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Profile Summary

Rob is an independent agent who works in association with the agency A.M. Heath. He deliberately keeps his list small and personal, with a manageable number of clients he can commit to 100%. Though he takes on only 3 or 4 new writers a year, the genres he covers are varied, from commercial, women's, SFF, historical, and literary, Rob is a fan of a good story in almost any genre.

Within his already small overall list, Rob's non-fiction clients make up an even smaller part of that. However, he has expressed an interest in expanding this, so it is worthwhile approaching him with relevant non-fiction pieces. He is particularly keen on historical memoirs, natural history, and anything with a focus on animals. Much like his caveats around science fiction, if your non-fiction book involves an academic nature, be sure that it is written in layman's terms.

Rob is heavily involved with speculative fiction genres, representing a number of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers including Stephen Deas, Gavin G Smith, Jonathan Barnes, Elliott Hall, Lucy Cruickshanks, and Luke Scull. He is passionate about the speculative fiction genres as a reader as well. Noting that in the SFF world it can take a while for an author to build up a loyal readership, Rob says that SFF agents and publishers are often less concerned with breakthrough, bestselling writers from the get-go and are more interested in investing the time in an author who will grow over time.

He is very interested in expanding his children's and YA list, particularly with an SFF bent. If you have a Game of Thrones for 8-12-year-olds, definitely send it his way! While he loves a good dark story, he would love to see an SFF story with a positive message. Dystopias can be great, but so are stories that explore what might go right with the world.


Detailed data

Agency:
AM Heath and Co
Agent since:
2008
Short biography:
Robert is an independent agent, who works in association with AM Heath. For the purposes of Agent Hunter, we are treating Rob as an AMH agent. His bio on the AMH site says: "Robert began working with AM Heath in 2011, having previously worked at the HHB Agency. He represents literary and commercial writers of fiction and non-fiction, including thrillers, historical, fantasy and science fiction."
Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Horror, Historical fiction, Fantasy, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Young adult fiction, Children's fiction, Science, Other non-fiction, Memoir and autobiography, History, Women's fiction, Science fiction
Authors & books liked:
Particular love of fantasy / sci-fi. If you write in these areas, we strongly encourage you to read the full RD interview in the link below.
Other loves & passions:
No Data
How to make a submission:
"I always prefer email contact in the first instance, and actively encourage new writers to send me their work... I reply to every submission I get and, where possible, offer as much feedback as I can."
Other advice and background:

Read our interview with Rob:

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 represent Sanjida Kay and her breakout debut thriller BONE BY BONE and would love another great writer in this area: novels which find drama and tension in our families, secrets and tragedy buried in those places we think of as sanctuaries. Julia Heaberlin's BLACK EYED SUSANS was brilliant in this area, taking something that could have been conventional fare and completely reinventing it by interrogating the genre so insightfully; Kate Hamer's THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT is a fantastic study of abductee, captor and its ramifications on family -- and I'd love something more in this area. At the more commercial end, I would love to represent somebody doing for today's readers what Barbara Vine and Minnette Walters did for previous decades -- thrillers with their drama located in the everyday, and the dark recesses of suburban lives.

Poles apart from this, I'd love to see some cozy or quirky crime -- something that harks back to the Golden Age of crime, told from an unusual angle: something light of touch but rich and satisfying and that places character above the crime-of-the-week. And, at the other end of the spectrum, if you've created a villain as memorable as Hannibal Lector please do send it my way -- those novels were some of the earliest adult fiction I read and I would love to be inspired in the same way again.

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

I'm always looking for books set in other places and other times. I represent Lucy Cruickshanks and her Graham Greene-esque novels set in the far east, and really admire the storytelling powers of Sarah Waters and her cultivation of 19th and early 20th century England. Generally, if it's a novel recreating another time and place, or which subverts our everyday world in some way, it could be for me. In historical fiction, Cormac McCarthy's interrogations of the American West have stayed with me for decades; Hilary Mantel's recreation of Tudor England in Wolf Hall is going to be difficult to surpass; I loved Gil Adamson's THE OUTLANDER, Rebecca Hunt's EVERLAND and Louisa Young's early C20 series is a series I'll keep on coming back to.

In more commercial historical fiction, I represent ID Roberts and his Kingdom Lock adventures and would love to find something else in this field -- perhaps medieval or Dark Ages in focus, something that thrills at the same time as rendering an ancient world in brilliant detail. These are novels I occasionally gorge on, and some favourites include Christian Cameron, Ben Kane and the fantastic Simon Scarrow. I represent SJ Deas for his brilliant Civil War-set detective novels and would love some more historical crime too -- CJ Sansom is fantastic, and Cecilia Ekback's WOLF WINTER was vivid and memorable.

Most of all, I would love to see speculative literary and book-group novels -- novels that push the boundaries of our world, perhaps dispense with them altogether, but yet still offer plots and characters that non-niche readers can take to their hearts. Magical realist novels with a touch of Angela Carter about them will always appeal -- in recent years I've enjoyed THE NIGHT CIRCUS, THE SNOW CHILD, THE GRACEKEEPERS, DOGBOY, the books of Ali Shaw and more seriously-minded (though still imaginative) novels such as James Robertson's THE TESTAMENT OF GIDEON MACK. Lucy Wood's WEATHERING and Helene Wecker's THE GOLEM AND THE DJINN are both typical of the literary novels I'd love to represent. Historically set novels are in my ball park too -- and though I'm less likely to represent a novel set in the here and now, I'd love to be converted to this area, so do try me out.


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

Science Fiction and Fantasy are mainstays in my list. I represent authors like Luke Scull and his GRIM COMPANY series; Jamie Sawyer and his military SF LAZARUS WAR, as well as Mike Brooks, Gavin Smith, Stephen Deas, Nathan Hawke and Sam Peters. I'm always on the lookout for the next big epic fantasy epic -- but it has to be something that advances the genre in some way, that has a singular point of difference from what's gone before but that which still plays with the classic epic fantasy tropes. Novelists I really admire but don't represent in this genre include R Scott Bakker, Stephen Erikson.

In science fiction, I look for ideas with a singular premise writ large, and novels with a real Hollywood appeal. I'd love a big ambitious space opera, but I also would love more accessible SF adventure novels. Think Jack Campbell, Jack McDevitt -- authors whose stories are set in our future but don't require us to be Theoretical Physics PhDs to understand.

Then there are the in-betweens -- speculative novels that cross genres or do something wildly different. I represent Elliott Hall for his rich political future noir novels, and Jonathan Barnes who continues to do amazing things with Victoriana and early horror novel tropes. Occasionally I do also represent fantasy that sits far outside the core genre -- Lee Harrison's THE BASTARD WONDERLAND is one of the most inventive debuts of the last ten years, and Oliver Langmead's noir DARK STAR is a piece of future noir told as epic verse and shortlisted for the Guardian's Not the Booker in 2015.

I would love to see the big speculative novels that general readers can devour -- novels like Lauren Beukes' THE SHINING GIRLS, or more literary speculative affair like Emily St John Mandel's STATION ELEVEN, Kirsty Logan's THE GRACEKEEPERS, and anything by Neil Gaiman.


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

Non-fiction is a broad church and I'm game for just about anything -- my non-fiction list is small at the moment, but I'd like to build this. I'd love historical memoir -- think Ben Macintyre -- and serious scholarly history as well. Memoirs of unique lives and histories will always appeal, but in the past I've been known to go for the fun and cheerful end of non-fiction (I represented the biggest dog in the world for his memoirs...) so anything with an animal or natural history focus could work for me too.


Q. You handle children's and YA work as well. What are you particular loves in this field? And is there anything you really wouldn't want to represent?

My children's list is small and at the moment an extension of my fantasy list, but I'd love to change this and I'm keen to see new writers in this area too. Fantasy for a YA audience is one of my "would love to" projects -- so think Philip Pullman, Philip Reeve, Rick Riordan and Garth Nix. I would love to represent a GAME OF THRONES for 8-12 year olds... but this part of my list is new and waiting to be filled, so I'm ready to be bowled over by something completely unexpected too.


Q. Is there any submissions in particular you'd love to see at the moment?

There isn't a specific plot, setting or character I'd love to see (if there was, I'd have written it...) but something I'd really love to see more of is positivity. There are lots of fantastic dark novels out there, but I'm in the mood for something with heart and goodness at its core.


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

I'm going to read the opening of your book often before I read your covering letter. We're all missing the point if we lose sleep over how we're addressed in a covering email or letter. But perhaps not too much cursing...


Q. Would you take on an author who had self-published? What kind of self-pub sales would make you sit up?

Agents who dismiss self-published authors are often missing out and I'd be interested in seeing projects previously published this way. Sometimes they present different challenges but, with a great novel, these can always be overcome. A great sales record (several thousand plus) will always help, but ultimately I have to make the decision like I do any other book -- purely on that book, its viability with the trade, and my individual passion for it.

Q. What single piece of advice would you most want to give writers?

Don't listen to advice (even this). Follow your nose and your gut and be prepared to stand up alongside your novel whether it reaches publication or not. The world is a vast new one and being published or not isn't a pure barometer of your book's worth -- be proud of it and own it.

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

I see around 60 submissions a week, so approximately 3000 a year. Of these I could take on 3 or 4 a year -- my list is necessarily small so that I can be 100% committed to all the authors I represent.


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

I couldn't care less. I might encourage a great author to develop some presence as publishers do take note of this, but the book is the book and that's all that matters. The rest is white noise.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@Robert_Dinsdale
Interesting links:
http://www.sffworld.com/interview/337p0.html
Clients:
Elliott Hall, Fay Bound Alberti, Gavin Deas, Gavin Smith, Grace McCleen, I.D. Roberts, Jamie Sawyer, Jonathan Barnes, Lucy Cruickshanks, Luke Scull, Mike Brooks, Nathan Hawke, Nathan Penlington, Oliver Langmead, Phyll MacDonald Ross, S.J. Deas, Sanjida O'Connell, Stephen Deas
Full client list:
No Data
Email address:
robert.dinsdale@amheath.com

Agents of: AM Heath and Co

Agency details

Website:
http://www.amheath.com/
About the agency:
Founded in 1919, A.M.Heath is one of the UKs leading literary agencies. We represent established contemporary authors, rising stars and some of the iconic writers of the 20th Century. Our focus is on working with authors to exploit the potential of their writing in as many arenas as possible. Our agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the business and each author benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. Between us we represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction; journalists, historians, biographers, experts and novelists across all genres, from crime to literary, historical to YA and childrens. We are also proud to represent several major literary estates, including the Orwell estate.
Address for submissions:
6 Warwick Court, Holborn, London WC1R 5DJ
Office address:
No data
Email address:
http://www.amheath.com/contact.php
Phone number:
0207 242 2811
Number of agents:
7
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
We have all found exciting new talent through the unsolicited submissions and are keen to continue doing so. We want to hear from you and look forward to reading your work. We are no longer accepting paper submissions. Instead, we'd like you to submit online, by filling in the form that you can click to at the bottom of this page. The form will ask you for your contact details and for some information about your submission (for example, what genre it falls into, whether it's finished or a work in progress). It will then ask you to insert a covering letter (maximum 500 words) and a synopsis of the work (maximum 1,500 words). You can either type these directly into the form, or copy and paste them from elsewhere. And, finally, the form will ask you to upload a word file containing your submission (.doc or .docx - please do not upload a pdf).
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
4 days
Agency Transparency Index:
57/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
No data
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@amheathltd
Latest news:
http://www.amheath.com/news.php
More about the agency:
Founded in 1919, A.M.Heath is one of the UKs leading literary agencies. We represent established contemporary authors, rising stars and some of the iconic writers of the 20th Century. Our focus is on working with authors to exploit the potential of their writing in as many arenas as possible. Our agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the business and each author benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. Between us we represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction; journalists, historians, biographers, experts and novelists across all genres, from crime to literary, historical to YA and childrens. We are also proud to represent several major literary estates, including the Orwell estate.

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