Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Questionless Books Interview: Literary Agent Samantha Haywood

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Questionless Books Interview: Literary Agent Samantha Haywood

In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales/publicity/production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.

Previous to joining TLA in January 2004, Samantha was the Assistant Rights Manager for Random House of Canada Limited where she actively sold subsidiary rights and foreign rights, selling direct to the US, UK and ANZ markets and for translation in coordination with 23 subagents world-wide. Prior to that she was the Foreign Rights Manager for Westwood Creative Artists selling their client list for international publication.

Samantha's Links:

Transatlantic Literary Agency

I am...a mother, daughter, and wife and at every other moment a literary agent.

I am known the Atlantic to see my clients (but am pleased to be moving home to Toronto again this spring!)

I do this in...pursuit of matching the best publisher to each of my authors in as many countries as possible.

I do this because...I love it and it’s a terrific luxury to be able to exercise your passion through your day (and night) job.

I do this when, which like most people in publishing is pretty much all the time.

The way I do this is...through trusting my instincts and asking frequent questions and reading, reading, reading.

At his/her core, a Writer is...someone who has to write to feel whole.

As opposed to an Author, who is...someone who has had their writing published.

A Writer is responsible for...achieving their own version of literary excellence (with a little help from some friends called readers and editors).

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for...doing the best job possible writing their book and then finding an agent to sell it and then working with the publisher to publish it and then promoting it and promoting it and then…

At its core, Publishing is...a way of life (this is what my stepfather the publisher, Patrick Crean told me when I first entered publishing and how right he is!)

As opposed to Editing, which is...a very powerful skill that is frequently in short supply.

A Publisher should their vision.

As opposed to an Editor, who should as patiently and precisely as possible (which is why I bow to them).

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others which sings and demands to be read without hesitation.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be read by others, which is...I hope the same thing?

A Manuscript should always...spend some time on its own before it’s reread and rewritten and later passed along to your agent.

As opposed to a Book, which should always...look incredibly inviting to pick-up in a book shop and remain beautiful on your shelf for years to come, and only be lent to those friends who are serious and have a good memory when it comes to returning your books!

At its core, Bookselling is...about knowing your reading community and customers and playing an active role in introducing them to books which they will love but probably would never find on their own.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is...essentially about spreading the word without it feeling too much like a commercial.

The smallest unit of narrative is...completely up to the writer.

To be a Book a thing must be...appealing to read.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is...perhaps Book Net (no offense Book Net, I mean we all need you now, but you’re pretty scary for authors and I’m on the authors side!)

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is...hope (you either have it or you don’t).

In the future we will all...BE READERS.

At his/her core, a Reader is...anyone who has learned to read and has a little time on his/her hands to enjoy a good book.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page