The Good Literary Agency is a social enterprise agency founded by Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford to represent writers from backgrounds under-represented in UK publishing. In December 2017 we were awarded funding from Arts Council England through the Ambition for Excellence fund. It gives us three years worth of support for our operating costs at the end of which we plan to be self-sufficient.
We have been operating for nearly seven months, have over 30 writers on our list and have done 7 deals, two fiction, two non-fiction, one children's, one poetry, one audio.
We work with writers to represent them in their publishing deals, help them make the best decisions about their writing career, negotiate contracts, pursue new opportunities and look to maximise their earnings and the value we add to the relationship. The only difference is the knowledge that the money we do make goes into ensuring we have the opportunity to help more writers whose voices should be heard.
Application deadline extension: we have decided to extend the deadline to 9am Monday 7 January
We are looking for a literary agent to join our growing team. You will have broad interests but we’re particularly interested in someone with a specialisation in YA and children’s OR genre and commercial fiction.
The agency is headed by Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford who share a role with strategic and managerial responsibilities. You would work alongside our other agent and be supported by our assistant. In addition we have a part-time development editor and access to a further freelance network of editors for working with authors on their work.
You may have been working in a literary agency before or more broadly in the book trade and looking to move into agenting. Either way you must be able to demonstrate that you’ve got great taste and an understanding of what makes books work as well as plenty of hustle and a belief that books and reading are important and that representation in them matters.
We are looking for someone who can hit the ground running. You don’t have to have your own client list (and we’re afraid that as we can only represent writers from under-represented groups it may be difficult to bring any writers with you who aren’t from those groups) but you do have to have a good knowledge of the industry and understanding of the role of the literary agent and the broader industry landscape.
We are looking for someone with at least 3 years experience but are very interested from hearing from those with more experience as well. We are excited at the prospect of moulding this role to the right individual and would welcome applications from very experienced applicants who could take on more managerial and strategic responsibilities as well as their day to day as well as applications from those who are in the earlier stages of their career.
Author relationships & submissions
- Work with the rest of the team to scout for talent & choose which authors we represent and develop
- Work up exceptional pitches & submissions to sell in to publishers
- Steadily build your own list of clients who you manage
Selling books to publishers
- Pitch & submit books to UK publishers, managing the full process including negotiations and auctions
Broader rights opportunities
- Manage relationships with sub-agents and resulting opportunities to exploit rights as broadly as possible, both international and film/tv
- Manage relationships with scouts
We are excited about adapting the role to the right candidate so depending on your experience there may be opportunities for further responsibilities including management.
SKILLS & QUALITIES
- Specific experience working on either Children's and Young Adult books or on Commercial / Genre Fiction
- Commercial aptitude with a real drive to secure the best possible deal for our clients
- Plenty of hustle and an entrepreneurial spirit
- A critical understanding of books and an awareness of what makes one ‘good’
- Great communications skills, both verbal and written
- A self-starter who is comfortable working on their own and managing their own workload and deadlines, as well as being happy to work as part of a team
- A real belief that books and reading are important and that increasing representation in culture is too
- A willingness to learn and develop with the company
This is a full time role based in Bristol or London with regular trips between the two. We are happy to consider flexible working arrangements.
Salary: this will be dependent on experience and location.
There will also be a bonus system once the agency becomes profitable.
We are committed to equal opportunities and are particularly interested in receiving applications from anyone who identifies in any of the under-represented groups we represent.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Agent' as the subject line and include your CV and a covering letter explaining why you want the job and how your skills and experience are well matched to it. Please also include details of your salary expectations and fill in this monitoring form.
Application deadline: We have decided to extend the application deadline to 9am Monday 7 January
A key part of our business plan is investing expertise in writers to help them develop their work where this is helpful.
We recognise that talent is universal but that the opportunity to develop writing craft can be limited by structural inequalities. For example if you enter elite education at the age of 7, continue in it through to Oxbridge and then enter a profession where writing skills are prized you are simply going to have more opportunities to develop your writing craft. Likewise if you undertake a creative writing programme or degree. When Harper Lee had completed her first novel and sold it to a publisher they then spent two and a half years helping her develop it from Go Tell a Watchman to To Kill a Mockingbird, work that enabled it to become arguably the greatest novel ever written, work without which we would be culturally poorer.
We have specific funding to work with freelance professionals to develop writers’ work and as such we are looking to recruit a network of professionals that we can call upon when an appropriate manuscript needs development. For example if we received a SF submission that we felt was of a high standard but needed further work before we submitted to publishers we would want to have the author work with an experienced SF expert on further developing it.
At this stage we are looking for expressions of interest from experts in any form of non-fiction or fiction including all genres, children’s and YA.
You need to fall into one of the following categories:
- have worked professionally as an editor in book publishing
- be a creative writing teacher
- have been published by a traditional publisher
We will be paying for all development work but rates will depend on each project.
How to apply
To register your interest please fill in this form:
We are not currently offering work experience as we are not set up to do so, but anticipate that we will be offering this for periods in the future - we just can't say exactly when yet or how it will work. If you would like to know when we'll be offering it please sign up to our mailing list indicating that this is your interest.