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Profile Summary

Before becoming a literary agent in 2003, Juliet worked as a fiction buyer for UK bookstore chain Waterstones. Initially working on journalism, audio and sub-rights for AP Watt, Juliet built up her list to cover an impressive range of fiction and non-fiction writers. At the Blake Friedman agency since 2013, Juliet has made a name for herself by representing a number of critically and commercially success writers. Her books have earned awards as prestigious and varied as the Whitbread Prize and Prix Femina, while having titles on even more prize shortlists. 

Juliet's list is about half and half fiction and non-fiction. There is very little that Juliet won't consider, but among the off-limits subjects include fantasy, science fiction, sport, and children's (fiction and non-fiction). On the fiction side, she is particularly on the look-out for literary fiction delving into dysfunctional families and other murky, everyday topics. Also on Juliet's wishlist are 'fresh voices' and tales that represent minority views. She is interested in thriller, crime, unusual romance, commercial fiction, and literary fiction manuscripts. A well-written piece with human relationships at its core will likely grab her attention.

For non-fiction, Juliet stresses the importance of the writer's experience. In your pitch to her, make sure you cover what makes you qualified to write such a piece. A big food lover, she is always interested in food and cookery related narrative non-fiction. Other topics she is on the look-out for include memoir, current affairs, humour, popular culture, feminism, social history, and politics.

Eager to find new clients and support the writing community in general, Juliet regularly attends writing workshops and literary festivals. She is currently part of The WoMentoring Project, offering private mentoring and feedback to those who are just starting out in the industry. 


Detailed data

Agency:
Blake Friedmann Literary TV and Film Agency
Agent since:
2003
Short biography:
Juliet Pickering studied English Literature at university before working for Waterstones as a fiction buyer. She joined A P Watt in 2003, working up from combing the slush pile, franking mail and scanning royalty statements, to becoming an Associate Agent in 2007. Juliet joined Blake Friedmann in 2013 and her list includes Costa, Commonwealth, Orwell Prize, Sky Arts and Guardian First Book shortlisted authors. Her interests range from literary and well-written commercial fiction to mystery, crime and thrillers. She also represents many non-fiction writers across the board, including memoir, pop culture, social history, feminist and political commentary, cookery and food writing, and all sorts inbetween. Juliet regularly visits literary festivals, courses and events, and enjoys giving talks and holding workshops for writers.
Client list status:
Keen to build client list
Genres this agent is interested in:
Memoir and autobiography, Food and Cookery, Other non-fiction, History, Politics, society & current affairs, Science, Travel, Religion, Women's fiction, General Fiction, Crime, thriller, action, Historical fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:
For my own list, I am interested in literary fiction, well-written commercial fiction, mystery, narrative non-fiction and food writing. I like books that tell of regular situations with unusual angles. For example, I represent a couple of novels about dysfunctional families; there's more going on underneath the surface than you see upon first glance. Primarily, as I start to read a book I am looking to admire and enjoy good writing. Once that's established, I am looking for a strong and consistent plot. Writing is important, of course, but we need to have a good story to pitch. Favourite Authors: Shirley Jackson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Rohinton Mistry, Janice Galloway, Daphne Du Maurier, Dorothy Parker, P G Wodehouse Favourite Books: Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived In The Castle, Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, Dan Rhodes's Anthropology, H E Bates's The Darling Buds of May, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Kathryn Stockett's The Help, Rohington Mistry's A Fine Balance, Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, George Saunders's Pastoralia.
Other loves & passions:
Enjoys G&T's at her local, dressing up and going dancing, watching obscure French films in the tiny cinema down the road from her house
How to make a submission:
Agency standard submission.
Other advice and background:

Lack of research. e.g. the letters that come to me from children's authors, when a quick peek at our website would have suggested a far more suitable agent (I don't do children's books!). Wherever possible, get feedback on your work before you submit to agents - it's so valuable.


An Interview with Juliet

Q. What books/authors do you love in commercial fiction? (Crime, women’s) Give us some examples and say why you liked these books/authors.

I loved Maeve Binchy and Rosamund Pilcher when I was a teen and read my parents’ copies. If I had a bit more reading time (!) I think I’d re-read their books every few years.

 

Q. What books/authors do you love in literary/historical/book group fiction? Examples and reasons, please!

Some of my favourite novels include Rohinton Mistry’s A FINE BALANCE, Daphne Du Maurier’s REBECCA, Miriam Toews ALL MY PUNY SORROWS, Kazuo Ishiguro’s THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, and Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles. All of these books tell of human experiences in a real (for me!) way, whether that be love, death, war, age, humour, and much more. They capture a lot of what is wonderful and what is awful about living.

 

Q. How about sci-fi/horror/fantasy/paranormal/YA dystopian/erotic? What would you be interested in, and what’s a big no?

None of these genres are for me!

 

Q. On the non-fiction side, are there particular areas that interest you? Does your non-fiction list have a particular slant to it?

I’ve an open mind when it comes to non-fiction; it’s important that the author can write well, can build upon a point or an argument if their book is political, and that they might be able to prompt readers to think about the bigger picture via their own experience.

 

Q. And are there any areas of zero interest to you in non-fiction? What would you NOT want to see?

Three areas of zero interest: sport, diet, and gap year memoirs.

 

Q. What (very roughly) is the balance of your list between literary fiction / commercial fiction / non-fiction?

My list is fairly evenly split between fiction/non-fiction, but I’ve slightly more non-fiction.

 

Q. Is there anything in particular you’d love to see at the moment?
I’d love to find a funny voice in fiction (it’s so subjective!), and more great, relatable and provocative fiction.

 

Q. What’s your biggest turn-off in a covering letter? What would you really hope to see?

My biggest turn-off is a bad attitude. OR forgetting to tell me anything about the book because the writer is too busy telling me about themselves. The book is what I’m interested in first and foremost. Give me a clear idea of the content and the readership.

 

Q. How many submissions do you see annually? And how many of those submissions will end up on your list?

Probably 400-500 a month. Of that annual total of approximately 5000, there’ll be a couple each year I love enough to represent – but that’s why we’ll read the other 4998 submissions too, in case one of them is that rare and incredible book. And many more of those submissions might come close, or will be taken on by another agent.

 

Q. Do you look for social media and online presence? Do you care?

I’ll go and see if a writer that interests me is online to get an idea of them, yes. You can tell something about a person by what they say online – which is why I’d always recommend common sense when commenting publicly on social media platforms (i.e. don’t list every rejection, be bitter about the publishing industry, or be generally rude or obnoxious!).

If a writer has no social media and online presence at all, it’s not a problem. Publishers are often keen to see an author supporting their books in this way, especially around publication, but if the book is good then it will reach readers regardless (who will hopefully be chatting about it on Twitter even if you’re not!).

 

Q. When people are pitching the concept for a book to you, what do you find is the most common failing?

Being too long winded! A couple of sentences should suffice (I know it sounds impossible).

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@julietpickering
Interesting links:
http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/blog/meet-the-agents-juliet-pickering-from-ap-watt/
Clients:
Yomi Adegoke, MiMi Aye, Ian Birch, Nora Anne Brown, Julia Cole, Sue Cook, Deborah Coughlin, Roxy Freeman, Janice Galloway, Paul Gitsham, Sarah Hartley, Kate Hodges, Ken Hom, Kerry Hudson, Benjamin Johncock, Konditor and Cook, Richard Littler, Clayton Littlewood, Anneliese Mackintosh, Lucy Mangan, Amy Mason, Charlotte Metcalf, Sue Moorcroft, Emer O'Toole, Judah Passow, Rosalind Powell, Emma Rees, Annie Robertson, Lora Stimson, Ruth Thomas, Oliver Thring, Jack Urwin, Elizabeth Uviebinene, Helen Walmsley-Johnson, Women's Institute, Andrew Wong.
Full client list:
http://www.apwatt.co.uk/agents_frame.asp?left=agents_left.asp?agent_id=19&right=agents2.asp?agent_id=19
Email address:
Juliet@blakefriedmann.co.uk

Agents of: Blake Friedmann Literary TV and Film Agency

Agency details

Website:
http://www.blakefriedmann.co.uk/
About the agency:
We are a literary, film and TV agency representing a broad range of fiction and non-fiction writers, screenwriters for television and film, and a small number of playwrights, directors and producers. The agency was created in 1982, although the two founders - Carole Blake and Julian Friedmann - started their original agencies in the 1970s. Our philosophy has always been that we represent writers rather than one-off projects, planning long-term to build a client's career in as many markets and across as many media as possible. We work closely with our clients through the respective editorial, contractual, and marketing processes that lead to publication, or broadcast or cinema release. We are proud of our record of happy, enduring partnerships between the agency and its clients, and of our dynamic team of long-serving staff. We hope this website will give you an idea of the work we do here, and why we love it.
Address for submissions:
122 Arlington Road, London NW1 7HP
Office address:
No data
Email address:
info@blakefriedmann.co.uk
Phone number:
020 7284 0408
Number of agents:
4
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
If you would like to submit your work to the agency please send in the following, by email to the relevant agent. The format is [agent's first name]@blakefriedmann.co.uk. Please don't send to more than one of us: we will pass on to another agent if we feel it more appropriate. We strongly prefer email to post (and so does the planet).
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
63/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
No data
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
None
Latest news:
http://www.blakefriedmann.co.uk/news/
More about the agency:
We are a literary, film and TV agency representing a broad range of fiction and non-fiction writers, screenwriters for television and film, and a small number of playwrights, directors and producers. The agency was created in 1982, although the two founders - Carole Blake and Julian Friedmann - started their original agencies in the 1970s. Our philosophy has always been that we represent writers rather than one-off projects, planning long-term to build a client's career in as many markets and across as many media as possible. We work closely with our clients through the respective editorial, contractual, and marketing processes that lead to publication, or broadcast or cinema release. We are proud of our record of happy, enduring partnerships between the agency and its clients, and of our dynamic team of long-serving staff. We hope this website will give you an idea of the work we do here, and why we love it.

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