What are Agents & Publishers Looking For ? With Literary Agent Fiona Kensole

Monday 5 March 2018

It’s not very often you get to hear it straight from the source EXACTLY what producers, publishers or literary agents are looking for. However, I was lucky enough to sit down recently with Literary Agent Fiona Kenshole who shared more than a few great tips!

Fiona has over twenty years of experience in the publishing industry holding positions such as Editorial Director at Harper Collins before her current position of Literary Agent at Transatlantic Agency. She previously was also the Vice President of Development Acquisitions at Oscar-winning animation company Laike, working on films such as Coraline, The Box Trolls, Paranorman and most recently, Cubo & The Two Strings.
So, it’s pretty fair to say Fiona knows EXACTLY what it is literary agents and publishers are looking for!
Here are Fiona’s 3 tips every writer should know before pitching or submitting their work.


  • Know the BASICS – You’re EXPECTED to know your craft. Learn the basics before you even THINK about submitting or pitching.
  • Do your RESEARCH – Who are you submitting or pitching to & WHY would your project be exactly what they’re looking for?
  • Know what’s come BEFORE – What shows, movies or books have come before and HOW does your work take these ideas/themes and make them unique.
2) Fiona’s Recipe for a GREAT Story

  • The first 10-15 pages are CRUCIAL – Get feedback to make sure your writing sets up the characters/plot in an exciting and interesting way. Audiences like to be surprised, shake things up and give us a hero worth cheering for!
  • It’s all about EMOTIONAL engagement – If we don’t care about the characters then we won’t care about the story.
  • The ONION Effect – A great story is LAYERED, not everything is revealed all at once. And remember to SHOW don’t tell – as often as you can!

3)   Your Script is Finished, What Next?

  • ENTER competitions – Get your name out there & often competitions are a great way to get an agent.
  • FEEDBACK – There is no such thing as BAD feedback. Get as many people to read your writing & learn from it, reflect and go with your gut instincts.
  • READ as many scripts or books as you can – how can you learn from them? Look at their techniques and style, make notes.
  • NETWORK – Actively pursue your goal by reaching out to others, be proactive and get talking to people!
So, there you have it – Fiona has shared her top 3 tips!

Remember, it’s all about:
  • Doing your HOMEWORK
  • Knowing what makes a GREAT story
  • It’s not *just* the writing, GO MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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