Amy Fitzgerald is an Agent at The Blair Partnership and is building her list in both fiction and non-fiction. She is on the lookout for compelling voices and engaging storytelling that grips her from the first page. She is particularly interested in crime thrillers, reading group fiction, accessible literary fiction, YA, memoir and smart narrative non-fiction with a commercial edge.
We caught up with Amy to find out more about her role and the type of work she loves to represent.
What is an average day like for you working as a Literary Agent?
My day starts with my morning commute where I can catch up on reading manuscripts from clients and any new submissions. I am also a bit of a podcast fiend so try and catch up on episodes of anything from true crime and comedy to culture and popular science. When I am in the office, after a cup of tea, I tackle my inbox and prioritise any urgent emails from clients and editors before drawing up my to-do list.
An agent’s day is always incredibly varied – one day I will be negotiating contracts, chasing payments, discussing marketing and publicity plans with editors and approving press releases for upcoming publications. The next day I will be calling editors to pitch an exciting new idea or novel from our clients, catching up with our International team to discuss new projects and sending clients feedback on manuscripts and book proposals. Alongside this, I am always on hand to answer any queries from clients and I make sure to regularly meet editors and producers for a coffee to find out more about the kind of stories they are looking for.
The main thing I look for is a fresh and distinct voice…I want to be fully absorbed by great storytelling.
Last, but by no means least, I am constantly keeping an eye out for new talent – whether that is reading the slush pile, attending competition readings or finding interesting people, concepts and ideas from online articles, podcasts or social media. If I’m not going to a book launch or industry event in the evening I will head home to catch up on any other reading or binge watch Broad City in my PJs.
What do you enjoy the most about the author-agent relationship?
The thing I cherish most as an agent is being able to work with a client through every step of the publishing process from developing their idea and finding the right editor to publication and beyond. At The Blair Partnership we want to work with clients in developing a long term career for them – I really like collaborating with authors at every stage so their story reaches the widest audience possible.
As the Agent for fiction and non-fiction at The Blair Partnership, you are currently looking for crime/thriller, contemporary fiction, memoir and narrative non-fiction. Describe your dream submission.
Generally, across both fiction and non-fiction, a dream submission would be a story that stays with me long after reading it. I love unsettling crime stories that explore the complexity of human behaviour, that aren’t solely about who committed the crime but why they did it. I am also on the lookout for beautifully written commercial and literary fiction. My tastes in this area are quite varied but the main thing I look for is a fresh and distinct voice that is not only gripping but also elicits an emotional response.
I want to be fully absorbed by great storytelling whether that is an enchanting historical novel, an unconventional and hilarious romance or powerful and moving book club fiction that tackles big themes. I also love concept-driven Young Adult fiction which deals with real issues and celebrates marginalised voices. In narrative non-fiction, I am particularly interested in mental health, race, gender, feminism, life & death, travel and pop culture and am always looking for heartfelt and thought-provoking memoirs.
What is your Desert Island book – the one book you could not do without if you were stranded on a desert island?
This is a near impossible question to answer but if I had to pick one book it would be The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Age 13 ¾ by the wonderful Sue Townsend because it never fails to make me laugh. Set in 1980s Leicester, Townsend’s first book follows the life and misadventures of 13 year old Adrian as he navigates first love, his parents’ marital problems, his so called budding genius and an unlikely friendship with a foul mouthed OAP. She writes with such warmth and humour and really made me fall in love with comic writing from a young age.
I will also try and sneak on Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex because it blew my mind when I first read it, and Emma Jane Unworth’s Animals because it brilliantly explores female friendship and I’ve never read such a perfectly described hangover!
If you would like Amy to consider your work for representation, please send it to our submissions department. Find a copy of our submissions policy here.