We are very lucky to have a huge number of industry professionals attending the RNA conference in Leeds this year – agents, publishers and editors – and over the coming weeks, we will be hearing from them about what they do and what they are looking for from their one-to-one sessions with RNA members over the weekend of the conference in July.
Today, we welcome Oli Munson, who is an agent and director with A M Heath. So, over to you, Oli.
1. Please could you start by telling us what your current role is and what it involves?
I’m a literary agent and director at AM Heath, London’s oldest independent literary agency. I represent about 40 authors so my time is mostly spent managing their careers while also keeping an eye out for new talent.
2. What type of submissions are you personally looking for at the moment?
Novels with heart and emotional resonance. A bit of humour never goes amiss too.
3. Is there anything you wouldn’t accept right now?
I’m not a fan of hardcore sci-fi or fantasy but I suspect that’s not going to be a problem with the RNA membership… Apart from that I’m open to most anything. I’d rather be sent a manuscript than not and I try not to be too specific in what I’m looking for as you genuinely don’t know when something will fly out of left field and grab your attention.
4. RNA members are sending you only their first chapter and a synopsis. Can you give them any tips on how to grab your attention in such a short submission?
As it’s only a chapter, make sure that everything that can be right, is right. So much of my business is subjective but there are certain elements like spelling and punctuation which are universal.
5. And what about the synopsis? Do you have any tips for writing a really good one?
Keep it concise, chronological and don’t leave anything out. Spoilers are a necessity.
6. What are you most looking forward to doing over the conference weekend aside from your one-to-one sessions?
I’m only there for one night so I’m just looking forward to being there, meeting authors, and experiencing my first RNA conference.
7. Can you tell us the last published book you read which you really enjoyed and why?
I loved Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. I picked it up thinking it was a crime novel but it’s really a hypnotic tale of life in a northern village told over many years. The characterisation and attention to detail is second to none.
Thanks so much, Oli, for taking the time to answer these questions for us. Enjoy the conference!