Name: Hannah Sheppard

Agency: DHH Literary Agency.

Genres represented: Children’s fiction (from 8+ through to YA) as well as some commercial general fiction (mostly crime/thriller & women’s)



Authors you represent and recent deals: Abi Elphinstone – THE UNMAPPED CHRONICLES (S&S); Adam Hamdy – BLACK 13 (Macmillan); Amy McLellan – REMEMBER ME (Orion); Faridah Abike-Iyimide – ACE OF SPADES (Usborne); Amy Beashel – THE SKY IS MINE (Oneworld); Darren Charlton – WRANGLESTONE (Stripes).  As well as Chris McGeorge, Keris Stainton, Kate Mallinder, Samantha Baines, Gabrielle Kent and a few more I can’t talk about yet.

Wish list: I love to see: Clear, fresh hooks; strong voices that pull me right in; great storytelling; diverse (in all senses) casts and authors. And, specific things I’d love to find in children’s right now…

  1. Age 9-11 Exciting stories where the world building is as rich as the magical plot (but with a contemporary feel, not a voice that feels overly authorial)
  2. Age 9-11 Heart-lifting, emotional, but with humour to the voice
  3. Age 12+ Something funny. Maybe about sibling dynamics (actually, sibling dynamics could apply to 2 too)

Working style: That somewhat depends on the client and how they prefer to work, but, particularly with new clients as we’re getting ready for submission I’m very hands on editorially (I was an in-house editor for 10 years before becoming an agent and I really love the editorial process).

Head or heart: That’s a difficult one – mostly my heart because to really champion a book (and read it repeatedly) you have to absolutely love it. But there has to be a bit of head that steps in at the last minute because if I can’t see a route to publication I’m not doing the author any favours by offering them representation.

Favourite childhood character: I think it’s probably got to be Nancy Drew. I loved her so much. And I desperately wanted to be a detective when I grew up. I console myself that agenting and editing are a little bit like being a detective. I’m not just searching for talented authors the way a detective might search for suspects, but once I’ve found them, I ask the questions that haven’t been covered yet to make sure their alibi story is watertight and free of plot holes.

Hogwarts House: I have a feeling it would go Hufflepuff... but I have a little bit of Gryffindor and a little bit of Slytherin too.

How to submit: My submission email address is
I ask for a cover letter, the first three chapters and a synopsis all pasted into the body of the email in that order. Please use size 12 font and double space if you can (although I’d rather have it in the email single spaced than double spaced in an attachment).

Submission tips: Your cover letter should focus on your book. Be clear about the pitch, intrigue me with the detail of your character, what they want and what’s at stake if they fail to achieve it. Hone in on character and story rather than themes, etc. Know your market – help me place the book commercially. And don’t send a first draft.

Twitter: @YA_Books @dhhlitagency

Upcoming events: In December the D H H literary agency are heading to Liverpool for a Pitch an Agent session. The closing date for this has passed but we’re planning more regional pitch sessions so follow @dhhlitagency on Twitter to make sure you hear about the next one.

I’ll be doing 1-2-1s at the WriteMentor Brighton weekend in February (22/23).
Image courtesy of Hannah Shepherd and DHH

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

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