representation.

Now, I’m not expecting her to remember all the content of that novel – if any of it at all. She would have read hundreds more manuscripts since my submission, but I’m hoping to get the chance to chat to her about my current WIP.

Some of you may remember I attended the free Discovery Day II’  event in London that was run by literary agencies Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh in November last year. Those who attended had the chance to pitch their WIP to an agent, but in a very short allocated time slot.

No doubt come September I’ll be just as nervous with this event, as I was at ‘DDII’ last year, but at least I’ve had experience of pitching my WIP face-to-face with an agent.

By attending these events you can gain a wealth of experience and insight. One important thing I did learn from ‘DDII’ was that if an agent turns you down, it doesn’t mean your work wasn’t good enough. There are many other aspects that are taken into consideration other than the writing itself. Anyone in the same boat as me should take heart from that.

The more insight you can get in understanding the publishing industry and gain knowledge of what agents are looking for the better chance you have of standing out. I think that’s why some of these events are worth attending if you are in a position to do so.

After all, you never know where these things might lead.

I’ll be blogging about my experience in September, so stay tuned. 🙂



11 thoughts on “‘How to Hook an Agent’

  1. Pingback: Writers’ & Artists’ – How to Hook an Agent event Sept 2014 | T. M. E. WALSH

  2. Yes, I noticed we were! Well, you know what they say about great minds thinking alike haha 😀 I picked the layout because I felt it had a ‘gritty’ vibe about it, and best suited the mood of my books.

  3. Thanks, Rod. As you know, It’s hard work going it alone, so any tips you get, from whatever source, it all helps.

  4. Thank you – and I’ll be following yours. I see we are using the same theme at the moment. It took me ages to work out which one to use. I’m still getting to grips with WordPress but I think your blog looks great. CJ.

  5. Hi CJ!

    Glad you liked the post. I try to share my experiences, because sometimes it’s hard to know what to expect when you’re just about to start sending out submissions for the first time. It’s nice to read other authors tips and about their experiences.

    I’ve not heard of ‘The Write Stuff’. I’m going to check that out. Fantastic you got agent feedback. Sometimes you get so close to you’re own work you can’t see where it could be improved. Best of luck with the editing. I’m sure you’ll be resubmitting the MS to Simon when it’s finished. I’ve followed your blog as I’m keen to know how it all goes! Best of luck with it 🙂

  6. Hi T.M.E. I really like your description of ways you’ve tried to ‘hook an agent so far. I’m trying to do that too. So far I’ve pitched successfully at ‘The Dragons’ Pen’ at the Harrogate Crime fest and last April tried the new pitching competition ‘The Write Stuff, at The London Book Fair and won. That resulted in a read through and follow up meeting with agent Simon Trewin. He had lots of suggestions for things to change to make my novel ‘Revenge Ritual’ more appealing to editors which I’m now trying to apply. I’m really interested to know how you get on – and you might want to try ‘The Write Stuff’ next year, but from the sound of it, you won’t need to.

  7. Excellent idea Tania. Getting out there and talking about your work to professionals must help you to fine tune your pitch. best of luck ~ you deserve it 🙂

  8. See, that’s great hear. 🙂 I think it helps the confidence levels enormously, and you just never know what might come of these things.

  9. Sounds great. I didn’t get my agent through one of these, BUT, I did go to Winchester Writers Conference and pitch to an agent, an editor and an author – and the great feedback I got from them gave me the confidence to send my book to the agent that I am with now. So directly or indirectly, I think these things are money well spent… especially when you’ve earned it from book sales! Nice work 🙂

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