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Anji Pratap Interview

Posted on 10 October 2007. © Copyright 2004-2018 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to freelance contracts agent Anji Pratap

Tell us something about your background.

In a nutshell, I negotiate deals and contracts on a flat fee basis for my clients at any stage after an initial offer from a publisher. The people who tend to find me useful are the authors who have got themselves offers for publication and who, having got such offers are reluctant to pay an agent a percentage of current and future income. However, because I have been a contracts manager and agent with a major literary agency ( A P Watt) I am very well placed to give a client the kind of deal and contract negotiation they would get from an agency. Iím happy to throw a couple of hoursí general post-contract advice in too, to keep clients company as they embark on their publishing adventure.

How do you find writers?

At the moment, mainly through recommendation. But I have a website - http://www.anjipratap.com Ė so I hope that will generate some work too.

What excites you about a piece of writing-

Since the nature or quality of an authorís work does not impinge on whether or not I will negotiate a contract for them I am, happily, no longer one of the gatekeepers of taste and my answer will be largely irrelevant. I say happily because I think the whole process at the moment is very skewed. As an agent I was one of a relatively small number of people who have (mainly negative) power over whether a work sees the light of day. I found it frustrating that editors couldnít share my passion for something but, by the same token, as an agent I found it impossible to take on a work that I didnít enjoy reading as a consumer. Because the people making the editorial decisions canít possibly represent the breadth of consumer taste not all things that could and would be read and enjoyed by the consumer actually are. And I didnít relish being part of that process.

So, with that proviso in mind, what keeps me interested is something that makes me forget that Iím reading Ė for fiction where my brain feels hard-wired to the alternative reality being created and for non-fiction where my interest is piqued to a mental hunger. In both cases this is incredibly difficult to do. To make something that appears so effortless requires tremendous effort.





A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.






Comments by other Members



Luisa at 12:27 on 10 October 2007  Report this post
Fascinating interview - I thoroughly enjoyed reading that.

Thanks.

Luisa

asking04 at 13:41 on 11 October 2007  Report this post
Great to get an insider's view on the 'skewed' selection process with agents having way too much say in what the public get to read.

cee

Anjithebrick at 15:57 on 11 October 2007  Report this post
Glad it's interesting. It's not just agents though but editors too! If I had a pound for every time all the editors rejected something than an agent loved I'd be a very rich woman. But really the problem is just that there is a finite number of gatekeepers and no proper mechanism to allow for this.

EmmaD at 22:07 on 11 October 2007  Report this post
Very interesting interview, thank you! I suspect many agents can empathise with your frustration at how the system works (or doesn't!).

Emma

RJH at 13:38 on 12 October 2007  Report this post
Great interview & this bit, in particular, struck me:

what keeps me interested is something that makes me forget that Iím reading Ė for fiction where my brain feels hard-wired to the alternative reality being created


A very incisive remark, which goes a step beyond the old 'good prose is like a pane of glass' and gets at the heart of what reading and writing fiction is all about.

Account Closed at 22:18 on 09 December 2007  Report this post
Very interesting interview. I looked up Gayle Ridingerís The Shadow Wife on Amazon - sounds fascinating, just up my street, so I've ordered a copy.
px

Anjithebrick at 17:14 on 11 December 2007  Report this post
Poppy, I'm so glad you've done that! Thanks so much. Please let me know if you like it...

Account Closed at 21:20 on 11 December 2007  Report this post
Yes, of course! Although,unfortunately, it's not arriving until after christmas.
p

pilgrimrose at 13:28 on 01 July 2008  Report this post
Interesting that Anji has identified a new niche in the book world and that she has the vision and courage to back her instincts. The industry has tightened with such torque that hardly a breath of creativity remains. With the current tidal wave of self-publishing,the role of the literary agent is surely destined for significant change. Not all DIY authors are aiming to join the ranks of ' mainstream' and ' traditional' publishing with its very brief window of exposure for their titles and all the attendant constraints. But intermediaries prepared to act for chosen self-publishing writers in aligning work to the marketplace and handling, for instance, rights issues and offers of distribution,would be a godsend.


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