Not so secret agents

On this brand new episode of We’d Like a Word Paul and Stevyn dive into the world of agents – not secret, but literary.

Joining them are Piers Blofeld of Sheil Land, and James Wills of Watson Little – two major literary agencies. They discuss how to get an agent for fiction or non-fiction, how to keep an agent, and mistakes to avoid. They also dish up some behind the scenes gossip.

Piers Blofeld

Piers has been the agent for Nadine Dorries, Cath Quinn, Jamie Thomson & Pizza Express. No, really. The Pizza Express Cookbook. He’s also Stevyn’s agent.

James Wills

James is agent for Christopher Fowler, Martin Edwards, Alex Pavesi, footballer Jamie Carragher & the great Alan Moore – crime fiction, thrillers, sports star & graphic novels. He’s also the agent who sold the audiobook rights for Paul Waters’ book, Blackwatertown, to WF Howes. (Patrick Moy is the audiobook narrator. You should have a listen.)  

On this episode we hear about Piers Blofeld’s link to the Bond villain with whom he shares a surname (and Henry ‘Blowers’ Blofeld), and we hear from authors Jo Jakeman and Allie C Hall. We discover the price of getting an agent’s name wrong in your pitch letter, the importance of diversity, comedians called David getting book deals (yes Davids Baddiel & Walliams, we mean you), books on spontaneous combustion, dropping a tea-soaked gingernut on Paul’s phone, why your pitch letter should be ‘half long & twice strong’, changing book titles or not (David Alderton – Fat Dog Thin & Freya Berry – The Dictator’s Wife), author relationships with mega-publishers (like Penguin Random House, Harper Collins or Hachette) versus smaller but perfectly formed ones (like Orenda or Viper), how good storytelling is not the same as good writing (& far rarer), how winning awards may not change your life, why you need an agent to be your bad cop, and how agents cope with rejection. (You see? It’s not just authors who go through it.)

Listen in on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Or just click here.


We’d Like A Word is a podcast and radio show from authors Paul Waters and Stevyn Colgan. We talk with writers, readers, editors, agents, celebrities, talkers, poets, publishers, booksellers, audiobook creators about books – fiction and non-fiction. We go out on various radio and podcast platforms. Our website is –  which is where you’ll find information about Paul and Steve and our guests.  We’re also on Twitter @wedlikeaword and Facebook @wedlikeaword and our email is [email protected] – and yes, we are slightly embarrassed by the missing apostrophes. We like to hear from you – your questions, thoughts, ideas, guest or book suggestions. Perhaps you’d like to come on We’d Like A Word in person, to chat, review, meet writers or read out passages from books. And if you’re still stuck for something to read, may we recommend Blackwatertown by Paul Waters or The Diabolical Club by Stevyn Colgan.