The Agency was looking for 5 or 6 potential ‘mentees’ and you had to send in 20,000 words of your unfinished novel, a synopsis and a covering letter. The deadline was 1st July and I urged you to make haste, if you wanted to apply.
I submitted my work and…well, they didn’t pick 5 or 6 in the end, they picked 17 and I am one of them. Eek.
So now, amazingly, I have an agent. (But no novel yet!). I seem to have done things a bit back-to-front.
This is the press release that went out yesterday and appeared on The Bookseller website:
Kate Nash Agency launches writer mentorship programme
Kate Nash Literary Agency has launched #BookCamp, a new mentorship programme designed to accelerate the careers of promising new* writers.
Seventeen authors have been selected by the agency to be mentored, writing across many genres from literary to commercial fiction.
Over a six-month period writers will be working, with individual editorial help from an agent, to complete their novels. At the same time the agency is offering a series of workshops and seminars on masterclass level practical creative writing topics and also on the practical business of being a new author.
Nash said: “This is a huge investment for a small company but sat where we are in prime place not just to spot but nurture new talent, we thought we should offer more of that nurturing and help shape writer’s work from an earlier stage. We’ve surprised ourselves by wanting to offer representation to 17 writers but we were bowled over by the talent.”
The list of successful applicants features Jon Barton, Christopher Byford, Annabel Campbell, Radostina Christova, Joanne Clague, Adam Cook, Louise Davidson and Kate Galley.
Also joining the programme are Nicola Jones, Imogen Martin, Katie McDermott , Samantha Pennington, Tony O’Reilly, Georgia Summers, Laura Sweeney, Kathryn Whitfield and Helen Yendall.
In all, 335 writers applied to #BookCamp, sending in the first 20,000 words of their novels-in-progress for evaluation.
Agency director Justin Nash said: “It’s been a glorious summer of reading. The overall quality of work submitted was extremely high meaning we had some tough decisions but also I think that lockdown has provided many aspiring authors valuable time to work on their craft.”
* I’m .. ahem, not quite a ‘new’ writer (and am slightly worried that I might be the oldest mentee in the group!) but I AM new to the novel-writing/getting published game! It’s exciting but also a bit scary. I foresee a lot of hard work ahead and, of course, no guarantee of a published novel at the end of it! Wish me luck!
Oh and if you’re wondering why a writer might need an agent – and what they actually do – Simon Whaley (who, incidentally, is also agented by Kate Nash!) has written a great article about it (‘Agent Attraction’) here.
And, in other news, last week I went up North for a few days and visited one of the famous Betty tea rooms (in Harrogate. Established in 1919! Other Betty tea shops are available).
It was an extra-special outing because we had my mum with us and it was just about the first ‘eatery’ any of us had been to since lockdown started. After a bit of a nervous start – and a short queue outside – we were IN and it was lovely!
The waitresses had visors on, bless ‘em but it still didn’t stop their cheeky chatter:
ME: (as we paid our bill): It was the first time for all of us.
WAITRESS: Ooh, I love a Betty’s virgin, me!*
ME: Ah, but we’re not virgins any more.
WAITRESS: NOOOO! You’ve all popped your cherry!
(* don’t suppose that was their usual banter in 1919!)
The afternoon tea was fabulous and instead of their usual 18 tables in the section we were in, they only had SEVEN. So, lots of lovely social-distancing going on (unlike the village pub we went to the next night, whose ingenious ‘one-way-system’ ensured that everyone, whether they were just propping up the bar, eating, or going to the loo, had to go past everyone else and have the most ‘contact’ possible. Aaagh!).
Have you ventured out into the world much lately?