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Profile Summary

Peter Buckman heads up the Ampersand Agency which represents literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction, contemporary and historical novels, crime, thrillers, women’s fiction, memoirs, history, biography, cookery. 

He came to agenting via a career as an editor, publisher and full time writer. He is a former member of the editorial board of Penguin Books, and previously worked as a commissioning editor with the New American Library. Peter has published seven books and written for film, theatre, television and radio. 

  • Ampersand doesn’t list each agent’s clients but they have a varied list of authors which suggests a strong interest in crime, murder mysteries and thrillers. However,  it is worth nothing that this agency only takes on a handful of new authors each year.
  • We’ve put together a sample of their writers to give you a sense of the kind of work they take on: Elizabeth Bailey (historical romance); Quentin Bates and Helen Black (Crime); Mark Hill (Thrillers); J D Davies (historical naval series featuring Royalist Officer Matthew Quinton); and saga and romance writer Beryl Kingston. 
  • The agency handles the estates of historical novelist Georgette Heyer and romantic comedy writer Angela Thirkell
  • Ampersand has represented some award winning non-fiction including: Druin Burch’s biography of celebrity 19th century surgeon Astley Cooper, ‘Digging up the Dead’ (winner of the Jerwood prize for non-fiction)
  • The agency doesn’t handle fantasy, sci-fi or horror 
  • Peter is probably best known for representing 'Q&A' which became the smash hit film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
  • Personalise your cover letter – Peter hates receiving letters addressed ‘To whom it may concern’.  
  • Brevity and wit will catch his attention.  He wants to see ‘An intriguing opening’ and ‘a good story told in a distinctive voice’ 
  • Peter's pet hates include ‘self-consciously “literary” writing. Lists of facts and slabs of background research material. The overuse of the present tense. Lengthy synopses and character descriptions. Prologues in italics’ 
  • He has close links with the Buckman Agency, which handles foreign rights and is run by his wife, Rosie Buckman, and daughters Jessica and Sasha

 



Detailed data

Agency:
The Ampersand Agency
Agent since:
2003
Short biography:

Prior to becoming an agent, Peter Buckman was on the editorial board of Penguin Books, and moved to New York to be a commissioning editor with the New American Library. He then became a full-time writer, producing books, films, plays, and scripts for tv and radio. Agenting has always been part of his life as he is married to Rosie Buckman, who runs The Buckman Agency with their older daughter Jessica.

Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Children's fiction, Young adult fiction, Children's & YA non-fiction, 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, Erotica, Genre romance, Historical fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

Enjoys contemporary and historical novels, crime, thrillers, womens' fiction, memoirs, history, biography and current affairs. He is looking for writers who can tell a good story in a distinctive voice, whether fiction or non-fiction.

Other loves & passions:

Not stated

How to make a submission:
Standard agency submission.
Other advice and background:

Packages or envelopes so plastered in sticky tape that I have to get a carving knife to open them. Anything addressed 'Dear Sir/Madam' or 'To whom it may concern'. Not interested in poetry, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, film scripts, or Americans without a US publisher or agent.

An interview with Peter:


When did you come into agenting? What did you do before? And why agenting?

I was a publisher and then a full-time writer before becoming an agent in 2003, so I know the pleasures and pain involved in all aspects of the creative process.

Have you ever opened a new manuscript, read a single page, and thought ‘I’m going to end up making an offer on this’? What was it about that page which excited you? Yes. The opening sentence of “Q&A”, which turned into “Slumdog Millionaire”.

What’s your pet peeve on covering letters?

packages or envelopes so plastered in sticky tape that I have to get a carving knife to open them. Anything addressed “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”

Do you need good personal chemistry with your authors?

Not necessarily, though agenting is a very personal thing – like having a lover, without the sex. You need to respect and be generous to one another, as well as being capable of surprise.

The grim stats: how many submissions do you get per week (or year)? And how many new authors do you take on?

Around 100 a week, say 5000 a year, and in nine years we’ve got maybe 60 authors. You can figure out the stats.

Do you like your authors to tweet & blog & Facebook … or do you really not care?

Don’t care

Which is most important: the editor, the publisher or the advance?

The most important thing is that the author is happy and well-served

Do you secretly have a book in you? And if so, tell us more …

I’ve published seven books, all out of print, and some of them so boring not even my wife has read them

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@ampersandagent
Interesting links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Buckman
Clients:
This agency do not publish and individual agent client list. The following names represent the agency's full client list: Elizabeth Bailey, Philip Barclay, Quentin Bates, Helen Black, S. J. Bolton, Druin Burch, Miriam Cooke, Vanessa Curtis, J. D. Davies, Will Davis, Catherine Deveney, Winifred Foley, Seth Freedman, Cora Harrison, Georgette Heyer, Phillip Hunter, John James, Beverley Jones, Richard A Jones, Beryl Kingston, Gerard Macdonald, Miriam Morrison, Leo Murray, Tim O'Rourke, Sarah Outen, Richard Pierce, Matthew Pritchard, Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Roberts, Niamh Shaw, Paul Robert Smith, Mehraz Stars, Ivo Stourton, Vikas Swarup, Angela Thirkell, Henry Venmore Rowland, Mike Walters, Caroline Walton, Jin Yong.
Full client list:
http://www.theampersandagency.co.uk/clients.htm
Email address:
info@theampersandagency.co.uk

Agents of: The Ampersand Agency

Agency details

Website:
http://www.theampersandagency.co.uk/
About the agency:
Ampersand have built a reputation for discovering new talent and matching our authors with the right publisher. We represent our writers with enthusiasm and sound business sense, and we offer them candour, encouragement, detailed editorial advice, and a rapid response to queries. We have excellent relationships with publishers large and small, and defend our clients' interests with vigour and professionalism. And we have extensive experience of negotiating contracts for theatre, film, tv, radio, and digital media, so our authors can be confident of receiving the best advice on all multi-media sales. Translation rights form an important part of a writer's income, and these are handled by The Buckman Agency, a long-established company that is respected by foreign publishers all over the world. We represent literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction. Contemporary and historical novels, crime, thrillers, women's fiction, memoirs, history, biography, current affairs - anything that's well written except poetry, illustrated children's books, fantasy, horror, or science fiction. We only handle play, film and TV scripts by our established clients.
Address for submissions:
Ryman's Cottages, Little Tew, Oxfordshire OX7 4JJ
Office address:
No data
Email address:
info@theampersandagency.co.uk
Phone number:
01608 683 677
Number of agents:
4
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
Send a letter and the first couple of chapters so we can see how you write, plus a brief outline and biographical details. We will accept submissions via email, send them as Word documents and address them to amd@theampersandagency.co.uk or ordinary mail. All submissions should have a minimum font size of 11 point with 1.5 line spacing. Hard copies should be printed on one side of the paper only, and all pages should be numbered. We don't normally acknowledge receipt or offer advice on rejected material, nor will we respond unless you include an email address or an envelope with stamps that can be used in the UK.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
32/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
None
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@ampersandagency
Latest news:
http://www.theampersandagency.co.uk/news.htm
More about the agency:
Ampersand have built a reputation for discovering new talent and matching our authors with the right publisher. We represent our writers with enthusiasm and sound business sense, and we offer them candour, encouragement, detailed editorial advice, and a rapid response to queries. We have excellent relationships with publishers large and small, and defend our clients' interests with vigour and professionalism. And we have extensive experience of negotiating contracts for theatre, film, tv, radio, and digital media, so our authors can be confident of receiving the best advice on all multi-media sales. Translation rights form an important part of a writer's income, and these are handled by The Buckman Agency, a long-established company that is respected by foreign publishers all over the world. We represent literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction. Contemporary and historical novels, crime, thrillers, women's fiction, memoirs, history, biography, current affairs - anything that's well written except poetry, illustrated children's books, fantasy, horror, or science fiction. We only handle play, film and TV scripts by our established clients.

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