Asked this week how a novelist can sell him a novel, the literary super agent Andrew Wylie advises: "Write a good cover letter and place it on top of a good manuscript. Zadie Smith wrote a cover letter ending, 'I'm six foot tall, I'm 19 years old, and I don't exactly look like the back end of a bus.' I thought: 'Nice cover letter ... '" He adds that he was taken with her phrasing ... "I didn't give a shit what she looked like. That's how we got White Teeth."
Naturally I go to his website for its submissions policy and am greeted by the grim reality: "The Wylie Agency does not currently accept unsolicited submissions."
Lateralising irrelevantly (a chemical inducement), my mind turns to that great Paul Hardcastle song Nineteen at the mention of Zadie's then young age - adapt the lyrics to this posting as you see fit.