About the agency
Robert Smith Literary Agency Limited was set up in 1997 to seek out quality non-fiction authors with original and well researched book ideas. We work closely with our authors to develop their books, so that they have strong editorial and commercial appeal, enabling us to obtain the best possible advances and terms from publishers.
As long-standing members of AAA (The Association of Authors’ Agents), we are up-to-date with the latest industry intelligence to further and protect our authors’ interests.
In an exciting start to 2014, Fast Exercise written by Michael Mosley and the Agency’s client, Peta Bee, has reached No. 7 in the The Official UK Top 50 for week-ending 18th January. It is No. 3 in The Bookseller’s non-fiction paperback Top 20. The promotion orchestrated by Short Books has been phenomenal. As well as appearances on TV, Michael and Peta featured in four pull-out supplements in The Times, and are the lead feature in end January’s Radio Times. Huge congratulations to the two authors, who have ensured that fast, high intensity workouts are here to stay.
2013 came to a pleasing end. Ralph Bulger’s book, My James, was a Sunday Times No. 1 hardback bestseller in March. In early December, the title in paperback returned to the Sunday Times bestseller lists at No. 5. Journalist Rosie Dunn, who has been at Ralph’s side for most of the two decades since James Bulger’s murder, was his heroically supportive and talented co-author. Macmillan did us all proud, and special thanks to Ingrid Connell, Sidgwick and Jackson’s indefatigable editorial director, who directed the whole operation sensitively and with a sure hand.
Another emotionally supercharged memoir from the agency this year was Shamed by Sarbjit Athwal, who risked her life over several years to bring her mother-in-law to justice for the murder (the correct word to use for a so-called honour killing) of her sister-in-law. Kate Moore at Virgin / Random House skilfully masterminded this top 20 bestseller.
We were all delighted, when Sarbjit’s bravery was recognised by two awards towards the end of the year. The photograph here shows Sarbjit with presenter, Eamonn Holmes, at Best Magazine’s Bravest Women Awards in November, held at The Private Rooms at Buckingham Gate, St James’s. In December, in a sparkling event at the V&A, Sarbjit was awarded Ultimate Women’s Warrior at Cosmopolitan’s Ultimate Women Awards.
Richard Anthony Baker’s Many a True Word, commissioned by Sarah Emsley for Headline, has been garnering gratifying level of sales and some great reviews:
“This is a light, fantastical dance through some quiddities of the English language. We need one of these every year.” (The Times, 2nd November 2013)
“Hugely enjoyable and with much to discover, this is a book to delve into for inspiration and amusement and will no doubt fill many a festive stocking this Christmas.” (The Stage, 5th December 2013)
Lots more great books are coming from the agency in 2014. The Robson Press will publish The News is Read… by Charlotte Green. Discover the real woman behind the legendary honeyed voice on BBC News, Today, News Quiz, The Shipping Forecast, the BBC official football results, and Classic FM.
There’s a top secret Jack the Ripper title, about which I can say absolutely nothing! But given this agency’s expertise in true crime, be assured it will be ground-breaking.
Roberta Kray’s crime novel for 2014 publication by Little, Brown is her sixth book for the publisher and she goes from strength-to-strength. It’s untitled at the moment, but the intricate plotting and intriguing characters are the work of a consummate writer at the top of her game. I defy anyone to unravel Roberta’s trail of twists and turns until the last page, but just trying will grab you from the off.
Who would have guessed that my client for many years, Christine Keeler, who wrote a No. 6 hardback bestseller for Macmillan, The Truth at Last, would become the subject of two West End shows in December, including the new Lloyd Webber musical, Stephen Ward? A damaged, but fascinating woman with an amazing eye for contractual details, and utterly scrupulous in her dealings. Stephen Ward looks set for a long run in 2014.