AGENT CONFIDENTIAL Philippa Milnes-Smith

Name: Philippa Milnes-Smith

Agency: Lucas Alexander Whitley (LAW)

Genres represented: Children’s and YA writers and illustrators including fantasy

Authors you represent and recent deals:

Chris Riddell (Goth Girl and many more), Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines and again many more), Sophie Kinsella (Finding Audrey was her debut YA but she’s an adult best-seller too), great new voice and prize-winner Jeff Zentner from the US (Goodbye Days and The Serpent King), Chris Judge (Danger is Everywhere and brilliant picture book The Beast), versatile illustrator Jane Porter (Pink Lion). I would like to list every single one of my clients of course but at least this gives you an idea…

Recent deals include:

Words and Your Heart, debut picture book by Kate Jane Neal which speaks to all ages(Simon and Schuster/Feiwel and Friends)about the power of words YA Non-fiction title Girls Who Code by the inspirational Reshma Saujani (Virgin); new young fiction series by Sophie Kinsella, Mummy Fairy and Me (Puffin); 10 book deal with Scholastic UK which relaunches the legendary Fighting Fantasy gamebook series from Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson; 2 more titles in Linda Chapman’s lovely Star Friends series with Stripes.

What’s on your wishlist #MSWL?

That special story I haven’t yet read, that new world I haven’t yet discovered which is just waiting to change my life. I have always loved supernatural and suspense and I’m always looking for the greatest ghost story ever. I’m always looking for a book to make me cry. And something to make me laugh. I can be won with clever ideas too. I loved watching The Handmaid’s Tale on TV recently as it just reminded me just how a brilliant conceit can still resonate. New approaches to storytelling and communicating ideas are also very exciting. I think there are so many opportunities for using both words and pictures on the page.

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

I was an editor long before I became a publisher and then agent so editorial has become part of my DNA, I think. But I am also a great believer in authors finding their own way and their own voice.

Do you choose books with head or heart?

Both matter equally, I think. Agents and publishers operate in a commercial world and you need a good and clear head to work effectively in this kind of business environment if you are going to do the best for creative talent. But always worth remembering it’s still the books that steal the reader’s heart which have the greatest impact.

Which book or character has stayed with you since childhood?

That is such an unfair question! There are so many filling my memory if I just open the door the teeniest crack. I’d still adopt Paddington; I’d still follow Lucy into the wardrobe; I’d still go into Tom’s Midnight Garden; and I’d still like a Little White Horse

Which house would the sorting hat put you in?

I don’t think I’d like to be sorted by anything. I’ll keep my choices independent.

How to submit to you/submission tips:

There is information on our website about making submissions and the kind of pitch that should go with them. I think it’s worth taking the time to really target any submission and get it perfect. I am still amazed at how many are just addressed to the wrong name! We do try to look at everything, though we only respond to projects where we want to see more so don’t despair if you don’t hear from us but do move on to another agency. And do get a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook. It is a really good introduction to the whole of the publishing business from the author’s side. There is a dedicated children’s version too.

Follow Philippa:
Website  Twitter Facebook

Photo credit: headshot of Philippa taken by one of the LAW team 

Kate Walker
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.
Contact: Twitter: @Louisa Glancy

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