Name:  Zoë Plant
Agency:  The Bent Agency
Genres represented:  Children’s fiction (middle grade, teen and YA), and adult crime and thrillers, science fiction, fantasy and horror


Authors you represent and recent deals: I am building my list, but I can’t wait to be able to shout about the exciting things that I’m working on.
What’s on your wishlist #MSWL?
I’m looking very broadly and I am open to reading all kinds of submissions. That said, I’m particularly on the hunt for fast-paced middle grade with a strong voice and a real sense of fun, particularly if it is a little dark and quirky. I absolutely adore a good YA fantasy and could spend my whole year reading them, but at this point it’s a very crowded market, so I’m looking for books that play with the genre and do something a little bit different with it. If I didn’t work in publishing, I think I would be a detective, so murder mysteries and twisty thrillers are some of my favourites, especially when the twist or solution is very clever or done in an unexpected way.

Across the board, I love anything that brings out my inner nerd – zombies, space travel, codes and codebreaking, pandemics and dinosaurs will always be winners for me. And on the other end of the spectrum, I love to have a good cry over what I’m reading, so also send me your weepiest books! 

What is your working style with clients (eg how editorial are you)?
I always have plenty of ideas about what makes a book tick, and when I find a submission that I love I really enjoy getting stuck into edits and brainstorming potential changes with the author. Ultimately, I want the book to be the best it can be when it goes on submission so that it has the very best chance of selling.

Do you choose books with head or heart?
Heart! I need to love the books that I’m working on, and there is no better feeling than the tingle of realising that you’ve found something that you adore. However, before I was an agent I spent five years as a literary scout, reading vast swathes of children’s and adult books being released in the UK and recommending them to international publishers. This means that I have an ingrained knowledge of what books are marketable in both the UK and overseas, and that ‘head’ part of me can’t help but come into play when deciding which books to take on.

Which book or character has stayed with you since childhood?
So many! The first book that I loved was The BFG, and I’ve never grown out of wanting books that are just as mad and deliciously dark. My copy of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper has been read so many times that I’ve had to tape the cover back on. And as a teenager I returned again and again to the characters of Alanna in The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce and Lirael in Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series – both teenage girls who achieved more than anyone ever told them was possible.

If you were a character in Philip Pullman's Dark Materials which daemon would you have and why?
This is such an important question and I have obviously been thinking about it for two decades, ever since I first read Northern Lights! In a rather impractical decision, I finally came to the conclusion that my daemon would be an elephant. Although it would make it quite challenging to live indoors, they are curious, matriarchal, have good memories and are incredibly protective of their herds.

How to submit to you: Our submission guidelines are on The Bent Agency website.

Submission tips: Spending a little time personalising your submission goes a long way – even just addressing me by name. Otherwise, make sure the formatting is clear and easy to read, that you have followed our submission guidelines and that you have told me what the book is about in a relatively succinct fashion. I read a lot of submissions in a week, and a well-crafted letter that delivers all the information I need always stands out.

Twitter: @ZoePlant89

Feature photo: Zoë Plant. Photo credit: The Bent Agency

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. 
Twitter: @KatakusM 

Carry de la Harpe is a features editor for Words & Pictures. 
Twitter: @Carry_delaHarpe

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