Fiction & Drama

Friday Five: Literary Scout Maria Brannan


Answering the #FridayFive this week is literary scout Maria Brannan, of Maria Campbell Associates.

Tell us a bit about your job?

As literary scouts, our company is hired by publishers from other countries and we act as sort of book detectives for them, finding, reading and recommending brilliant books from the UK for them to buy translation rights to and publish in their own languages. We also scout books for Netflix for film/TV adaptation.

What are the key ingredients for success?

For any job it’s about putting the time in and working hard, and specifically in terms of scouting, building good relationships with agents and editors, and of course our clients.

Describe a normal day?

On my way into work I’ll be reading a new book that’s out on submission. Then as it’s currently the run-up to the London Book Fair, I have meetings most days with editors or rights agents to find out what they’ve got coming up and what they’re reading and liking. We also spend a lot of time in touch with our clients, sharing our thoughts on what we’re reading, making sure they’re up-to-date with any news and are looking at the submissions which are getting heat. Sometimes I’ll be writing a report on a book I’ve finished, and then in the evening there’s always more reading.

For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?

Internships – they’re a great way to work out which area of publishing you’re interested in. Someone I worked for at my first internship put me in touch with Maria Campbell Associates UK and I started working for them as a reader, and then an intern. Happily they offered me a job and I’ve been there ever since!

What are you reading, watching and listening to now?

I’m currently reading and loving Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. I’m watching and completely hooked by The Boys on Amazon Prime. And my go-to podcasts are Teh Guilty Feminist, God is Grey, and the sometimes-too-scary but brilliantly narrated Magnus Archives.

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