Hello World

Hello!

I’ve never really written a blog before so I’m not exactly sure how to start this. I suppose I should tell you a little bit about myself and what I’m doing here as a literary agent.

I’m from Mayo in Ireland originally. In 2010 I moved to the beautiful city of Bath and began studying for an MA at the University of Bristol. Then my love of books led me to London, where I worked at the heart of the publishing industry for five years. Early in 2017 I relocated to Manchester and – after taking some time to acclimatise to the wetter climate and far cheaper rent – noticed that though Manchester is brimming with wonderful authors, literary events and amazing publishing houses, there are no literary agencies based up here. So, here I am.

London is the centre of the publishing world. It always has been, but I’m hoping that this might not always be the case. Last year, Stefan Tobler, founder of And Other Stories, wrote this piece for the Guardian in which he argued that by moving north, publishing houses could diversify what they publish, by employing a wider variety of people. And Other Stories are working along with several other publishing houses who have joined together to created the Northern Fiction Alliance, to showcase their authors’ work. A northern publishing industry is coming, they say. I’m crossing my fingers that they are right, and throwing my own hat in the ring. Having a publishing industry based in one of the most expensive cities in the world, an industry that is based on its workers being able to afford to undertake months of unpaid internships before they are able to to find full-time work, an industry where the starting salary (after your unpaid internships) is around £18,000 a year, means that you have an industry populated mainly by middle-class people. White, middle-class women, to be more exact.

Full disclosure: I was in the very privileged position of being able to undertake four unpaid internships, adding up to nearly six months living in London without a salary, due in part to a small amount of savings I had, but mostly thanks to the generosity of my parents. I know, I know, such a cliché. I’ve benefited from this system and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had. I’m not currently in the position to change how people join the publishing industry, but what I can do is diversify the geographical spread of authors that have access to the very best publishing houses.

Of course, many writers based outside of London get publishing deals every day and will continue to do so. However, a lot of publishing deals come about as a result of who you know and whether or not you have enough money to take part in one of the London-based creative courses from where many debut authors spring, their novels already heavily edited by the time they leave the course with fifteen agents fighting over it. But what about those who can’t afford either the time or the money that it takes to get involved in these courses? What if you are working a full-time time job, have a family to take care of and have managed to write a wonderful book in your spare time? What if you can’t get to London to see your literary agent?

That’s where I come in. I’m not only looking for northern based writers (being from the west of Ireland originally, I have a sneaking affection for Irish writers) but I am looking for authors who may, for whatever reason, not be able to, or not want to, work with a London-based literary agent. I’m experienced and connected in the publishing industry, but new to the world of literary agenting, so I’m hungry for excellent writers.

So there we have it.  If this sounds like a journey you’d like to join me on then please do take a look at my submissions process, or send me an email at sinead@sineadheneghan.com.

14 thoughts on “Hello World

  1. Susan Sollazzi Reply

    How wonderful that someone has the independence to break out of the London stranglehold. I’m delighted to find an agent based in Manchester and wish you every success, Sinead.

    • sinead Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Susan. There’s plenty of work for me to do still but I’ve already seen that there’s so much writing talent here in the north – I have every confidence that the northern publishing powerhouse is on its way!

  2. David Protheroe-Beynon Reply

    I wish you well. I want to submit something to you, please. I have co authored a book with my wife. A children’s story about a race between a snail and an elephant shrew. We have had it illustrated and printed down in Cornwall and have had excellent results. I am looking for an agent who will help me to promote it more widely.

    • sinead Reply

      Hi David, thanks for getting in touch! I don’t specialise in children’s fiction so I might not be the right agent for your book but I do read every submission that comes in so feel free to send it to me.

  3. Beverley Proctor Reply

    Hi Sinead, I’m sure you know by now that Manchester is second home to a multitude of people originating from County Mayo, so hopefully you’re beginning to feel at home.
    On seeing your name I thought you might be related to Lawrence Hennigan who at one time owned the very lively Palace Club and a bar on Stockport Road, Levenshulme. But then I read your bio and noted your surname is spelt differently.
    For many years I owned a bridal wear business and must have supplied every Mayo family living in Manchester with a wedding gown (including Lawrence Hennigan’s future wife.) I am sure you can imagine the tales I could tell.
    Earlier today I submitted to you the first three chapters of a novel I recently finished writing and hope you will find them both unique and entertaining.

    • sinead Reply

      Hi Beverley – yes, it’s like my second home here! My submissions box is overflowing at the moment so I haven’t had chance to read your novel yet, but I’m looking forward to taking a look soon. Thanks for submitting!

  4. Katrina Beaupré Reply

    How wonderful.
    I am so glad to have Foundation this blog and website.
    I would very much love to become involved in the literary agent field.
    I am embarking on an MA in Publishing at Uclan in September but mt greatest love is the actual writing and I’m very pleased to know that there is an agent closer than London. I live near Lancaster.
    Just to add – If you take on volunteer readers or an form of volunteering I’d jump at the chance !!
    Good luck!

    • sinead Reply

      Thanks Katrina – I’m not looking for readers at the moment but if anything changes on that front I’ll post it on here! Good luck with your MA!

  5. John L Smith Reply

    Sinead, I’ve been trying to send you a submission but the system to prove that I am not a robot seems to be on strike

    • sinead Reply

      Hi John – sorry you weren’t able to submit to me. I’ve taken a look at the form just now and it does seem to be working, so I’m guessing it was probably a temporary glitch. Feel free to try again and if it doesn’t work, let me know what device/browser you’re using. Thanks!

  6. eileen Reply

    I’m a bit late to your blog but nevertheless, welcome to Manchester. It’s great to know you haven’t written us of the literary map. I would be happy to send a submission if you’re still looking.

  7. Julie Messenger Reply

    Hi Sinead, It is fantastic to hear that you have moved to Mancheser and are helping give the north a voice. Traditionally it is a fertile ground for writers, artists and muscians. It is sad that things all seem so London centric. Wish you lots of luck… Have submitted somthing to your website and i am hoping you have received it. I am sure you will be really busy.

    • sinead Reply

      Hi Julie, thanks for the lovely welcome. I agree – there’s lots of talent up here! Looking forward to taking a look at your submission as soon as I can.

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