Emily D'Souza | Community Assistant | Jericho Writers

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I'm Emily and I have recently started as Community and Content Assistant at Jericho Writers! I graduated from University of Exeter last year with a degree in English Literature and have since started my own virtual book club for publishing hopefuls during the pandemic! Other than reading and books (obviously), I am interested in music, radio and writing (I love anything Fleetwood Mac in particular!) 

I run the Jericho Writers Book Club and am always available for questions via messenger or email - community@jerichowriters.com

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Emily D'Souza | Community Assistant | Jericho Writers Discussions
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Hi everyone, I've had a few messages and questions about the book club by those who are unsure about…
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Introducing... Jericho Soapbox!As a new Community initiative, we want to pass the mic to you each mo…
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  •  · Great initiative
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Hello all! Hope you're having a great week so far. Just a quick update from us - Holly will be stepp…
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Hi everyone! We wanted to try something a little bit different on the community to bring out your im…
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Hi everyone, hope you had a lovely weekend! I just wanted to bring your attention to a fantastic com…
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Hi all, Today is your last chance to join the Jericho Writers Book Club group in order to ask questi…
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Hi everyone!

This week’s Spotlight On comes from Hannah Todd of The Madeleine Milburn Agency. With an editorial background, Hannah has only just begun her new chapter as a Literary Agent and is actively looking to build her list.

Hannah also used to work at Jericho Writers way back when we were known as ‘Writer’s Workshop’ and there were only 3 members of staff! It seems we have both come a long way since. As well as discussing all-things-literary, I loved talking to Hannah about how things have changed and expanded in the company since she was with us! 

We are very excited to announce that Hannah will be doing Agent 121s with Jericho Writers and her October slots are now available! You can find out more here. 

This Spotlight On contains highlights from our interview with Hannah. To find out more about Hannah and how to wow her with your all-important submission, you can read the full piece on her AgentMatch profile. 


‘In digital publishing, those first pages are so important. If someone is reading on their Kindle/E-Reading device, they’re going to get notifications popping up, so the first part needs to be super grabby and hooky. You’ve got to suck them in and not let them go!’

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Q. Let’s get stuck in. What’s at the top of your literary wishlist? 

My list is broadly across commercial literature and not literary. In terms of specific genres, I’m predominantly looking for crime, cosy crime, police procedurals, psychological thrillers, romance (contemporary, cosy romance or a community setting-based romance), accessible historical fiction (primarily WW2 based rather than anything literary or upmarket), women’s fiction, sagas and anything that is character driven with a relatable narrative. 

Q. Are there any particular genres that you don’t want to receive? 

I don’t accept non-fiction, poetry, fantasy or children’s/YA/MG submissions. I occasionally accept magical realism romance, such as The Time Traveller’s Wife, but the romance must still be the focal part of the novel rather than any supernatural element. I also don’t want any horror – it scares me! 

Q. Do you have any examples of authors/books similar to those that you’d like to acquire? 

Because of my editorial background, I look for submissions that are well-written but I’m also happy to do editorial work with the author if the idea is strong enough. I’m acquiring with a digital publishing focus. I’d love to find a cosy crime series – one of my favourites is the Murder on the Menu cosy crime series by Fiona Leitch, which is baking-themed! I also really enjoy reading Sandy Barker’s work as I love destination romances. Especially after being stuck inside for so long in lockdown, escapist reads like these are so important as they can whisk the reader away to a setting such as the Greek Islands or Paris with their descriptions of food and culture. It’s known as armchair travelling and these books are so transportive!

Q. What excites you on an opening page? 

In digital publishing, those first pages are so important. If someone is reading on their Kindle/E-Reading device, they’re going to get notifications popping up, so the first part needs to be super grabby and hooky. You’ve got to suck them in and not let them go! Some things to think about are – where are you starting your book in the narrative? At the most interesting part or way in advance of that? Slow-build writing might not be the best digital prospect as it tends not to be so enticing, so if your book is a slow-burner then I probably won’t be the best agent for you as I am going to be predominantly working with digital-focused clients. I really want something that instantly hooks me, such as a character that I can see myself in or relate to in some way.

If the book opening isn’t interesting, the reader won’t be committed. As an author, you have to remember that you have to show the reader how good the book is going to be. There’s such a short window to do this when submitting to literary agents, so it has to be as punchy as possible!

Q. Following on from this, what do you like in a query letter? Are there any instant do’s or don’ts? 

As I’ve only just started as a literary agent, I’ve been buried in submissions already – I received at least 60 in my first couple of days! This is to be expected at the start though, but I have been told this will be the usual! It’s quite rare for an agent to come in without a list and, as I came from editorial, I had no list to bring. I’m actively building so I want to start signing authors quickly!

At the top, I want to see a concise summary so that I know from first glance what I’m looking at – for example ‘I am submitting [Title], a novel of XXX words, XXX genre’. If someone has sent me a submission of a genre that I don’t accept, then they’re showing that they haven’t done their research and it’s a waste of both of our time! Our submission guidelines are really clear, so always take a look at those first.

Q. Are there any recent deals that have excited you or any authors that you’d love to acquire? 

The Madeleine Milburn Agency has a lot of huge names and I really love that everybody is treated the same across the board, with the same level of attention and care. It means that I can focus on finding new and debut voices as well as authors with established sales histories who have self-published or don’t yet have representation. I’ve been approaching some authors without representation (details coming soon!) and I’ve signed a few which is exciting! I’ve also signed some authors who are earlier in their careers, and I can’t wait to work with them to build up their success.

Q. What is your favourite beach read? 

At the moment, I’ve been listening to audio books as it’s much easier to switch off my ‘editing brain’ in that format! I’m not sure if it’s so much of a beach read, but I absolutely loved The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. It’s a masterclass on characterisation. I was listening to it whilst on a car journey with my boyfriend and I kept pausing just to praise the descriptions! I would recommend it to any author who wants to improve their craft – the twists and turns and having such strong voices like that of Joyce, the narrator. I had my suspicions she would turn out to be unreliable, but *spoiler alert* she really was just a lovely person and I was delighted to be wrong!


If you’re in need of some support and advice in regards to your query letter and synopsis, please do check out our resources on our website; we have lots of information to help guide you on your way. Or, if you’re a member with us, our lovely Writers Support team will be happy to offer you a free query letter review! Login to access the service here.

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Introducing... Jericho Soapbox!

As a new Community initiative, we want to pass the mic to you each month! You will have the opportunity to pitch a 1000-2000 word blog idea to me by emailing community@jerichowriters.com and I will post the chosen blog post on the community each month for everyone to see! 

So, get on your soapbox and write - we want your ideas, opinions and thoughts on all things writing. Whether this is compiling a list of tips for others or writing about a particular writing-themed moment that has stuck with you, a favourite author of yours - anything goes! 

Looking forward to reading through some of your ideas!

Emily x

Hi Janet, this event was cancelled due to medical issues, so we will update you when we know! 

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Roll up, roll up, we have a few agent one-to-one slots left with some amazing new agents, and they might just have your name on them!

Are you out on submission? Have you been receiving blanket responses? Then you may need some tell-it-like-it-is feedback…straight from the horse’s mouth. Yes, in a literary world of overflowing slushpiles, our one-to-ones guarantee that an agent will read your submission and provide you with their professional opinion on your work. During a fifteen minute phone conversation, an agent from one of our participating literary agencies will provide you with advice on your query letter, synopsis and first 5,000 words of your manuscript. Pretty snazzy, right?

Available this September:

Meg Davis – Ki Literary Agency

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=557&dpx=2&t=1631703233Meg is the founder of the Ki Literary Agency and currently Chair of the Writers’ Organisations Advisory Group. She is also serving a third term on the committee of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

Meg is happy to consider manuscripts in all genres, and books in genre fiction. However, she is not a fan of fiction that is narrated by an animal.

Imogen Morrell – Greene & Heaton

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Imogen is looking for immersive, brilliantly plotted upmarket and literary fiction with a twist — think Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, or Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.

In non-fiction, she’s looking for proposals that find unexpected ways to talk about interesting things (architecture, food, nature, politics, history, identity) from academics, critics and journalists who are writing their specialist subject for trade publication.

She also accepts submissions for narrative non-fiction, essay writing and food writing.

Claire Harris (US) – PS Literaryimage_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=559&dpx=2&t=1631703633In fiction Claire is looking for psychological thrillers; romcoms; contemporary fiction (bookclub); anything with a small town setting; cozy mysteries; mysteries in general; horror (light on the gore) and fiction with magical realism elements (must take place in our reality, just with a twist).

Nonfiction she is looking for lifestyle; true crime; self-help / advice; humor; gift books (cocktail, mocktail, craft, etc.); pop psychology; essay collections and cultural criticism. 

Annakarin Klerfalk - Intersaga

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Anna is drawn to complicated life stories, across all genres. She is looking for literary fiction that explores relationships and complex families. Commercial fiction with a humorous voice, that focuses on love, life and family relationships. YA and teen fiction (LGBT & underrepresented) ideally with a strong female leading character and/or topics around gender and life issues.

Rory Clarke – Andrew Nurnberg

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=561&dpx=2&t=1631703752Rory likes a wide range of non-fiction from popular science, history, literary and cultural criticism, current affairs and nature writing. Primarily compelling, original stories from emerging experts with surprising and new takes on a subject.

In fiction Rory likes voice-driven and story-led literary writing powered by strong ideas, setting and a command of form. This can also include upmarket crime and thrillers, as well as speculative fiction that brings something new to the genre. I’m especially keen to hear from writers from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

Amy Tannenbaum (US) – Jane Rotrosen

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Amy Tannenbaum is a passionate author advocate with over 15 years of book industry experience. Amy represents clients who write across a variety of genres including women’s fiction, contemporary romance, thriller and psychological suspense. She is particularly interested in those categories, as well as literary and commercial, narrative non-fiction, and works by marginalized voices.

If you believe you are ready to submit to agents, but are not 100% sure, then sign right up by clicking here. Equally, if you are out on submission and the agent of your dreams is now offering sessions, book one while they’re hot. These sessions do sell out fast, so, if you find that your preferred agent is no longer available, panic not. Get in touch at info@jerichowriters.com , and we can pop you on the waiting list. We will notify you as soon as slots are next available.

Hi everyone, whilst we encourage these discussions and feedback on manuscripts, please can I remind you all to be mindful of the topic and be thoughtful with what you say. 

Hi Nancy Cozart, could you drop me an email on community@jerichowriters.com just so I can find out a bit more about this? If you try opening Townhouse in a different browser that may help or double checking that you're typing the password correctly (it's case sensitive)! 

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Hello all! 

Hope you're having a great week so far. Just a quick update from us - Holly will be stepping away from Community for a while as she will be busy working on other projects. In the meantime, I will be overseeing the day-to-day management of Townhouse, as well as still running the JW Book Club! 

If you have any questions or messages, please direct them to me instead of Holly. I can also be reached via email at community@jerichowriters.com

Emily x

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