7x Questions with Kate Evans
The three questions you need to ask yourself before writing your non-fiction proposal
Kate Evans is a literary agent at Peters, Fraser + Dunlop where she represents a range of award-winning authors, journalists, activists, and experts. Spoiler alert: she’s my literary agent. Kate always jokes that I tricked her into being my agent because I sent my novel out under a pseudonym, so it wasn’t until she read my book 24 hours later and wanted to hop on a call that I told her who I really was. Lucky for me she was still up for the unexpected task of agenting an agent, which speaks to her confidence and skill. I always tell prospective clients: I am an agent and I have an agent. Meaning, I believe 100% in the role and value of literary representation.
I thought who better to speak to for the first agent to run on the ‘7x questions’ series which I started to give readers of Something to Say an opportunity to hear from those in a position of power when it comes to representing and publishing books. These experts get asked things about what they’re looking for, give advice on how you can make your book stand out and open up about some of the misconceptions about publishing.
Kate’s publishing career started down under at Hachette Australia, where she took what was supposed to be a temporary position as a publicist after working in magazines and the music industry. She quickly discovered book publishing was where it’s at. She spent a year and a half working on campaigns for best-selling titles and brands but quickly realised she wanted to be closer to the beginning of the process and wanted to work more closely with authors on their careers.
She left to study at the Columbia Publishing Course in New York before moving to London in 2014 where she joined the estates department at PFD, working on the agency’s list of modern classics. In 2015 she co-founded the agency’s publishing imprint, Ipso Books and took over as Publisher in 2016, overseeing a rebrand to Agora Books and the imprint’s expansion into commercial fiction. She built a small list of non-fiction authors and left Agora in 2020 to focus fully on agenting.
Today her list comprises of a range of upmarket and literary fiction and Kate talks about what an author has to evidence to her on the page to make her want to represent them in an ambitious way; shares the three questions you should ask yourself when working on your non-fiction proposal and talks about how to feel when you receive those rejection letters - which I can assure you are part and parcel.
Over to Kate!
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