Behind the Bestseller #5 | Sam Blake talks to Sallyanne Sweeney

In a double length episode Sam Blake quizzes Literary Agent Sallyanne Sweeney from MMB Creative on what she looks for in a new manuscript and how she wades through often 300 submissions a week. Sallyanne answers the age old question of what agents are looking for, what an agent’s role is and how they work with authors. Discussing the importance of your covering letter, what works and what doesn’t, what a difference a good title makes and how important voice is, Sam Blake asks her about the author agent relationship and discusses why passion is so important. Looking at some of the reasons why books have hit the bestseller list after their release, Sallyanne discusses trends and how publishing has changed since she started as an agent.

Sallyanne Sweeney grew up in Dublin and studied English at Trinity College before completing an MPhil in American Literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is growing her list of authors and illustrators for children (picture books to Young Adult) and adults. Awards her clients have won or been shortlisted for include the Irish Book Awards, Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards.

Passionate about the editorial side of agenting, Sallyanne enjoys both working with debuts and helping established authors take their careers to the next level. Her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is always excited by a distinctive voice, strong storytelling and a fresh premise. She will fight to champion anything that makes her laugh or cry (preferably both). Sallyanne is also interested in memoirs, food writing and thought-provoking non-fiction and works across both children’s and adult fiction. She is a regular speaker at writing festivals and events and was the Chair of the Children’s Agents’ Circle from 2014-2018.

Behind the Bestseller is part of the HeadStuff Podcast Network

Theme music by Tim Nerney