On founding a literary agency: Bryony Woods interview

DKW Literary Agency

Bryony co-founded DKW Literary Agency in 2012, where she now represents everything from quirky children’s fiction through to YA and adult fiction and non-fiction. Bryony was selected by The Bookseller as one of their Rising Stars of 2013, and was a winner of the London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards 2016Here Norah Myers interviews her.

1) What motivated you to start your own literary agency so soon into your publishing career?

I’ve always been very driven and I don’t like waiting for other people to make things happen. In 2012, my colleague Ella Kahn and I had both reached a point in our careers where we felt there was a lack of opportunity elsewhere – so we thought, why not make our own opportunity? That and a gut instinct that we could do it, and do it well.

2) What gap in the market did you look to fill in starting your agency?

We’re a very young, innovative agency with a lot of passion and energy, and we’re not afraid of doing things differently or taking on a challenge. Out list is very eclectic and features everything from picture books to YA to adult fiction and non-fiction.

3) What has been the most rewarding thing about launching your own business?

Seeing our authors’ work being published and finding success around the world. I’m immensely proud when I look back at everything we’ve achieved in the last three years, at the authors we’ve signed and the fantastic books that are now displayed proudly around the office. And the Trailblazer awards that now decorate our mantlepiece don’t look too bad either!

4) What has been your most challenging experience so far? How did you work through it?

I think the weeks running up to DKW’s launch, back in late 2012, were probably the most stressful weeks of my life. But at the time I was so busy setting things up and determined to make the launch a success that I must have simply brushed all the stress to one side. It’s only when I look back that I can see just how nerve-wracking it actually was.

5) What do you attribute to such early success as a businessperson?

Determination, and a certain willingness to do things differently.

6) What advice would you give for others who would like to start their own literary agencies?

I had an MA in publishing and had spent several years working in other literary agencies before launching DKW, so make sure you have the right experience – and plenty of it! – and all the right contacts. Know the business side of things, and hire a good accountant. Be prepared for the first year to be tough. And don’t be afraid of the challenge!

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