Monday, January 22, 2007

Signed by the John Jarrold Literary Agency

Well, m'friends, much has happened over the past two weeks. It culminated on Friday morning, when a phone call to John Jarrold sealed my fate as the latest addition to the John Jarrold Literary Agency. My steely professionalism prevents me from writing things like "I hope he knows what he's letting himself in for" but does permit me the odd swallow of champagne, in which manner I spent the greater part of Friday night.

Who is John? He's a relatively recent addition to the agently hordes of UK publishing, having set up his agency in 2004. Before that, he ran Earthlight, the dedicated science fiction and fantasy imprint of Simon and Schuster. He's also been director of Orbit Books (an imprint to which most SF readers will need no introduction). At Orbit, he published Arthur C Clarke, Iain Banks, Harry Harrison, and many others. So John is well versed in the dark art of publishing, and I'm very happy to have him representing me. He also sounds like a nice bloke, which can only help in dealing with my monstrous ego.

The Cunning Plan For World Domination involves working some more on the second edition of Déjà Vu. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, there is a goodish chance that Déjà Vu will rise up again in 2008, so we'll be working on getting Déjà Vu into the best shape possible. Next up is the second sciffy novel, which is set in the same universe as Déjà Vu. John's a well-read guy despite his genre specialism, and I'm waiting to see what he thinks of Proper Job, my comedy novel. If he doesn't want to ritually burn it, we'll try to hoodwink some publisher into taking it. Sorry, that last sentence lacked professionalism. I meant: We will try to find a publisher that deserves a book like Proper Job.

Hmm. I'll try to work on my professional polish. Meanwhile, as an example to us all, here is the press release that John prepared over the weekend. I'm aware it makes me sound like a certain Aramaic-speaking carpenter, but that's all part of the fun.


British SF author Ian Hocking has joined the John Jarrold Literary Agency. His first novel, a science fiction technothriller entitled Déjà Vu, was published in 2005 by the UKA Press. The Guardian described it as ‘showing quiet skill’ and SFX called it ‘a solid technothriller’. Author Ian Watson praised it as ‘gripping, fascinating, and powerful’. Other reviewers have written ‘crisp and professional’, ‘a smart read full of fresh, clever dialogue’, ‘mind-blowing’, and ‘thought-provoking’. The book is thriller that encompasses time travel, virtual reality, and digital minds.

‘Ian mentions Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Ken MacLeod in his acknowledgements,’ said John Jarrold. ‘Having had the pleasure of publishing a number of books by them both, I can say that the many readers who love their work will thoroughly enjoy Ian’s writing. Ideas jump off the page, and his characters remain in one’s mind over a long period of time’

Hocking is presently writing another novel in the Déjà Vu universe.

Contact John Jarrold for further information by e-mail at or by phone at 01424 440652.

20th January 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tremendously good news! Well done to you, Ian. I'm sure it'll be the start of a wonderful relationship (where you write and he sells!)


12:35 PM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, Aliya. Yes, I hope we manage to get some books out there. Time will tell. Best of luck with your own stuff, too!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Huge congrats, Ian. Here's wishing you every success.

Andrea UKA

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Ian! You'll do marvellously with this, I feel sure, after a rewrite of a few awkward passages in DEJA VU, and with the second book shaping up brilliantly, as it certainly seems to be doing, from the excerpts you've posted.

Re Proper Job, speaking only from the sample passages I've seen here, it's full of ideas and energy, but I still think the humour doesn't come out of the situation often enough, and there's too much wry commentary which means there's not enough at stake. (Of course, you've probably completely changed it from those early posts, so I'm talking through one's hat, but there you go.)

1:43 PM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, Andrea. As I said in my email, I wouldn't be in this position if the UKA Press hadn't published DV to start with...thanks again.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, anonymous. Considering how sick of DV I was after the first process of editing, I thought it bore up quite well when I read it aloud for the podcast - in some ways, the awkward passages are the easy bits to correct. The 'feel' of certain sections, together with some structural changes, will ensure that I get fed up with it again fairly rapidly. But hopefully not before I've improved it... :-)

2:05 PM  
Anonymous John Jarrold said...

Hi Ian!

Yes, delighted to have you on board!

For my sins, I also ran the Random House UK SF and Fantasy imprint, Legend, between 1992 and 1997. When Nick Webb asked me to go to S&S and start up Earthlight, RH sold Legend to all the authors I published between 1988 and 1997 - Iain (M) Banks, Ken MacLeod, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, Harry Harrison, many others - are together at Orbit! Bloody incestuous, eh?

3:38 PM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, John! There must be an awesome collective noun for the Orbit authors... I'll think about it over a cup of tea...

3:52 PM  
Blogger Rolski said...


Congratulations! I'm so pleased that such a positive step has been taken in such a short amount of time. That in itself shows an enormous amount of promise.

We (Roly's royal we) all had complete faith in your and you deserve all the success that you'll doubtless have.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Congratulations Ian, saw this news over on GOB, and sounds fantastic news.

I'll try to recruit some willing readers to help shape up DV 2.0...

8:24 PM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks for the kind words, Rolski. I'll be looking out for a similar announcement on your blog... :-)

8:27 PM  
Blogger Simon Haynes said...

Hi Ian, just saw the news via Grumpy Old Bookman's blog. Congratulations!

12:46 AM  
Blogger roger said...

Late to the party, but let me add my congratulations Ian. This is fantastic (as in wonderful) news and very well deserved. I actually came here to tell you how much I'm enjoying Deja Vu - about 2/3 of the way through and it's a rollocking ride. I'll share my thoughts when I've finished it, if you're interested. Shouldn't be too long now.

(By the way, this morning I did spot a minor nit/query, which may be me being thick, but... if I don't mention it now I'll forget it. It's very minor, as I say. On p 156 Besson says 'Proctor's side might have been picked up by a radio hack' thereby showing he already knows Proctor's name. But on p157 after Saskia says 'About Proctor's transmission....' Jago says: 'Besson, you can forget that name right now. I mean it.' As if Saskia mentioning it is the first time it has come up.)

I have a feeling John Jarrold also represents another writing friend of mine, Anne Brook, but I may have got that wrong.

Bloody well done.


9:37 AM  
Anonymous John Jarrold said...


Yes, I do represent Anne. The JJLA's tentacles are gradually encircling the world!

9:53 AM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks for your comment, Simon. Nice to virtually 'meet' you. Hey, do we get a badge reading 'JJ's Barmy Army' or something?

10:14 AM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, Roger...glad you're enjoying DV. I'm particularly glad you're enjoying the first bit, because that's the bit I want to concentrate on with my improvements (nothing radical, but it does require some attention).

Re: 'Proctor's radio transmission' - well, clearly this is complex para-temporal referent that is intricately linked to the meta structure of the narrative (to speak with my postmodern hat on and my Peril Sensitive Sunlgasses). I hope that clears it up. :-)

10:17 AM  
Blogger roger said...

Ah yes. I thought it might be something like that. I should have kept my mouth shut and read on!

(Rule number one, trust the author!)

10:28 AM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Phew, got out of that one...

10:36 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

Congratulations! Saw the news on Grumpy Old Bookman. Best wishes for your future success.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, Carla. Best of luck with you endeavours too.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Anne Brooke said...

I see my name has been mentioned in despatches, though wrongly spelled (shame on you, Roger!! - it's Brooke, don't y'know!) - so may I belatedly say welcome to the JJ Gang, Ian.



8:49 PM  
Blogger Simon Haynes said...

"Hey, do we get a badge reading 'JJ's Barmy Army' or something?"

I heard it was a red hot brand to the posterior, but I'm safe in Western Australia so you can just fill me in on the grisly details once yours is done ...

9:06 AM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Hi, Anne. Thanks for the welcome!

9:37 AM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Simon, I'll see if I can get away with a barcode tattoo...

9:38 AM  
Anonymous James Aach said...

Congratulations, Ian. I corresponded with you awhile back about my own online thriller on nuclear power - "Rad Decision". I'm glad to report it's now on bookshelves as well (and still online too). It's a good thing the net has given would-be writers the opportunity to reach the public at large and get their response -- and only THEN have to worry about agents and publishers (who often seem to have more narrow interests). I also congratulate the Jarrold Agency for looking (slightly) outside the traditional box. Good luck! Jim Aach

4:48 AM  
Blogger Dr Ian Hocking said...

Thanks, James, and well done getting your own book onto the shelves. Is it POD? If so, did you have the Devil's own time getting booksellers to stock it? Either way, best of luck!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous James Aach said...

Yes, it's POD. Not difficult getting online booksellers to carry it. I have some fiendishly clever ways (probably destined for failure) of getting it on actual bookshelves. But it will be a challenge.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

WOW! Just figured this out because of Twitter! Huge congrats!!!!!
I am smiling for you ;-)


2:34 PM  

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