What are you particularly excited to find in the shortlisted novels?
A strong concept. Brilliant writing. Characters that breathe. And preferably all three at the same time!
What are your top 3 tips for those entering to get an agent’s attention?
I often see writers cramming too much into their opening scenes, (especially in competitions), as if they think if they don’t explain everything on page one the reader will immediately lose interest. Whilst I don’t want books that start too slowly, trying to communicate everything straightaway leads to a lot of telling instead of showing and can be overwhelming. You don’t need to explain everything in the opening – that’s what the synopsis is for! Equally on the synopsis, I’d say don’t try to be too interesting with the way you write it – that’s what the writing is for! Just make sure you detail all the key points of the plot.
What are the top 3 mistakes to avoid?
Synopses that are blurbs, not synopses. Cover letters that are too long. Cover letters that focus too much on an author’s personal story, and barely mention the book!
What do you think are the benefits of novel awards for writers?
Although at the end of the day agents care more about the book itself than a writer’s credits, anything that can set you apart from the pile of submissions they see every day can only be a good thing. Also getting yourself together to submit for a novel award can give you a goal to work towards. Depending on the novel award, there can also be mentoring, feedback and development up for grabs.
For those who don’t make the LL or SL, what kind of thing would you like submitted to you?
I have pretty broad taste so I wouldn’t rule out anything, although I have been looking to develop the darker side of my list – for instance middle-grades rooted in creepy, lesser known folklore or sharp, feminist YA. I’d also love something that defies my expectations… For instance, I would drop everything for a Georgia Nicolson character in a fantasy world!
Top 3 reads of 2018.
This is hard! As soon as anyone asks me this I forget everything I’ve read, but The Stormkeeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle and The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson are springing to mind. And, if I can have an adult one?!, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
Chloe is responsible for the agency’s children’s and young adult book business as well as science fiction and fantasy.
In children’s, we represent all genres of young adult, middle-grade and age 5-8 fiction and non-fiction.
Chloe is herself a published author of young adult fiction, with her first novel Editing Emma published by HQ in 2017 and the sequel Friendship Fails of Emma Nash published in 2018.
Having previously worked at Titan Books, she is also our resident expert in science fiction and fantasy.