Interviewed by Tim Tivnan and featuring in The Bookseller dated 2nd September, Eve insists that the submissions inbox, rather than slush pile, has elicited some of her most important clients such as Yvvette. Eve said when Yvvette’s book arrived in the submissions inbox she ‘…came away feeling I had been warmed by this gorgeous West Indian spicy soup.’ Yvvette’s success in being represented by an indie publisher, Oneworld, is reflected in eight titles on the 13 book Man Booker long list. Eve suggests that this is because at the time of submission, 2009, ‘big publishers weren’t buying new talent.’
Tivnan goes on to detail how Eve set up her ‘eponymous’ agency in 2003 after twenty years of being an actress. ‘I didn’t set out to be a literary agent…but I always wanted to run my own business, I wanted an intellectual challenge and something creative.’ Eve added that ‘setting up an agency from scratch takes a while because it is all about meeting people.’ But her break came after signing Andy Stanton in 2004. Since 2006, Andy’s Mr. Gum series has generated sales of more than £3.7m through Nielsen BookScan. Her agency is all about variety though, not specialisation, aiming to get a 50/50 adult/children ratio.
Eve’s roster of clients has steadily increased over the past seven years, the agency mainly consisting of just Eve and a rote of freelances, readers and interns. However, Eve has just hired her first assistant, Jack Ramm. The office in her Pimlico flat has a ‘laid-back, homey feel’ (which may have been down to the interview taking place on a Friday morning after a lively knees-up with some Egmont publishers).
Finally, Eve added that she is not fazed about competing with bigger agencies: ‘I know that [Curtis Brown m.d.] Jonathan Lloyd would agree that it’s the people that make an agency. Authors need someone they can relate to and get on well with.’