Life after Waterstones

Image above: Annakarin Klerfalk

Annakarin Klerfalk managed the Waterstones in Chiswick for three years before leaving in 2018 to start a family and set up her own literary agency. Many people in Chiswick will remember her from the children’s story telling sessions she ran in the shop and from the Chiswick Book Festival, where she ran the book stall and authors’ signing sessions.

Now her son Carl is three years old and InterSaga literary agency not far behind, she has a small band of authors whom she represents, two of whom, after successful debuts, have their second book coming out in the autumn.

It’s been very strange, she told The Chiswick Calendar, not at all the launch she envisaged. She’s not met any of the authors or publishers she’s been dealing with face to face, and a lot of the book festivals where she would have been doing the rounds, getting her fledgling agency known, have been cancelled. None the less, conversations have been had and deals struck.

A literary agency matches new authors with publishers, getting their work in front of editors, and takes already published authors and represents them, negotiating better deals for their new books and marketing their work abroad.

Image above: Sarah J Maxwell; Billy Lemonade cover

Sarah Maxwell, author of Young Adult fiction Billy Lemonade, grew up in south London and now lives in Australia. Billy Lemonade, published in January 2021 by Whisper Publishing, is the tale of a friendship between two teenagers whose home life is tough; Jane because her mother is an alcoholic, Billy because his father is abusive. They find each other and their relationship is their salvation.

‘A beautifully crafted story about life, loss, togetherness, and letting go’ says Goodreads.

Sarah’s second book What The Knocker Upper Woke Up, due to be published in the autumn, is described as Young Adult fantasy. Set in the 1860s, it is already being talked about with excitement in publishing circles as a future classic; she is now represented by Annakarin.

Extract from What The Knocker Upper Woke Up:

‘Not long after the Big Stink of 1858, Mary the vagrant, stood Sideways at the site of the burnt mental asylum and smelt a smell even worse than the Big Stink. A smell that was spreading, like a virus and disguised itself as slithers of silver, luring the naïve and the distracted. Drunken men and curious children stumbled Sideways and were lost forever. Those that managed to escape, would have Sideways in their soul, changing who they were supposed to be’.

Image above: The Heavy Bag cover; Sarah Surgey

Sarah Surgey’s book The Heavy Bag, is a book about grief, written for children, and has received 73% five star ratings on Amazon.

The Heavy Bag follows a little girl called Enid who has just lost her Granddad. As Enid goes out for a walk with lots of different emotions whooshing around inside her head, she feels the weight of the heavy bag that she is carrying. Along her journey, Enid comes across different kinds of people who encourage her to talk about how she is feeling. With each meeting she offloads an item from her bag that represents a stage of grief and talks about how she is feeling, inevitably, as Enid takes each item from her bag, it feels lighter making it easier for her to walk’.

Annakarin now handles the foreign rights and is looking to get it translated to sell in Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary. She is well placed to sell books abroad, coming originally from Sweden, where she gained a Masters in Publishing Studies at the University of Lund.

Image above: Illustration by Sayani Mukherjee Mitra for The Slow Superhero

She is representing Sarah Surgey for the publication of her next book, The Slow Superhero, published by Ventorros Press, coming out early 2022.

“They’re a new children’s publisher” says Annakarin. “It’s good to be working with a new venture”.

Annakarin also represents three Jersey based women: authors Kate Murrow and Angela McKinlay and illustrator Kaydia Torrell, who are producing an adventure series for ‘dynamic girls’.

She does not just represent Children’s and Young Adult fiction. She also represents Susan Lee Kerr, Chiswick based author of adult fiction, Jane Wyatt Walters, author of commercial women’s fiction and Scarlett de Courcier, who has written a book described as ‘American folk horror’. Ian Patrick Robinson, a retired police officer with an established reputation as a crime writer, has signed up with Annakarin to represent him for his new work of fiction.

She has had so many scripts sent to her that for a while she had to stop receiving them. “It’s not fair, not to give feedback”. But after a three month break she is welcoming submissions again from Sunday 1 August, taking all sorts of scripts but particularly looking for literary fiction and non-fiction (“not politics” she says!)

Annakarin Klerfalk writes a monthly guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar on the best of the new books being published, which you can find here: Books of the Month

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: New literary agent sets up in Chiswick 

See also: Chiswick Book Festival 2021

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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