It’s a pleasure to welcome literary agent Kate Burke to the RNA blog today for an interview with Helena Fairfax. Kate is with Diane Banks Associates and worked previously at Headline, Penguin, HarperCollins, and as Editorial Director at Century (Random House). Thanks so much for joining us, Kate!
Please tell us a little about Diane Banks Associates, how long the agency has been established, and how you came to join.
Diane set up the agency in 2006 after a career in publishing on the rights side. I head up the fiction side of things for the agency and we also have a non-fiction agent, a children’s/YA agent and a broadcast agent, so we are a full-service agency, handling all rights (translation, film & TV, audio, speaking engagements, etc) in house.
I joined five years ago and also came from the publishing side – I had been an editor for ten years, publishing all types of commercial fiction and editing lots of bestselling authors (Marian Keyes, Fern Britton, Lisa Jewell, Jane Fallon, Jane Green, Cecelia Ahern, Penny Vincenzi to name but a few!) I loved my time as an editor but what I really wanted to do was seek out new writers, so switching sides and becoming an agent was the perfect solution. From my experience at four major publishers, I know what editors are looking to acquire, what they want to see in a submission letter, how they want a book to be pitched to them and, above all, I know that a manuscript needs to be up to scratch before an editor can consider it and share it with their team, so I offer my clients extensive editorial feedback before submitting their manuscripts to publishers.
You’ve had extensive experience in commissioning and publishing commercial fiction. What is it about a book that makes you decide it will sell well? (Difficult
Have you noticed any particular trends in romance recently, and if so, what do you think is going to be big this year?
Do you ever find authors outside the slush pile? If so, how?
What advice would you give someone submitting to you?
What’s your favourite romance novel of all time?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
If you could describe your working day in just three words, what would they be?
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions, Kate. It’s been a great pleasure getting to know you. Wishing you and Diane Banks Associates all the best for 2018!
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 romance author and freelance editor. Her latest novel – a feel good contemporary romance called Felicity at the Cross Hotel – is just the type of warm, romantic, life-affirming read Kate mentions in her interview. You can find out more about Helena’s books and her editing services on her website www.helenafairfax.com.