SPOTLIGHT FEATURE: Camilla Bolton from the Darley Anderson Agency

SPOTLIGHT FEATURE: Camilla Bolton from the Darley Anderson Agency

Good morning, everyone!

Today I’m excited to share a wonderful interview with Camilla Bolton!

Camilla is a senior agent at the Darley Anderson Agency. She represents a number of bestseller and critically acclaimed authors, and in 2013 was named as a Publishing Rising Star by The Bookseller.

Camilla primarily loves and represents crime, thriller, suspense, and women’s fiction, but there’s no fiction genre she won’t look at. She loves working editorially with authors and is looking for new talent.

Check out some highlights from our interview with Camilla below.

Camilla Bolton

“Be focused on what your aims are, who you’d love to represent you and keep going.”

Good afternoon Camilla, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today! We would love to know more about how you became an agent, what you’re looking for in submissions, and more about your role as an agent.

Q. What brought you to agenting?

I was very lucky, the Agency was looking for someone to do admin a day a week and I saw the advert and applied. From there I quickly went up to two days a week and within three months was full time and reading the crime thriller submissions. My only qualification was that I loved commercial crime thriller mystery fiction. I’d grown up reading Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham and the key to Agenting really is knowing what readers love and trusting your instincts on this.

Q. What’s at the top of your fiction wish-list?

I love character and voice. This is always key and then that big hook. So really anything with these elements I’d love. In regards to plot, for over ten years I was looking for a sliding doors thriller but there have been a few of these now, although I’d definitely still love to read these,  and I love escapist thrillers where we are taken out of our norm and thrown on a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns. Basically any story where your first instinct is to tell all your friends that they have to read this book!

Q: What is a day in the life of an agent like for you?

Every day is different, which is amazing. I can go from talking to an author, to editing, to negotiating, to talking to a publisher. It is a lot of reading and chatting, so really I have a dream job.

Q. What do you want to see in a query letter? And what do you hate?

For me that story pitch or hook is key. I always think query letters need to be thought of as the back of a book blurb; how can authors grab an Agent’s attention? It’s also really good to know a bit about the author; their background, what they love, the books and authors they love reading. Most of all though I want to just get to the chapters and start reading.

In regards to what I hate, I wouldn’t say anything really, just be friendly, honest and make sure your chapters are 100% ready to send to Agents.

Q. Same question when it comes to the synopsis. What should writers do? What should they avoid?

I actually don’t like synopsis if they have spoilers in them. I always approach them with caution as I hate knowing what is going to happen. So what I suggest it writers do a short synopsis with no spoilers, and then a longer one with ‘Spoilers!’ warning at the top.

Q. What are you looking for in the opening pages of a novel? What really excites you?

A gripping authentic character, a fully immersive set up that makes me instantly sit up or be surprised. For me, the key is as a reader feeling like we’re instantly part of the scene and feeling and reacting as the protagonist is.

Q. What makes for a successful author-agent relationship? How can both parties get the most out of the relationship?

I think the key is trust and knowing you are a team. Authors will face highs and lows in their careers and it’s such a close working relationship between author and agent, both sides need to know that they are both 100% in it for the long-term and through the huge successes but also any setbacks.

In regards to how both parties get the most out of it, I think it’s like any relationship and that’s being honest and understanding and patient. When an author is looking for an Agent they need to make sure they go with their gut instinct. There are so many brilliant successful agents, so it’s finding the right fit personality wise.

Q. What’s your favourite thing about being an agent?

The people and their incredible characters and books. I do also love being ambitious for my authors and never giving up on their ambitions for themselves.

Q. Any final words of advice for authors in the querying process?

Be focused on what your aims are, who you’d love to represent you and keep going. So many of the huge selling authors had a big struggle at the beginning of their careers and this is a brilliant thing to just remember when it feels like you are getting a lot of passes and no big breaks.

The full interview can be found on Camilla’s AgentMatch profile.

In the meantime, if you’re struggling with your query letter and synopsis, do check out our free resources on our website. We have lots of info to help you on your way. Or, better still, if you’re a Premium Member with us, our lovely Writers Support team will be happy to offer you a free query letter review!

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