Jordan is an Associate Agent, primarily interested in fiction but also open to particularly unique or compelling non-fiction. We caught up with Jordan to find out more about what he’s looking for.
What do you enjoy the most about the author-agent relationship?
Helping authors realise their creative ambitions is a real privilege and something that excites me every day – getting a book published is so tough, so working with authors to bring that dream to life is rewarding work. And spotting a really talented writer and agreeing to work together is such a thrill. I really enjoy the editorial side, too, whether that’s helping a writer work out the broad shape of a story they’d like to tell or feeding in on the finer details of the manuscript before it goes out to publishers.
What are you looking for in a submission?
First of all, I always want to see a considered and concise cover letter. What is the book about? Where would it sit within a bookshop? What’s different or original about it? And why might I be the right agent for it? A cover letter is the first example of your writing we’re going to see, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. Similar care should go into the synopsis. It should be concise, easy to read and cover the bones of the plot without becoming convoluted.
In terms of the books I’d most like to see, my tastes are really diverse. Broadly I’m looking for crime/thrillers of all stripes (whether commercial or literary) and detective fiction, dystopian/speculative fiction, literary fiction, true crime and smart non-fiction. Within that, I’d especially love to see writing with an international flavour, something that opens up a part of the world less familiar to me. I’d love a crime/thriller told in an unconventional way or from an unconventional perspective, whether it’s a blistering thriller unfolding in an interview room or a fairytale or folk story reimagined as a crime novel. Detective fiction of any kind will likely grab my attention, as will menacing but thoughtful dystopian fiction. I’m also partial to anything which experiments with or subverts a genre, or blends one genre with another.
But ultimately one of the most exciting elements of the job is having no idea of the book I’d most like to see until I start reading it. It needs voice, it needs heart, it needs to be written with great control and energy – if it has all of those I’ll probably be interested, regardless of genre.
What is your Desert Island book – the one book you could not do without if you were stranded on a desert island?
Either Calvino’s Cosmicomics or Borges’ Fictions (can’t separate them, sorry) – both give me something new every time I read them.