Literary Agent Bingo. Extract from Written Off


The next morning at breakfast Emily and Hugo were comparing notes. To help inject some added value into the weekend the agent had invented a game of ‘conference bingo’ on the journey north. He was keen to see if he was ahead of Emily. ‘To be honest, Em, I should have made it harder. I cleared half of my card with just one delegate, and that was within the first half-hour.’

Emily suspected Hugo was showing off as usual but agreed they should have thought longer and harder over the rules. ‘We should have weighted the comments for degrees of difficulty, not just given a point to each one

‘Next time, not that there will be one, we will. Go on then, let’s see what you’ve got so far.’

Most of the delegates had already eaten in order to be at the guest lecture kicking off Saturday’s programme. ‘OK,’ she said. ‘I got “it would make great TV”, “my partner read it and thought it was brilliant” and “ how much can I expect to earn?” in double-quick time.’

‘Check. They’re the easy ones. How did you do on “look-a-likeys”?’

‘Two Harry Potters, two Twilights, one A Song of Fire and Ice, one Bridget Jones and one Da Vinci Code.’

‘A good haul. You did better than me there,’ Hugo conceded. ‘But if we had weighted the scores surely I’d have got more for the Wolf Hall and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin ones I had?’

‘I don’t disagree, but would remind you that you set the goalposts.’

Hugo couldn’t argue with that. ‘Free scoring section: I had one cover design, one “can I have my photo taken with you?” and a Kendal Mint Cake gift set.’

’That’s not really trying, Hugo. I had two people who came along with book covers they’d designed, three who gave me new mug shots they’d had done especially for the jacket and I got asked out on a date back in London.’

‘Impressive. It’s looking pretty even at the moment but we’ve a long way to go,’ said Hugo who had quickly worked out that he was behind in the scoring.

‘Pretty even? I don’t think so,’ said Emily. ‘And what about unsolicited pitches? How many of those did you get?’

Hugo thought for a second – should he overegg the number a bit? ‘Two in the bar before dinner, three afterwards, and one on the way into breakfast just now.’

‘Pathetic, Lockwood. I see you and I raise you – I can match that and throw in a pitch through the cubicle door when I was having a pee before last night’s readings.’

‘Male or female?’ queried Hugo.

‘Woman, of course.’

‘Shame – I would have given you extra points for a bloke.’


Written Off  – now available in paperback and e-book.