Who I am
Born and bred in Rome, I came to London on holiday in 2003, fell in love with it and never looked back.
My experience in publishing is broad-ranging: it includes four years in the Foreign Rights department at Ed Victor Ltd, a prominent literary agency representing among others Nigella Lawson, Frederick Forsyth, John Banville and Edna O'Brien, and three years in the contracts department at the Orion Publishing Group. More recently I spent two and a half years at Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency, where I worked alongside David Miller and Peter Robinson with authors such as Victoria Hislop, Kate Summerscale, Ian Rankin, David Starkey and Joanne Harris, while at the same time building my own list.
In July 2016 I realised I was ready to take the plunge so I quit my job and set up Martin Leonardis Literary Management.
What I'm looking for
The below is to give an idea of the areas I'll be concentrating on. Submissions in English or Italian are welcome.
Commercial, cross-over and reading-group fiction. Fiction is great; it can entertain the reader, provide an escape or tell us something about what it means to be human. I love stories that keep me reading through the night and those can be in different genres: commercial or literary, a love story or a murder mystery, a cosy crime or an international thriller, a romantic comedy or a story of loss and grief, a speculative and dystopian novel, or a psychological or domestic suspense. If you've written a book with inspiring characters, a universal dilemma and a compelling plot, send it to me. Authors I love include Maria Semple, Mhairi McFarlane, Lucy Robinson, Colm Toíbín and Kate Atkinson.
Cookery. I love food. I love cooking, eating and reading about food. If you're a chef, a food blogger or Instagrammer and you think you have a book in you, I would love to hear from you. I'm looking for new and fresh recipe books with the potential to become classics but also books about food that readers can curl up in bed with. Good examples are anything by Nigella Lawson and Diana Henry, The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, Salad Love by David Bez and, of course, Food for All Seasons by Oliver Rowe.
Smart thinking, lifestyle, life stories and self-help. I'm looking for books that can make a positive difference to our everyday life, so anything on psychology, business, health, smart thinking, positive thinking, inspirational memoirs and personal development. Favourite books are Grit by Angela Duckworth, Presence by Amy Cuddy, The Willpower Instinct by Dr Kelly McGonigal and anything by Adam Grant. But they don't have to be serious. They can also be funny and helpful like The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight or the classic It's Called a Break-up Because It's Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amira Ruotola-Behrendt.
What I'm not looking for
I know it's tough out there for writers and you might think that an agent is an agent, right? Wrong! Agents are humans too and although I occasionally enjoy a horror novel, my knowledge of the genre is insufficient for me to represent effectively in that area. Please don't send me submissions for fantasy, space-operas, horror and gothic fiction, historical non-fiction, YA and children's fiction, poetry or short stories. Even if I enjoy it I won't be able to take it on or offer feedback.