How I Heard about the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency
2 Feb 2006
Authors come to the Agency for a variety of reasons - recommendation by another author, agent, editor, the Society of Authors, from the website or publishing guides or websites, from reading the acknowledgements page of comparable books, from articles in the press or simply, for one author, because I'm based near Victoria Station.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask some of my authors how they came to choose me and their explanations, many of them hitherto unknown to me, follow.
Some authors go back some way - Anthony Bruce and Timothy Good were first sold by me in 1986, Andrew Davies in 1987, the Joyce Cary Estate, Lawrence James, Peter Padfield, Tom Pocock and Mei Trow in 1989 - while others are more recent but they give a fascinating range of reasons why authors chose the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency above others.
This page includes a selection of quotes from authors. More quotes can be found on authors' profile pages and across the website.
"Andrew Lownie has many qualities that enable him to perform such a successful and qualified role as one of London's leading literary agents. One of his rarest qualities is that he moves fast and efficiently, almost at the speed of a journalist. This is next to unheard of in the world of British agents. He also thinks like an author, and acts like an agent. He has a very keen understanding of the idiosyncracies of author's finances, he is consistently full of new ideas and suggestions, and is not remotely afraid to be tough with publishers when necessary. I came to him with my fourth non-fiction book, an account of British Special Forces operations, in early 2003. Within a matter of days he had a synopsis submitted, interest drummed up, an auction in progress, and a healthy five-figure advance resulted. I would not hesitate to recommend him to authors, published and unpublished, famous and unknown, who need somebody prepared to deal on their behalf with that essentially benevolent but quixotic corporate mammoth that is British publishing in the twenty-first century." Christian Jennings
'When I was looking for a new agent after the publication of The Brontes I went to see three potential candidates. The first was one of the major agencies - whose representative kept me waiting half an hour to see him, took telephone calls throughout our meeting and was then shocked when I rejected him because I did not think he seemed interested in me or my work. The second proved unsuitable because she specialised almost entirely in fiction. The third, Andrew Lownie, had been recommended to me by the editor who had originally commissioned The Brontes. He was the only one who had taken the trouble to research my backlist and had prepared a number of enterprising suggestions for my future career. His enthusiasm and business acumen were obvious from the first and he has never failed to seize an opportunity to push my interests. My latest book, Agincourt, was the direct result of his initiative in suggesting my name to a publisher who was looking for someone to write on that subject." Juliet Barker
"I moved to Andrew Lownie after a most unsatisfactory experience with another agent. Andrew has been invaluable in shaping my career. He has an uncanny instinct for good book ideas and is tireless in helping authors get their proposals into the very best shape. His contacts are unmatched, he has tremendous knowledge of the industry and its various trends, and is brilliantly creative in thinking laterally about TV, radio and other angles. Andrew has delivered a series of exceptional deals for me, and his advice on directions for the future is always sound. He has been a fantastic support and motivator in my career." Patrick Dillon
"I first met Andrew Lownie in the mid-1980s when he was still an agent at John Farquharson (Curtis Brown). He placed my first book with a mainstream publisher. It was not a difficult decision to leave with him when he resigned from Curtis Brown to start the agency in 1988. I have been with him ever since and have never regretted it. From those early days his support and advice have been invaluable and have remained constant despite the growth of the agency in recent years." Anthony Bruce
"When my previous agent retired, she suggested Andrew Lownie as a worthy successor. That was easily the best thing she had ever done for me. Andrew has since proved to be in every way the ideal literary agent. Perceptive, supporting, hard-working with an instinctive ability to achieve all that is beneficial for his clients. A true professional." Sam Halpert
"I was scouting around for an agent last year, and Andrew's name was mentioned to me by several authors. I sent him an email with a proposal and a writing sample, expecting to hear back in a few weeks, if at all. Within a few hours, Andrew had written back with detailed comments on my writing, and an offer to become my agent. I met him a month later at his London office, and was deeply impressed by his enthusiasm and commitment. For a young author working on his first post-thesis book, his support and advice have been invaluable." Randall Hansen
"I have only known Andrew a short time, but how fast things have moved. I found his details on a web site listing agents specialising in non-fiction. He was the second agent I emailed, the first, after initial enthusiasm kept be hanging around without any real decision or commitment. How different Andrew's approach was. From my first tentative contact, to the proposal going out, and an offer from a publisher with a six figure advance, took under two months! Always friendly and approachable, and obviously very highly regarded by publishers. All emails are answered immediately, and while he often doesn't have time for a salutation, 'best' has become as much his handle as descriptive of the agency." Cathy Glass
"I first discovered Andrew Lownie after an exhaustive internet search from the US. Although I thought there was little chance that he'd take me on as a client, being that I'm American and my book is about the French Foreign Legion, I went ahead and submitted my proposal. I still knew little about Andrew's agency, but his website was very welcoming, and he included his personal email address for anybody to submit work to. After dozens of doors were slammed in my face, Andrew got back to me and offered my work representation. What impressed me was the fact hat he actually did sit down and read my work. He believed in it. Little did I know at that time that he was one of the biggest names in British literary agencies. He placed my first book with a major publisher and secured for me a handsome advance. I've been happy with Andrews work ever since." Jaime Salazar
"I met Andrew at the first meeting of the Biography Club. I attended all the early meetings. I asked him if you would be my agent, because I was impressed by his knowledge of the book trade and obvious organising flair. I have not been disappointed and often tell people about him." Christine Nicholls
"I was staring doom in the face. And Andrew turned out to be the cavalry coming over the hillside to save the day. I was a journalist and had written one book as "Doktor Snake" and thought I could get a new book deal (as me) by representing myself. After all I was good at self-promotion and my stuff was in national newspapers. But it didn't work out and it looked like my career as an author was all washed up. But after signing up with Andrew in Spring 2005, he got me a nice deal with Random House, along with a very nice advance. Only thing now is I gotta write the book..." Jimmy Lee Shreeve