Name: Gill McLay

Agency: Bath Literary Agency

Genres represented:

Children’s writers and illustrators of fiction and non-fiction

Authors you represent and recent deals:

Laura James who wrote The Adventures of Pug for Bloomsbury and is now writing Fabio – The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective. Jess French from CBeebies who has written Minibeast Books with Egmont for pre-schoolers, Born Free books and non-fiction for Hachette and has other projects in the pipeline. Nell Gifford of Gifford’s Circus whose deal is to be announced soon. Harry Heape whose Shiny Pippin tales are due out in February 2018. Lastly, Fox Benwell whose new YA, Kaleidoscope comes out this autumn. It’s been very busy!

What’s on your wishlist #MSWL?

I have been looking for a non-fiction writer for a while now and would love to find someone who can really bring their own distinct flair to the genre. I’d also love to find more writers for young teen and YA with a fresh take on the life of teens. Maybe even humour. I am also looking at illustrators, which is an exciting development for the agency this year.

What is your working style with clients (e.g. how editorial are you)?

The relationship with your agent is so important. You really ride the rollercoaster together. My approach is very commercial and from the sales and marketing perspective. I am honest and share all feedback with my clients, warts and all. I want them to see the industry and understand how it works. I don’t believe in wrapping anyone in cotton wool, we’re in it together and even if the journey is hard it will make getting a book deal all the more special when it happens.

Do you choose books with head or heart?

I choose a book with my heart. When you stop noticing the writing and are transported into the world of story that’s the one for me! It’s a magical moment.

Which book or character has stayed with you since childhood?

I grew up with books and loved them more than toys. My ladybird books were my pride and joy and picture books like Giant John and Haunted House are still on my shelf now. From there I progressed to Paddington and Secret Seven as a slightly older reader and I loved these series with all my heart! I am slightly jealous of teens now. Some of the books for young readers that are available now are simply remarkable. It is truly a golden age.

Which house would the sorting hat put you in?

Gryffindor every time. I was a bookish tomboy at school so I would have been right at home!

How to submit to you: Submission tips:

Show your versatility and personality. I like to be able to see a person though their submission. Be yourself and let your work shine rather than telling us how it’s shining!

Twitter: @bathlitagency
Photo of Gill: Gill McLay

Kate Walker is a feature writer for Words & Pictures. She mainly writes MG fantasy as well as dabbling in picture books whenever a character grabs her imagination. Kate lives in Kent with her two children who are addicted to stories just as much as she is.
Follow Kate on Twitter: @KatakusM


Louisa Glancy is a features editor for Words & Pictures.
Twitter: @Louisa Glancy

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