Five minutes with a top literary agent
This time last year I wrote a spoof blog post about having lunch with a top London literary agent at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The twist in the tale was that, although I did indeed eat lunch at the same time and in the same place as agent Luigi Bonomi, we were actually at different tables. While I wished with every fibre of my being that he would look up and say, “Hi! You look like you could be a good writer! Would you like me to represent you?”, he was of course totally unaware of my desperate existence.Anyway.
How things change in one year. At this year’s Festival of Literature, I grasped the golden opportunity to buy five minutes of the very same agent’s time; it was five minutes in which to pitch my idea for Dubai’s Desperate Housewife: The Book (working title only).
I’d got nothing to lose. Nothing at all. But Luigi Bonomi’s insights could be just what I needed to kick me out of my current state of literary torpor. Sometimes, when your writing slows down, it’s because you know in your heart that the book’s not right – but often you can’t figure out the right direction in which to take it.
So, if Bonomi liked the concept, I would crack on with the book, buoyed by the knowledge that an expert (and not just my mum and DH) thought it was alright. If he suggested changes, I would make them. If he thought the book idea was rubbish, I would get a job in advertising and forget that whole “I’m going to be an author” thing that I’ve clung to since I was six.
And I can tell you this: Five minutes is not a long time. But I’ve never met anyone who can read as fast as Luigi Bonomi. His eyes sped over my synopsis as his pencil flicked under certain lines.
“Bad title,” he said. “Don’t like it. And don’t do that bit. Mmm, this bit could work, but do it like this. Yep, that could work – if you do it like that. But that other thing? That would never sell outside of Dubai. Avoid doing that. If I were you, I’d just do this – expand on that. US and UK might enjoy that. Okay? Five minutes up? Well, thanks very much, goodbye.”
And there you have it: Five minutes of genius – priceless.