14 May Meet the Agent: Laura Bennett
Meet the Agent: Laura Bennett: Liverpool Literary Agency
*This interview is subjective and pertains to Laura and her experience*
Laura Bennett started with the Liverpool Literary Agency two years ago, working in an editorial capacity. Now she has progressed to agent status and is looking to build her list. The agency is looking for a wide variety of authors, supporting the under-represented, equality, diversity, and inclusion in the publishing industry. They are only accepting submissions from writers born, or now living in, the North of England. This is defined for the purpose of submissions as the area from the southern boundaries of Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire (West, South and East) up to the Scottish border and including Northumberland and Cumbria. Full agency details here:
Laura is open for submissions and is looking for adult and YA science fiction and fantasy of all stripes, including steampunk, post-apocalyptic, urban fantasy, supernatural, and dystopian. She loves diverse casts and complicated relationships. Stories that focus on realistic characters with strong voices are a definite hit, no matter how fantastical their worlds.
For full details please see Laura’s MSWL below:
Q & A
When an agent requests a polished manuscript but there are still some mistakes would that be enough to make it a rejection?
Manuscripts quite often have mistakes so a few wouldn’t be off-putting. However, if there were an extreme amount, yes that could be detrimental.
Always remember that if the writing is good enough, some mistakes might even go unseen. Polish your work as best you can before sending it. If an agent wants to offer representation, it’s likely more edits and refining will be required before finding a home for your work.
What format layout is typical i.e. page number/author’s name?
Formatting rules are still in line with the traditional. Keeps it easy for notes in margins etc. Especially if the agent prints off your manuscript. Here is a very useful site that will give you step by step guidance on format layout for your work:
This is how I format all my work and Laura agreed this would be a suitable layout. Please also read up on the agency you are submitting to as they may have specific requirements.
Should personal details always be above the salutation in the cover letter or in the writing extract?
The writing extract is fine however it can be useful to add in; email; phone number and social media handles at the end of your letter. Double-check agency specifics regarding this.
Is the first name okay to use for the salutation?
The first and second name would be a professional first impression. If you receive a response from the said agent, take note of how they sign their email so that going forward you can address them as such. Best not to use Mr/Mrs/Ms etc as that might not be widely known. DO NOT ADDRESS YOUR EMAIL AS, ‘DEAR AGENT!’
Can you explain the process of how you decide to offer representation?
Every query is read by Laura and make sure she is a good fit for your genre and that you live within the area the agency is seeking. Otherwise, this would be a rejection. The first stage would be a no or a more in-depth read before, the second stage—a full manuscript and synopsis request (Laura doesn’t request partials only full if she is interested).
What happens next after offering and how long does an agent expect for an answer to the offer?
Once the decision to offer is made, Laura would reach out by email to arrange a zoom call. Representation would be discussed from there. Approximately two weeks would be the turnaround for a client to make their decision. This allows for the contracts to be reviewed and a chance for the potential client to connect with Laura’s current authors.
Would you consider authors who have previously self-published or published through a small press?
What would put you off a manuscript? E.g. swearing etc?
A little swearing is okay. Books with rape, negative stereotypes and unexpected sex scenes would not be considered. It might be an idea if your manuscript contains sensitive subject matter—add in a content warning in your cover letter.
What is a respectable time frame for a nudge email?
For me personally, about two months. A respectable time could be anything up to six months though.
How much personal information do you look for in a query letter?
We like to know where you are from and why you are the one to write your book.
Do you like to know if people querying have had manuscript requests or offers of representation?
Yes to both as it gives adequate time to read a manuscript if a person has been given a deadline.
I wish to say thank you to Laura for the time she spared to answer these questions. It was a great chat and valuable for me to gain insight on the querying process. I hope you all enjoyed the interview and find it helpful also.
Make sure to sign up to my website for further updates on Meet the Agent interviews.
Happy writing all. Till next time.