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Profile Summary

Hellie is a rising star agent at Janklow and Nesbit UK. Two separate industry awards have recognised her success and passion. In 2013, Hellie made The Bookseller Rising Stars list before being shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2014. Though still in the early phase of her career, Hellie has a wealth of experience – from Penguin to literary scouting with Anne Louise Fisher, as well as Greene & Heaton literary agency. 

As part of a well-established literary agency, Hellie has access to contacts across a wide range of mediums. Her work with the US office of J&N, selling rights for their authors, has given her essential insight into the foreign markets. She acknowledges that an agent's role is not just about selling an author's book but developing their career, including dealing with foreign, film and audiobook rights as well as helping an author polish their manuscript before it is ever sent out to a prospective publisher.

Hellie is interested in both fiction and non-fiction works. Currently, she is particularly interested in finding new crime and psychological thrillers, especially if they are to be part of a planned series. Other genres she is enthusiastic about include women's fiction, literary fiction, and young adult. Having a strong, distinctive voice is imperative. She enjoys novels with big plot twists and dark themes, as well as family-based, relatable stories. 

While Hellie loves great commercially driven novels that appeal to book club markets, she also has a great sense of adventure. A fast-paced tale of adventure for middle-grade readers, popular YA fantasy, historical fiction with an innovative bent, and issue-led YA would all excite her.

For non-fiction, she is particularly looking for narrative non-fiction. These books should have a strong personal story, and it doesn't hurt to have a very strong social media following! Content that has innovative potential across multiple mediums is even better. New cookery writers are also of special interest.



Detailed data

Agency:
Janklow and Nesbit
Agent since:
2010
Short biography:

Hellie Ogden joined J&N in 2013, after a three year stint at Greene & Heaton. Her previous experience was at Penguin and with literary scout Anne Louise Fisher. Hellie also represents work on behalf of US agents and chairs the Events Committee for the Association of Authors' Agents. Hellie featured in The Bookseller Rising Stars list 2013 and was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2014.

Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Young adult fiction, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Religion, Mind, Body, Spirit, Memoir and autobiography, Food and Cookery, History, Women's fiction, Science fiction, Paranormal romance, Horror, Historical fiction, Genre romance, Fantasy, Erotica, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

She is looking for series crime, psychological thrillers, commercial women's fiction, young adult and children's debuts and accessible, charming literary fiction. She enjoys novels with exotic settings, bold twists and enticing protagonists. In non-fiction she is looking for unique personal stories and work that has a large social following with cross-media potential. She represents cook books from aspiring foodies, as well as popular culture projects, helping to build her clients' profiles across different platforms. "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 and I'm happy to receive manuscripts even when just at a rough stage: that really excites me. The books on my list are often tackling dark themes with a strong, fresh voice - I think for me it always comes back to the voice. Favourite authors of all time include Maggie O'Farrell, Sophie Hannah and Philip Ridley and I re-read DAKOTA OF THE WHITE FLATS all the time. I'm on the lookout for a new crime series with a protagonist that you want to come back to again and again and psychological thrillers with big ideas and daring twists. With historical fiction I'm open to original ideas and love seeing a time/place/person in a new light. On the YA-side it's a mix of commercial fantasy and issue-led fiction and books I've raved about recently include FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK and HEAT-SHAPED BRUISE. When it comes to middle-grade I'd like a really pacy adventure story. I love those books that hit the reading group sweet spot: upmarket but with a clever commercial hook so something like THE ROSIE PROJECT which has real flair and heart. I thought A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY was extraordinarily good and I'm often drawn to family stories. I'm a huge fan of Jojo Moyes too and I think it's time for a breakout debut in the vein of Jodi Picoult. I also focus on finding standout young cookery writers and narrative non-fiction projects and we of course have excellent contacts across different media platforms.

Other loves & passions:
No Data
How to make a submission:
Agency standard.
Other advice and background:

The LitFactor link below is very helpful and comprehensive - well worth a read. Among the key advice there, Hellie says, "I'm sent a huge amount of submissions every week, and it's amazing how many cover letters seem to be written in haste. Getting a book published is increasingly difficult, and publishers are looking for very sellable pitches. Pitch that book right to me in the first instance, and you'll have my attention immediately. I sold at auction a thriller, Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge, to Penguin earlier this year and knew from just the concise, one-page pitch and first twenty pages of the manuscript that I was dealing with a very special author. His voice shone through instantly, and it was clear he was an ambitious guy who wanted help building a successful writing career : don't be afraid of outlining, briefly, plans for future books. Biggest turn-off is spelling my name wrong." Her name isn't *that* hard to spell, so no excuses!

 

 

 AN INTERVIEW WITH HELLIE

Q: In your early career you actually worked as a publisher. Were you ever tempted to pursue this vocation? And what insights about the industry were you able to learn that literary agents are not privy to until later in their careers?

Hellie: Yes, I worked at Penguin and I loved my time there but I was always drawn to the agency side. I wanted to be the first to discover new talent and be involved in all aspects of an author’s career from the early edits and the initial book deal through to selling the foreign rights and handling TV, film and media enquiries. What I learnt there was crucial for where I’m at now though. By knowing how the other side operate you get your strategies right and I’m in a much stronger position because of that.

Q: You subsequently worked for a leading literary scout. How were you able to overcome what can be a precarious relationship with literary agents in securing preview reads for their new manuscripts? And did this agency exchange spark the interest to become a literary agent yourself?

Hellie: Scouting is a dangerous job! It’s all about forming relationships and then spending the rest of your days making sure you don’t mess those relationships up! As long as you respect the agents and their submissions and always try and read what you get sent you will find yourself rewarded in the end. I work closely with scouts now because I’m very aware of how useful they can be. The experience certainly did spark my interest in becoming an agent and it gave me a great publishing overview.

Q: These two positions enabled you to bring a wealth of experience to your first day as a literary agent. But what agency specifics did you still require training in?

Hellie: Contracts was an area that I had to learn and I’ve learnt from the best! As an agent everything you do has to be in your client’s best interest and part of that is a perfect contract.

Q: How has your working week as a literary agent changed since your first week?

Hellie: I can now get the admin side of my job done quickly and efficiently which leaves more time for scouting for talent. I spend a lot of time with my clients getting their material perfect before we send it out and as relationships are key I’m out with editors as often as possible. I also chair the Events Committee for the Association of Authors’ Agents so my working week now includes organising events for that.

Q: When you attend Book Fairs as a literary agent, how does it contrast with your previous attendance in the capacity of publisher or literary scout?

Hellie: As a scout your work is mainly done by the time of the Book Fairs and it’s important you just make sure nothing new is missed, it’s a fairly relaxed week. As a publisher you get pitched at all day but you save your voice by listening to others! On the agency side, it’s meetings back-to-back pitching our books to editors around the world. I really enjoy showcasing our brilliant list but it’s also a great opportunity to find out what’s working in different territories and to secure big deals as well as make sure everything we are doing is on trend. I love Book Fairs as an agent, you are constantly being tested and pushed and it’s incredibly rewarding.

Q: What is involved during the transition from one agency to another for a literary agent? Do agencies ever contractually bind a client to the agency rather than the agent?

Hellie:It is a decision that each client has to make – do they stay with the agency or move with the agent? Luckily all my clients decided to move with me to Janklow and the transition was very smooth.

Q: Does working for a larger literary agency such as Janklow & Nesbit have an impact on an agent’s profile within the industry? Does it open more doors in subsidiary rights for your clients?

Hellie: I do feel my clients are really very well served at Janklow. As well as having me here as their primary agent, they will also have a US Janklow agent to represent their work in the States and a translation rights agent who works direct in all major territories. We have fantastic US and UK film/TV links too. Despite being a large, global agency we offer a very personal service so you really do get the best of both worlds.

Q: Since joining Janklow & Nesbit you are continuing to expand your client list. Has being a literary scout influenced how your scout for your own clients?

Hellie:  Yes and no. You read everything as a scout so you know what is working at a certain time but I can’t just rely on what was getting people excited three years ago, trends change. It has made me open my eyes to things I wouldn’t normally consider though and I certainly wouldn’t just wait for submissions to come to me, I’m always searching out new talent.

Q: Have you noticed any differences in the manuscripts you receive from unpublished writers, to those you previously read from agency repped authors?

Hellie: A good agent will do some editorial work with their client before submitting so that can be pretty noticeable and it’s an agent’s job to advise on what’s working in the market so subject matter can be a big difference.

Q: If a submission failed to grab your interest, would you ever consider passing it to another agent at your agency? Do the UK based agents at Janklow & Nesbit recommend submissions to their colleagues in New York, or vice-versa?

Hellie: Most definitely. There are some subjects which just don’t get me excited but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for my colleagues and we will share with the New York office too if that’s a better fit.

Q: What genres are you particularly interested in representing? And how should writers approach you with their submissions?

Hellie: I’m looking for upmarket women’s (reading group) fiction, crime fiction, psychological thrillers and young adult debuts. I enjoy novels with exotic settings, bold twists and dark humour as well as brave literary fiction. In non-fiction I’m after unique personal stories and work that has a large social following with cross-media potential. I’m always excited to read new material: hodgen@janklow.co.uk

 

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes. Attending the 2015 Festival of Writing in York. http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/events.html
Follow on Twitter:
@HellieOgden
Interesting links:
http://www.greeneheaton.co.uk/pages/authors/author.asp?AuthorID=221
Clients:
Rossa and Rich, Yangsze Choo, Clare Donoghue.
Full client list:
http://www.greeneheaton.co.uk/pages/content/index.asp?PageID=36
Email address:
hogden@janklow.com

Agents of: Janklow and Nesbit

Agency details

Website:
http://www.janklowandnesbit.co.uk/
About the agency:
Janklow & Nesbit has been in business since 1973, and is one of the largest and most powerful literary agencies in the world, with offices in New York, London and LA. Since its inception the company has prided itself on the diversity of its clients, who are defined by their quality rather than any over-riding editorial ethos, and who range from the literary (Tom Wolfe, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joan Didion) to the commercial (Thomas Harris, Danielle Steel, Anne Rice, the estates of Sidney Sheldon and Michael Crichton). As well as novelists, the agency represents non-fiction authors of every stripe (Gore Vidal, David McCullough) and is known in the US for the politicians on its roster, including Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Senator John Kerry. The London office opened in 2000, tasked with building a first-class list of UK-based writers for whom the agency provides co-ordinated representation across all formats and territories. Over the last decade, the agency has grown to represent a broad range of international authors, who are regularly nominated for and awarded major literary prizes, and feature in best-seller lists around the world. Our small, highly-focused office provides a unique service to its clients - a boutique agency with a global perspective.
Address for submissions:
13a Hillgate Street, London, W8 7SP
Office address:
No data
Email address:
queries@janklow.co.uk
Phone number:
0207 243 2975
Number of agents:
5
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
For fiction submissions, please send an informative covering letter, the first three chapters (or around fifty pages) and a brief synopsis. For non-fiction submissions, please send a full outline and covering letter. Please put your email address on your covering letter, or include a return envelope and sufficient postage if you would like your material sent back to you.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
0 days
Agency Transparency Index:
46/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
Y - New York, London and LA
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
None
Latest news:
http://www.janklowandnesbit.co.uk/news
More about the agency:
Janklow & Nesbit has been in business since 1973, and is one of the largest and most powerful literary agencies in the world, with offices in New York, London and LA. Since its inception the company has prided itself on the diversity of its clients, who are defined by their quality rather than any over-riding editorial ethos, and who range from the literary (Tom Wolfe, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joan Didion) to the commercial (Thomas Harris, Danielle Steel, Anne Rice, the estates of Sidney Sheldon and Michael Crichton). As well as novelists, the agency represents non-fiction authors of every stripe (Gore Vidal, David McCullough) and is known in the US for the politicians on its roster, including Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Senator John Kerry. The London office opened in 2000, tasked with building a first-class list of UK-based writers for whom the agency provides co-ordinated representation across all formats and territories. Over the last decade, the agency has grown to represent a broad range of international authors, who are regularly nominated for and awarded major literary prizes, and feature in best-seller lists around the world. Our small, highly-focused office provides a unique service to its clients - a boutique agency with a global perspective.

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