This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Hannah was senior commissioning editor for the YA and crossover list at Headline before joining the DHH Literary Agency as a literary agent in 2013. At Headline she published a variety of novels from younger teen through to crossover. She is particularly proud to have published Tanya Byrne’s deliciously dark Heart-Shaped Bruise which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger and longlisted for the Branford Boase Award. Tanya was also shortlisted for New Writer of the Year at the National Book Awards. At DHH Hannah represents established authors such as Keris Stainton, but is also building up a list of new talent and has recently sold Abi Elphinstone’s debut 9-11 adventure to Simon & Schuster.
I love the editorial process. I was an in house editor for over a decade (at Macmillan Children’s Books and then Headline) and I get real pleasure from working creatively with authors to help develop their ideas and give them the best chance of commercial success so I’m always going to be quite a hands on agent.
The DHH Literary Agency is small and personal but we have a huge amount of publishing experience between us – across agenting, publishing and bookselling. My years in house have certainly helped when it comes to selling books to publishers as I know how to make life easy for editors – providing them with all the ammunition they’ll need to get a book through acquisitions and I can help explain the process to first time authors from both sides which is great. We’re based under a bookshop (Goldsboro Books, run by David Headley who founded the agency) on the road that is rumoured to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley – perfect.
I will only offer to represent books that I have absolute passion for because the publishing process is long; I’m going to have to read the book numerous times (and I want to love it just as much each time) and in order to successfully get the best deal for an author I need to really believe in a book and inspire that passion for it in other people. I need to be able to picture a career for the author I’m taking on rather than just thinking about being able to sell one book so it’s also really important that I get on with all my clients and form good working relationships with them – I’m in this for the long haul!For children’s publishing my focus is on 9+ into teen and YA. I’m also keen to explore women’s fiction – particularly in that area after YA … whether you call it crossover, New Adult or just younger women’s fiction. I do have a tendency towards the darker side of fiction but also have a weakness for contemporary romance – I published Jennifer E. Smith at Headline and would love to find a UK author who sits in that territory and can make me both incredibly happy and very tearful at the same time.
I look for a strong voice and something to hook me in immediately – there has to be something about the story that makes me want to continue. And if you can achieve a moment that makes me stop and say WTF (as I did at the start of part two of Gone Girl, or when I read Shutter Island) then I’m sold – I love a cunning twist that I didn’t see coming.
Books I’ve loved recently include E Lockhart’s We Were Liars, Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender , Erich Segal’s Love Story and Stephen Lloyd Jones’ The String Diaries. Authors whose books I will always buy include: Raffaella Barker (The Beauty is possibly my favourite literary character ever), JoJo Moyes, Sarra Manning – and those I’ve worked with past and present … I will always be their number one champion!
To submit to Hannah please send your cover letter, first three chapters (or about 10,000 words) and a synopsis all pasted into your email in that order (rather than sent as attachments) to HS.Submission@dhhliteraryagency.com. Put ‘Query’ and your title in the subject field and mention that you read her wishlist on Novelicious in your query letter. You can also connect with Hannah on Twitter @YA_Books.