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.
As the agency approaches its 20th birthday in 2017, 2016 has been another bumper year for sales, full of surprising and thrilling books. Let it never be said that we don’t offer a variety of stimulating and unusual proposals. Indeed, that’s what publishers are always telling me, and nine times out of ten we succeed in selling them.
Highlights of books published in 2016
Lee Rigby: A Mother’s Story by Lyn Rigby. Published by Simon & Schuster in May to coincide with the third anniversary of Lee’s horrific assassination on the streets of Woolwich. Harrowing and inspiring. Serialised in the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror.
The Ageless Body: How to Hold Back the Years to Achieve a Better Body. Both authors, the award-winning Times 2 health writer, Peta Bee, and dietician and nutritionist, Dr Sarah Schenker, have contributed to Dr Michael Mosley’s Fast series of bestselling health books. Published by Bloomsbury and serialised in the Daily Mail.
Lethal Force: My Life as the Met’s Most Controversial Marksman by Tony Long. Published by Ebury, it tied into the author’s documentary film for Channel 4, Secrets of a Police Marksman, aired in August. Serialised in The Sun.
Killing Time: Surviving Dubai’s Most Notorious Prisons by Karl Williams. A tough and shocking tale of brutality and corruption, experienced by the author, who was incarcerated for a year in Dubai on trumped-up drugs charges. Published by Sidgwick & Jackson and serialised in The Sun.
José Mourinho: Up Close and Personal by Robert Beasley, José’s friend and The Sun’s former leading sports writer. Published by Michael O’Mara and serialised in the Daily Mail, it created a media storm over Mourinho’s hostile comments about Arsène Wenger.
Sir Henry Neville Was Shakespeare: The Evidence by Dr John Casson and Professor William D. Rubinstein. Controversially published by Amberley in Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year, two academics prove that William Shakespeare of Stratford, though a fine actor manager, didn’t actually write the works attributed to him. The evidence for Neville being their true author is comprehensively documented in this compelling piece of literary detection.
Injured Parties: Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson by Monica Weller. A fine example of original true crime detection, in which Monica, a modern Miss Marple, unravels the previously unsolved 1966 murder of a popular local doctor in a Buckingham village. Published by The History Press.
The Ice Cream Blonde: The Whirlwind Life and Mysterious Death of Screwball Comedienne Thelma Todd by Michelle Morgan. A brilliant investigation into the fast life and suspicious death in Hollywood of the glamorous star of the silents and early talkies. Published by Chicago Review Press.
Carole Lombard: Twentieth Century Star by Michelle Morgan. A penetrating biography of the hugely popular film actress during the 1930s, who was married to Clark Gable and died in a dramatic plane crash at the height of her career. Published by The History Press.
Exposed. Bestselling crime fiction writer, Roberta Kray’s twelfth hardback outing in her regular November slot for Little, Brown, and in paperback in February. Sales of her superbly crafted and page-turning East End novels mount impressively year by year.
Selected titles for publication in 2017
To Catch A Serial Killer by Stephen Fulcher. Former DS Steve Fulcher was the S.I.O who brought Christopher Halliwell to justice for the murders of Sian O’Callaghan and Becky Edwards in the Swindon area. Steve took the principled decision to prioritise the rights of the victims and their families over the rights of the murder suspect to be re-cautioned. Yet, he was hung out to dry and deemed guilty of “gross misconduct” for accepting Halliwell’s voluntary confessions, despite being led by the murderer to the bodies of both young women.
The news media’s interest in Steve was massive around Halliwell’s trial in 2016 where he was sentenced to whole of life. It will be reignited, when Ebury publish his book in May, alongside a primetime TV documentary special centred on Steve.
Shirley Bassey: Diamonds Are Forever –A Celebration of My 50 Years as Her Greatest Fan by Mary Long. Mary has been the legendary Shirley Bassey’s No. 1 fan for more than half a century. Her moving memoir is published by John Blake to mark Dame Shirley’s 80th birthday in January 2017.
Fire A Lethal Shot: On Active Service in Iraq and Afghanistan – and his Views on Sergeant Blackman and the Taliban by Sergeant Robert Driscoll. Mentioned in despatches for his extreme acts of bravery, Robert relives his engagements on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, including his role on that fateful day in September 2011, when his fellow Royal Marine, Sergeant Al Blackman, shot dead a Taliban fighter, for which he was unjustly convicted on a murder charge. John Blake is the publisher.
Claws: Confessions of a Cat Groomer by Anita Kelsey. The author was called out to calm and restore the condition of Lucky, whose disappearance into the tunnels of the London Underground system was the cause of great public and media concern in June 2016. Mercifully, searchers found her alive, but in a very sorry state. Lucky is one of 20 cats cared for by feline behaviourist, Anita Kelsey, and featured in her heart-warming book. The publisher is John Blake.
Living With A Serial Killer: Inside the Twisted Mind of John Sweeney by Delia Balmer. State registered nurse, Delia, lived with Sweeny for three years, until his controlling and terrifying behaviour climaxed in a frenzied and bloody attempt to kill her. He had already murdered a previous girlfriend, and went on to commit several more murders after Delia’s miraculous escape and survival. Her extraordinary story is a psychological thriller. Ebury publish it in Autumn 2017.
The Sugar-Free Family Cookbook and The Low-Carb Slow Cooker Cookbook. Both books are written by dietician and popular family cook, Sarah Flower, who is in the vanguard of the low carb, no sugar cookery revolution. The publisher is Constable & Robinson.
Murder by Numbers: Fascinating Figures Behind the World’s Worst Crimes by James Moore. An original approach to reporting crimes, old and new. The History Press is the publisher.
Victorian Scandals by Michelle Morgan. Cracking the veneer of Victorian respectability, Michelle uncovers a cornucopia of shocking behaviour during the nineteenth century. Constable & Robinson publish it.
I Quit Alcohol (for a month!) by Helen Foster. A positive, no nonsense and effective programme for giving up booze by one of the country’s leading health writers. Her book is for all those, who want to join the popular trend for giving up alcohol for a month. Vermilion is the publisher.
Many more books are in the pipeline.
The agency coordinates and manages appearances and interviews across all media for clients in the news, or who find themselves under pressure from persistent approaches by TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Through careful monitoring and tight contracting, we achieve hassle-free outcomes for our clients, and, where appropriate, negotiate on their behalf to maximise their income.
Our current media clients include former DS Stephen Fulcher, whose investigations and evidence led to serial killer, Christopher Halliwell, being found guilty in September 2016 of murdering Becky Edwards; and Ryan Edwards, a key witness in the trial of Stephen Port, on trial in November 2016 at the Old Bailey for murdering four young men and raping seven more.
The media coverage, which the agency arranged for Steve Fulcher, included an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme, which became the lead story for an entire day on all BBC TV and radio news programmes; exclusive full interviews in the Daily Mail and The Guardian, a front page story in the Sunday Express, and extensive coverage in every other national newspaper and on all broadcast news media.