Literary agent Kate Nash needs no introduction to
many members of the RNA. Kate has attended several RNA events, including the RNA
conference 2017, where she accepted pitches from members.
It’s a great pleasure to welcome Kate to the blog
today. Thanks for accepting our invitation, Kate!
Please tell us a little about the Kate Nash Agency, how long it’s been
established, and how you came to set it up.
I set up the Agency in 2009. As a publisher I
worked with a wide variety of literary agents and
Kate Nash literary agency, helena fairfax

came to the conclusion that
it was the best job in the business. This is because agents have the amazingly
privileged position of being able to work closely with an author and drive the
direction and success of the author’s overall career. Publishers are of course critical
to an author’s success but there remains a potential tension between their
interests as a business and the interests of the author. A literary agent’s
interests are the author’s interests so we can be there champion as well as
having those difficult conversations.

I set up my own business as I felt I was a little
too old and opinionated to garner a job making the tea at an established
literary agency and wanted to start building my client list right away.
What genres do you represent?
I represent commercial fiction across most genres,
namely romantic fiction, women’s fiction, family sagas, historical fiction,
crime and thrillers. I also represent some narrative non-fiction.
What services do you provide for your authors?
The Kate Nash Literary Agency is a full service
literary agency, by which I mean that we offer representation to book authors
across all territories and formats. As primary agent I would handle an author’s
work across the World in English language for all book formats. For translation
and television / film we work in partnership with specialist agencies: RightsPeople
on translation and Collective Talent for dramatisation.
What is it you are
looking for when a manuscript lands on your desk? Are there any specific plots
or themes you’d like to see?
looking for a gripping, unputdownable read from the opening sentence onwards.
When I request to see a full manuscript, it’s usually the best thing I’ve
started reading all week, possibly all month, occasionally all year. We get a
lot of submissions and I read a lot so I always say to writers that if any
agent requests to see more material this is a brilliant sign, even if things
don’t move forward with that particular agent.
Do you ever find
authors outside the slush pile? If so, how?
have found a number of my authors from literary events and competitions. I
actively try to attend a variety of writing conferences and literary festivals
every year, including the Romantic Novelists Association annual conference. I
feel that by the time that aspiring writers have the confidence to start
attending conferences they are some way down the road in taking their craft seriously.
It is affirming for me to engage face to face on all sorts of levels, to be
encouraging and be available as an industry professional.
What advice would you give someone submitting to you?
My client list is fairly full meaning that I can
only take on a couple of new clients a year but it is really important not to
be put off by statistics like that. Finding the right agent is in some ways
similar to finding “the one”: you only need one good one and the rest are
irrelevant! Few things are as satisfying or as thrilling as a debut book deal
for a writer and therefore I will always continue to work with new writers and
encourage submissions. This year I’ve had debut success from two RNA members: Lucie
Wheeler (The First Time Mums’ Club,
HarperImpulse) and Maggie Sullivan (Christmas
on Coronation Street
, HarperFiction).
It is tough out there for new writers trying to
find an agent. There are possibly not enough agents to meet the demand. Don’t
take it personally if an agent isn’t interested or fails to get back to you. Agents
have clear guidelines and because of the volume of submissions it is really
important that writers stick to these to make sure that their submissions are
read and lost somewhere in a parallel universe. My guidelines are on the
What’s your favourite romance novel of all time?
Pride and Prejudice because of its many other layers of social
commentary, character analysis and humour.
Apart from your own authors, which book have you enjoyed the most in the
past twelve months, and why?
Clare Mackintosh’s I See You was terrifying and I literally stayed up late into night
to finish it.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My favourite going-out treat is the theatre and now
my children are a bit older I’m trying to go to more than just children’s
theatre (great though that is).  A good
few weekends are taken up with literary events so when I am at home I love to
organise family days out but also relax in my kitchen on a Saturday morning,
cooking and listening to Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio. I also donate a day
or two a month as a trustee  to a
publishing charity, the Catholic Truth Society, who publish resources for Catholics
in the UK.
If you could describe your working day in just three words, what would
they be?
Coffee. Work. Repeat.
Thanks so much for dropping in today, Kate, and for your thoughtful and
encouraging answers. Wishing you much continued success with your authors, and
we look forward to seeing you at the next conference!

If you’ve enjoyed Kate’s interview, or have any questions or comments at
all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Helena Fairfax is a freelance editor who writes feel good contemporary romances and romantic suspense. Her novel A Year of Light and Shadows tells the story of how plain Lizzie Smith is plunged into a year of mystery involving a missing princess, a false diamond, a doppelgänger and a hot bodyguard.
You can find out more about Helena’s books and her editing services on her website
  1. Author
    Sheryl Browne 2 years ago

    I think a lot of writers seem to spend their time in a parallel universe nowadays, Kate. Love your comment about people being some way down the road to taking their craft seriously in attending conferences and events. It is a daunting step for some who may be lacking in confidence. It's always fab that agents and publishers are so welcoming and encouraging therefore. Great post!

  2. Author
    Linda Corbett 2 years ago

    I met you at the Wantage Literary Festival Pitch to an Agent in 2016. I had never met or spoken to an agent before but you were so approachable and your feedback was wonderfully encouraging. Every time I felt like giving up with my manuscript I read your feedback and it gave me the kick start I needed to keep going.

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