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Who would you say are the top agents in the UK?

(15 Posts)
theseaisbrightfromhere Fri 22-Nov-19 14:51:53

I'm going to submit in late January. I do follow a lot of them on Twitter but, to be honest, they all seem really nice! I know that you're getting the public version there but it is making it difficult.

Who would you say are the Top 5 agents to represent commercial crime in the UK?

Thank you!

Zilla1 Fri 22-Nov-19 15:32:33

Not sure 'top' is completely meaningful in a business mediated through relationships but do you mean 'top' firms or 'top' individuals?

I'd look at the authors you like in your sub-genre and see who represents them.

I think there's some correlation between 'top' agencies and the longer-lived on the Wikipedia list

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_literary_agencies

though many agencies expect you to approach a named agent at their firm.

Good luck.

theseaisbrightfromhere Fri 22-Nov-19 16:25:31

Agents, not agencies so yes, I would be approaching individuals.

I guess the notion of 'top' is in the sense of representing a string of commercially successful authors. I've looked at authors who are doing well in the genre, but as there are so many agencies/agents now, I am interested in getting an idea of who other writers immediately think of when they are asked the question.

IndefatigableMouse Sat 23-Nov-19 21:58:45

Most writers really struggle to put their own lists together as it changes all the time. You have to do the research. In the two. I ran I’ve been looking I’ve had two agents I’ve subbed to switch agencies.

I am ‘lucky’ to mostly write in a genre with a small pool of agents so I looked them up - looked to see if I recognised their clients. Also searched for any deals they’d done in the bookseller.

Query tracker is handy too if you search by UK agents.

Sistercharlie Sat 23-Nov-19 22:03:10

Buy yourself a Writer's and Artist's year book op!

Also, major crime writers often thank their agents in their acknowledgements, so good to check those out.

schmalex Sat 23-Nov-19 22:47:00

I went through the writers and artists yearbook and put them all in a massive spreadsheet and ranked them by the criteria that are important to me. It's about which is the best fit for you rather than which is objectively 'the best'.

theseaisbrightfromhere Sun 24-Nov-19 10:08:31

Thank you Indefatigable Mouse - you're absolutely right, it does change all the time and a lot of them move about if it isn't their agency.

Sistercharlie - I'm a writer anyway, so WAAY is what I refer other people to all the time, but you get no sense of people that way and it's out of date as soon as it's published. Again, with acknowledgements, it's not always genuine as it's 'form' to thank them I guess.

schmalex thank you, that is a good idea but there are so many of them, which is why I was keen to see what others thought. I thought that if I could come up with a list of the main names people thought of when they were asked, then I could call them and see if they fitted the 'nice' requirement! I do think that an agent who makes you nervous when you ring them, almost as if you're intruding, or one that is difficult to get to, is a huge factor. Did you get the right one for you?

Sistercharlie Sun 24-Nov-19 10:21:57

Fair enough op. I used to work in publishing and let's just say the main agents we dealt with who represented big name crime authors were all listed prominently in the WAAY. If you want more specific information, there are definitive 'strands' within the crime genre, so maybe track down an author of the sort of book you admire within that 'strand' and find out who their agent is? Or hang out where crime writers gather, crime writing symposiums, literary festivals etc and ask for advice?

theseaisbrightfromhere Sun 24-Nov-19 11:27:17

Thank you smile

Sistercharlie Sun 24-Nov-19 11:44:09

Good luck! It's a tough road nowadays ...a good agent can make all the difference.

theseaisbrightfromhere Sun 24-Nov-19 18:47:32

I know sad - I've worked with agents before in the type of writing I do now, but never felt I've got exactly the right one, so fingers crossed this time!

AppropriateAdult Mon 25-Nov-19 11:37:11

Checking the acknowledgements is useful not because of what they specifically say, but because it’ll tell you who the leading authors in the genre are represented by. I’d imagine that’s the best indicator of who the ‘top agents’ are, in the sense you mean it.

I would be wary about calling agents unless you have a pre-existing relationship with them, though. From afar I’ve heard that doesn’t tend to go down well, and many of their websites specifically ask writers not to phone them.

AppropriateAdult Mon 25-Nov-19 11:38:03

From what I’ve heard...

theseaisbrightfromhere Mon 25-Nov-19 14:40:16

Thank you smile

schmalex Mon 25-Nov-19 21:18:44

I agree re not calling them. The time for a meeting or phone call is after they've made you an offer, to decide whether you want to work with them (or, hopefully, to decide between a couple of them!)
Good luck!

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