The CN team have had the pleasure of knowing Julia Kingsford since before her days as CEO of World Book Night, and were so excited to hear about her ‘new kind of literary agency’: Kingsford Campbell Literary & Marketing Agents. This week, we caught up with her to get the lowdown on the ‘marketing’ part of the agency, what kind of writing she is looking for and her views on self-published books.
1) What’s your reasoning behind setting up a Literary & Marketing agency? How will this be different from usual Literary Agencies?
There is nothing about the publishing industry that isn’t changing. Digital has hugely opened up the marketplace and it means connecting an audience to a writer is harder and more important than ever. Publishers are expecting more and more from writers in terms of marketing and promotion but, to be honest, we also believe that writers should be taking more responsibility for it too. As an author your brand is vital and you should take its development and protection seriously, it’s not enough to leave that to a publisher anymore, especially when over the course of a career you may have several. So as well as helping shape work and negotiating deals as any traditional agent would, we offer our clients marketing, brand and digital consultancy, the aim of which is to ensure that you reach more readers and sell more books. We’ll work with you and your publisher at every stage from pitch to publication to ensure that we’re taking advantage of every possible opportunity to promote your book as best as can be done.
2) What can you do for writers?
For all writers we’d start by looking at what your current market position is and work with you to develop that in the direction you want it to go. This could take the form of advising on digital assets, websites and social media, how to make them work best for you or, if desired, manage them on your behalf. Around specific publications we’ll work with your publisher to ensure the campaign is delivering everything it should and between publications we’ll do whatever we can to make sure your books and your backlist keep selling.
3) There has been talk recently that literary agents are no longer relevant to authors. What’s your view on this?
It’s certainly true that it’s never been easier for anyone to publish a book without either a publisher or an agent, but that doesn’t mean they’re no longer relevant. Lots of people resent the idea of someone taking 15% of your hard earned money for seemingly not doing anything, but in fact agents add a huge amount of value. Aside from the established relationships with publishers that means proposals get read quicker, agents can offer advice and practical support throughout the process and, frankly, ensure you earn more money. I’ve just taken on an author who had chosen not to have an agent, but he approached me because he was tired of being distracted by everything he had to do for himself. He’d negotiated a contract but hadn’t signed it yet, which was lucky, as I was able to pretty much double his royalties. If you have both the skills and the time to agent or publish your book as well as a professional would, then I would say go for it, but if you don’t then they’re still pretty valuable.
4) What kind of books are you looking for, and how can writers submit to you?
We don’t have any specialisations at the agency, so we’ll happily look at any submission and we’re equally interested in fiction and non-fiction, adult, YA and children’s. There’s a form on our website so we can automate everything, making it easier for us to read, evaluate and get back to you whether we’d like to represent you or not.
5) Are you open to accepting self-published titles?
So there we have it! As a new agency, they are looking for new authors, so click here to find out more about submitting to the agency.
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