Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bob Tanner

Vale - Bob Tanner

Last week my literary agent passed away after a short illness. His name was Bob Tanner, and he was a well-known figure in the writing world in the UK.
Although I met him only twice in the eight years of our professional association I formed the impression that Bob was a gentleman. Certainly, he was a man who was there when you needed advice. Bob shared his expertise as well as his friendship, and was always pleased to be of help. He seemed to derive a quiet pleasure in the book sales he achieved for his writing clients.

I first met Bob when he was a guest speaker for the Romantic Novelists’ Association in London, I can’t remember the date by it was approximately twenty years ago. He reminded everyone present at that meeting that writing was extremely hard work, and it took persistence and dedication. We were warned that for most people starting out, getting a novel published was nigh on impossible. His honesty in this was appreciated.

It was several years before I felt that my writing was ready for an agent to represent. Luckily, Bob Tanner took me on, and over twenty books were placed with publishers by him over the years. The only time we met since that first meeting, was when Bob, his daughter Jill and office manager, Pat took me to an RNA awards luncheon at the Savoy Hotel in 2006.

I don’t know how old Bob was when he passed away – getting on a bit, I imagine. However, age doesn’t seem to matter much in the writing world, because it brings with it a wealth of experience. I do know that Bob had been part of the writing industry for a long time. First in publishing with New English Library, and then establishing the literary agency, International Scripts. He was well respected in his chosen career, he was also a wise man.

When people who mean something in our lives depart from it, we tend to wonder – how will we cope without them? But each of us have our own journey to make, and losing friends and family are part of it.

According to his daughter and fellow director, Jill Lawson, Bob worked right to the end. He left behind a record to celebrate the life of a truly unique man. I feel privileged to have known him, and will truly miss his wise counsel when I need it.

3 comments:

Margaret Muir said...

Dear Janet,
I am touched by your words about Bob and would like to echo the sentiment behind them.
As one of Bob's more recent client's, I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person and only spoke to him by phone once in almost four years. And although all our business was done by mail or over the internet, I felt as though I knew him and could relate to him.
I was an unproven writer when he took me on but now, thanks to Bob and International Scripts, I have had three novels in print.
Rest in peace, Bob.
I'm sure there are lots of authors up there who are waiting for a good agent!

Marg Muir

Sherry said...

Anna Jacobs here. I too was touched by what you said about Bob, Janet. I'm another of his clients, have been for sixteen years, and shall miss him greatly. He was a wonderful agent and a very special sort of person.

Anna Jacobs

franb said...

Dear Margaret,
I, too, am one of Bob's more recent clients and wish that I'd had the opportunity to meet him in person. He was a great agent and I appreciated the time and effort he put into placing my work. I shall miss him.
Frances Burke

February 22. 2008 11.10 am