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Profile Summary

Penny worked as an agent for the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency for ten years before deciding to start her own agency with Claire Cartey, former art director for Hodder Children's Books in 2015. With their combined skills, Penny and Claire have set up an already flourishing agency focused on children's authors and illustrators. While the agency is especially well-equipped to handle picture books, Penny is interested in books for children of all ages. Her previous experience also includes Walker Books and Candlewick Press, as well as serving as the Secretary of the Association of Authors' Agents for two years.

If there is one piece of advice Penny would give to any hopeful writer it would be to read more. One of her pet peeves is to receive a submission from an author who doesn't know the market they are aiming for very well or when their book is too reductive of other books already out there. She is looking for a great story that is both relevant to the age group as well as a unique plot.

Noting the trend in 'darker' young adult novels, Penny has expressed a love of books with humour. The grittier novels flooding the market at the moment tend to be young adult/adult crossover novels. What she would love to see is a brilliant humourous middle-grade novel. For older children, it is more important to hit the right emotional notes while maintaining a strong plot. Penny has expressed a love of ghost story writer M R James. She would like to find an equivalent new writer for young adult readers.

If you do want to approach Penny with your work, please read through her submission guidelines carefully. She has regularly noted her disdain for authors who don't research the agents to which they are submitting, such as writing impersonal cover letters to a generic pronoun rather than the agents name.

Detailed data

Holroyde Cartey Limited
Agent since:
Short biography:

Penny has been a literary agent since 2005. "Prior to that I was working in the USA as Director of Rights and Licensing for Candlewick Press. As I had worked for Candlewick's sister company in the UK, Walker Books, I was quite often asked to comment very early on whether a project would have worldwide appeal and I think it's helpful to have that hat on as an agent. More than that though, in my previous job, authors would call for help when they couldn't understand their royalty statements or if a film producer had been in touch. As more and more authors got representation, that side of my job got less frequent and I realised that being at the coal face was a place I could be very happy, and I am."

Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Children's picture books, Children's fiction, Young adult fiction, Children's & YA non-fiction, Food and Cookery, Women's fiction, General Fiction, Historical fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

Likes laugh-out-loud books. 'Handa's Surprise' by Eileen Browne. 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson. I started reading a manuscript at my desk and knew I had to get away from the phone and email and read it all. It was the writing and voice. Stunning. I went to a cafe and devoured it. When I finished, I mopped up my tears, stroked the manuscript and swore I would make the author mine. I'd also like to be sent a good ghost story.

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

'Dear Sir/Madam' or 'Hi there' usually gets me heading for the delete button. We are (we think!) open and welcoming on our website and provide a picture and an email address. Unless one of us needs a makeover badly, I think it's quite clear there are no Sirs working here. It bothers me when authors don't bother. Also - read more books and join a very critical writers' group

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Follow on Twitter:
Interesting links:
The agency does not list clients by agent. The authors represented by the agency include:Deborah Allwright, Tom Avery, Helen Boyle, Heather Butler, Harriet Castor, Catherine Coe, Pippa Curnick, Ben Davis, Jenni Desmond, Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty, Tommy Donbavand, Tor Freeman, Debi Gliori, Karyn Gorman, Adam Guillain, Charlotte Guillain
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: Holroyde Cartey Limited

Agency details

No data
About the agency:
Address for submissions:
No data
Office address:
Email only.
Email address:
Phone number:
No data
Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
The first three chapters or 5000 words of a novel, or up to 3 picture book texts. Illustrations should be sent as a PDF or Jpeg attachment.
More info on this agency:
Holroyde Cartey was founded in April 2015 by experienced publishing colleagues Claire Cartey and Penny Holroyde. We handle all types of fiction and though we specialise in children's publishing, we do handle adult fiction. We also specialise in illustration for publishing and outside publishing. â We're combining a skill set that makes us very optimistic about the future. We have a portfolio of established talent and are successfully pursuing our aim of working with them and with publishers collaboratively, as well as engaging with opportunities outside of the publishing arena so as to maximise our clientsâ earnings and creative fulfilment. The Holroyde Carter agency will also work on animation, licensing and packaging deals.
Average response time:
3 days
Agency Transparency Index:
Member of the AAA:
Overseas offices:
Accepts overseas writers:
Follow on Twitter:
Latest news:
No data
More about the agency:

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