Agents receive an enormous number of queries every week, in this event learn how to make yours stand out.
Join WME Books’ London team at their London offices as they discuss and share tips on market trends and the nitty gritty strategies that will help your query catch an agent’s eye. From writing a pitch, to choosing a title and advice on what you can do to maximise global sales and TV/Film opportunities.
The talk will be followed by a Q&A and the opportunity to connect with the team and fellow attendees.
About WME Books
WME is proud to represent bestselling and award-winning authors in all genres. Our authors have won the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Man Booker Prize, the Baillie Gifford Prize, the National Medal of Literature, the Waterstones Prize, the British Book Awards, and more. It’s no secret that we work with literary giants, thought-leaders, and multihyphenate celebrities. But we’re honoured that for the majority of our authors, we are in partnership from the very beginning — from query to deal, from first publication to full-fledged writing career.
Across the agents, they represent a range of award-winning and best-selling authors, alongside celebrities, from the UK and US including: Sara Veale, Cailey Rizzo, Geneva Abdul, Millie Bobby Brown, Judy Blume, Jhumpa Lahiri, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Yaa Gyasi.
If you require access support please email [email protected] and we will work to meet the access needs you have.
About WME Books
Hellie joined WME’s London office as co-head of the UK Book division in 2023. She represents fiction, children's books and non-fiction and enjoys novels with bold storytelling, moving prose and vivid, thought-provoking characters. She is actively taking on new clients and as an editorially focused agent, she has a keen interest in helping to develop and nurture debut writers. Follow her on Twitter @hellieogden.
Hellie featured in the Bookseller Rising Stars List and was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize. She represents a number of global bestsellers and award-winning writers across genres. She often speaks at writing conferences and mentors debut writers.
"I'm incredibly hands on editorially, and I love to help shape a piece of work from the very rough idea through to a polished, original manuscript. So I'm looking for a few special, standout books every year that I can pump my energy into. I'm happy to receive manuscripts even when just at a rough stage - that really excites me. I work extremely closely with our New York office, translation rights team, digital departments and the LA TV/film agents in building international and cross-media careers for my clients. I’m always excited to hear from debut authors and hungry to read great material!
I'm on the lookout for high-concept thrillers and suspense with fresh hooks, big ideas and daring twists. A new crime series with a protagonist that you want to come back to again and again and love stories from exciting new voices. I adore historical fiction, I'm always open to original, courageous ideas and seeing a time/place/person in a new light. Page turning literary fiction tapping into the millennial experience, nostalgia, sexuality, and family complexities always interest me. I'm proud to represent a list that is conversation-starting, diverse and eclectic.
Favourite authors include Maggie O'Farrell, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tana French, Rachel Joyce, Liane Moriarty, Isabel Allende, Marian Keyes, Sarah Waters and Chris Riddell. I love those books that hit the reading group sweet spot - upmarket, but with a clever commercial hook so something like WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? which has real flair and heart. Or QUEENIE for its pure joy and painful honesty. I thought WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING was extraordinarily good and I'm often drawn to family stories, and writing that is sharp, witty and warm like LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY. Female-led mysteries in the vein of HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY, the beautiful GIRL A and the skilfully crafted SUCH A FUN AGE are firm favourites.
I read broadly, literary through to commercial, and in a bookshop I will hunt for moral complexities, unusual twists and prose that will floor me emotionally and challenge me too. I always want to be transported out of my comfort zone and to feel genuine emotional depth in the pages I read. I never tire of the mother/daughter dynamic, and now raising three young girls myself, that feels particularly acute. I'll forever enjoy work that celebrates women.
On the YA-side it's stories with a big heart and voice that tackle the often messy side of growing up. Books like WE WERE LIARS and HEART-SHAPED BRUISE. I’ll happily read any romantasy and great world building. When it comes to middle-grade I'm open to all sorts, but I have a real love of adventure mixed with magic, and I read on repeat Eva Ibbotson. I devoured the SKANDAR series and love something eccentric and mad and outrageously fun. I will always hunt out books that make me cry. THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS I thought was phenomenal.
In non-fiction I focus on memoir, standout cookery/lifestyle writers and moving narrative nonfiction projects as well as work that has a social following with cross-media potential. I was in awe of Dolly Alderton and her debut EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE, Emilie Pine's NOTES TO SELF, THREE WOMEN by Lisa Taddeo and the extraordinary Candice Brathwaite's I AM NOT YOUR BABY MOTHER.”
Matilda Forbes Watson
Matilda has been at WME since 2013 and is a Partner and co-Head of the UK Book division. She represents a diverse list of bestselling adult fiction and non-fiction and is actively looking to take on new clients. She loves to work with debut authors in the early stages of developing a project but also has experience of taking on writers with established careers. She works side by side with authors at every stage, from submission through to publication, as well as in connecting them with the many specialists and resources available to them at WME.
In non-fiction, Matilda is interested in extraordinary untold stories, big ideas, investigative journalism and agenda-setting books – she loved EDUCATED, EMPIRE OF PAIN, THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE, NATIVES, THE SECRET BARRISTER. She is keen to read proposals by professionals, experts or writers with a platform, which explore how we live and how we might live better, offering the reader understanding and practical suggestions to implement change – ATOMIC HABITS for example. And books in the vein of MATING IN CAPTIVITY, WHY WE SLEEP or FOUR THOUSAND WEEKS which zoom in on a universal part of life with a unique perspective. She would like to find standout UK voices writing for readers of Glennon Doyle, Gabor Mate or Brené Brown who address how we feel. Finally, she is looking for brave, unapologetic, intimate stories like THREE WOMEN or Jennette McCurdy’s genius memoir I’M GLAD MY MOM DIED.
In fiction, Matilda is drawn to voice or character-driven novels set in the real world. She wants high emotional stakes and a strong hook. She is excited by novels which expose the rich inner lives of characters navigating the messy side of life or which explore families across generations, heartbreak, friendship or childhood. Some favorites are: SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid, THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer, MY PHANTOMS by Gwendoline Riley, BIG SWISS by Jen Beagin and NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney.
Among Matilda’s clients, a few recent or upcoming publications include Anoushka Warden’s first novel I’M F*CKING AMAZING, TikTok and Instagram’s YOUR POCKET THERAPIST by Annie Zimmerman, MONEY MEN by winner of 2020 British Journalism Awards Journalist of the Year, Dan McCrum, Millie Bobby Brown’s debut novel NINETEEN STEPS, and author of the Sunday Times bestseller NATIVES, Akala’s debut novel THE DARK LADY. Matilda also looks after the UK careers of a list of American authors, such as Judy Blume, Tina Brown, Laura Dave, Jhumpa Lahiri and Amor Towles, as well as Dave Grohl and Quentin Tarantino on the literary side.
Fiona joined WME in 2016 and is based in London. She is actively taking on new clients, in addition to offering UK representation to our diverse roster of US-based authors.
Fiona represents adult fiction and non-fiction. Her clients include Sara Veale, Cailey Rizzo and Geneva Abdul. Alongside her US colleagues she represents in the UK: Curtis Sittenfeld, Kiley Reid, Megha Majumdar, Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, Yaa Gyasi, Kim Ghattas, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Dani Shapiro, Sloane Crosley, Cecilia Rabess and Tressie McMillan Cottom, among many others.
She is looking for literary and upmarket bookclub fiction. She is particularly drawn to stories that are beautifully crafted and prioritize character and relationships. Some novels she has loved recently: ‘Soldier Sailor’ by Claire Kilroy; ‘I’m a Fan’ by Sheena Patel, ‘Oh, William!’ by Elizabeth Strout; ‘Big Swiss’ by Jen Beagin, ‘Intimacies’ by Katie Kitamura and ‘Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow’ by Gabrielle Zevin.
In non-fiction, she is looking for narrative work that is either investigative or personal, and keen to find creative or scholarly criticism, contemporary journalistic voices, as well as extraordinary memoir. She loves comedy and theatre and is very open to looking at new work from writers who have traditionally written for live audiences and are interested in moving into traditional publishing.
In all forms, she loves intelligent, compelling and ambitious writing that can elegantly combine our need for both humanity and humour.
Florence is an agent in the International Rights group, having joined WME’s London office in June 2017. She handles translation and UK rights sales for a wide range of projects and titles, by authors including Alaina Urquhart, Millie Bobby Brown, Adrian Bliss, Alice Munro, Brené Brown, the late Paul Kalanithi, Joanna Faber & Julie King. Florence is bilingual in French and English. She is passionate about international publishing and maximising opportunities for WME’s clients in this space. She also offers some primary representation to UK and international authors, and is particularly interested in non-fiction projects in the areas of pop culture, sports, music, memoir and wellbeing.
Lucy joined WME in 2023 after seven years working as a literary scout on behalf of an extensive list of international publishers, as well as film and television clients. Based out of WME’s London office, she offers UK representation to clients across the agency and is building a list of her own authors. She reads across all areas of fiction but is particularly looking for reading group/upmarket commercial fiction, including family dramas, speculative fiction, thrillers and women’s fiction, as well as contemporary young adult. In non-fiction, she’s drawn to impactful memoirs and female-focused health and wellbeing titles.
“I moved into the agenting world because I wanted to be closely involved with an author’s journey. WME is an extremely collaborative agency with reach into other media industries; we can offer so much in terms of career opportunity, be it film/TV, podcasts, speaking events and merchandising. It’s a really exciting place for a debut author.
I’m on the lookout for thought-provoking storylines, memorable characters and immersive settings. My favourite women’s fiction authors include Taylor Jenkins Reid, Bonnie Garmus, Emily Henry and Rachel Joyce. In the crime thriller space, I adore Jane Harper, Louise Doughty, Chris Whitaker and Alex Michaelides.
I’m a huge fan of non-fiction aimed predominantly at women, such as Dolly Alderton’s EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE, Natasha Lunn’s CONVERSATIONS ON LOVE and FRIENDAHOLIC by Elizabeth Day. I love hard-hitting memoirs like EDUCATED by Tara Westover and I’M GLAD MY MOM DIED by Jeanette McCurdy, as well as health and wellbeing titles, such as Dr Julie Smith’s WHY HAS NOBODY TOLD ME THIS BEFORE?
In YA, I’m looking for hooky thrillers with knock-your-socks-off twists, like Holly Jackson’s A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER, Goldy Moldavsky’s THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB and Kathryn Foxfield’s GOOD GIRLS DIE FIRST, as well as contemporary romance with memorable protagonists, such as EXCUSE ME WHILE I UGLY CRY by Joya Goffney, and Jenny Han’s wonderful TO ALL THE BOYS series.”
Suzannah joined WME in 2019 and is based in the London office. She works with a wide range of authors across the wider WME Book department, as well as clients from other areas of the agency. She is building her own list of authors.
Alongside US colleagues she represents the UK interests of clients including Alaina Urquhart, Sash Bischoff, and Jana Casale, and loves finding her authors the right home outside of their domestic market. In the UK she is keen to find commercial and upmarket fiction which sparks joy, be that through romantic comedy, quirky coming of age stories, or novels that teach you something new about a world otherwise unexplored. In the non-fiction space she is drawn to the uncanny as well as narratives inspired by philosophical debate. She’s keen to discover authors who make complex topics accessible through a strong or relatable voice, or who use their story to open the door to overlooked and exciting spaces.
Some of her favourite books include EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE by Dolly Alderton, BOY PARTS by Eliza Clark, IN AT THE DEEP END by Kate Davies, or anything by Emily Henry. She’s also partial to speculative fiction, as well as fantasy in the vein of Deborah Harkness.
James has been an international rights agent based in the London office since 2018. He started his career in the WME New York office several years prior to that, and also spent time working at NY-based literary agency Writers House. Since returning to WME, James has been selling translation and UK rights sales for a wide-ranging selection of titles – spanning fiction, non-fiction, and children’s/YA – by the likes of Mary Roach, Diane Ackerman, Terry Hayes, the Tom Clancy estate, Jean Kwok, Kimberly McCreight, and Lev Grossman. He is also offering UK representation to clients from other areas of the agency. James has a particular interest in non-fiction that allows us to understand the world in an accessible and engaging way, and upmarket fiction that deftly explores complex relationships.