How I Found The Andrew Lownie Literary Agency part 2

Last February I ran an article about how authors heard about the agency and thought readers might be interested in a further selection. It shows just how varied are the ways that authors can find an agent.

Simon Berthon
‘I first met Andrew in my role as a TV producer when he was energetically and assiduously passing on to me suggestions for documentaries based on his author’s books. When I mooted the idea of a book based on my series ‘Warlords’, Andrew was immediately encouraging and informative on the style of pitch etc that was needed to attract publishers’ interest and responded quickly to my and my co-author Joanna Potts’s ideas and outlines. Since then Andrew has worked with great industry and ingenuity to sell the book well beyond the UK and US publishers. The great thing, as he rightly stresses himself, is the personal attention he finds time to give his authors."

Jonathan Fryer
"From the writer's point of view, a good agent is like an ideal pair of shoes, which give you support and protection while helping you along your professional way. It's essential that they feel comfortable, but they also have to be robust. Without them, one is unlikely to get as far or to advance unhurt. I met Andrew first through the Biographers' Club he runs, a stimulating forum and social meeting place for those of us who spend large amounts of time buried in archives or interviewing strangers in pursuit of our subject. The empathy he displayed for the genre -- which is quite distinct from fiction and other forms of writing -- made me realise that this was the sort of agent I needed, who would not just place books, but chew over ideas, and sometimes come up with appropriate journalistic assignments and speaking engagements as well."

Adrienne Gavin
"I learned of the agency when I saw a call for entries to the Biographers' Club Prize which Andrew Lownie had founded. Having begun research towards a biography of Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty, I entered a proposal for the 2000 prize which I was elated to win. When I went to receive the prize at a Biographers' Club lunch in London I met Andrew who offered to represent me. Subsequently the book was contracted to Sutton and published as Dark Horse: A
Life of Anna Sewell."

Nick Hacking
"I came to the agency in 2003, I think, via the Guardian's Rob Evans. He had recently written Gassed, an incredibly methodical history of the chemical warfare experiments conducted at the UK government's Porton Down facilities which had been agented by Andrew. After I had interviewed him on camera, we got to talking about the best ways of getting investigative projects published. Rob advised me that, given Bound By Deception was about espionage and history, Andrew's agency was probably the best-placed in the UK for promoting such titles."

John Higgs
"I approached finding an agent on the assumption it would be a long hard slog. To start, I went out and bought the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook and sent my proposal to only five of the hundreds of agents listed. My thinking was that a small initial test like this would give me feedback and allow me to improve my pitch for a big mass mail out later. Andrew was one of the first that I wrote down, partly because he came under 'A', and partly because I admired books from a few of the clients he listed. A few days after I posted the proposal, he called. By the time the second agency on my list got in touch, he had already sent out my sample chapter to a professional reader. By the time the third agency on my list got in touch, I had signed with him. I think I must be one of the few writers who have found dealing with representation to be the simplest, most hassle-free parts of writing!"

John & Celia Lee
"Conversations with editors at Macmillan kept referring us to Andrew Lownie as an ideal choice for our book on Churchill. Letters went out with a very basic proposal to three possible agents. One never replied at all; one said it was not for them but we ought to try Andrew Lownie; Andrew saw the potential straight away and signed us up very quickly. A good deal of care and attention has gone into perfecting the full proposal, and now the manuscript (all but complete) is available for inspection."

Simon LeVay
"Andrew Lownie wasn't recommended to me by anyone. I was breezing through a lot of agents' Web sites and I came across his. He seemed like a person I could develop a good working relationship with, even at a distance of 6,000 miles. That turned out to be the case. "

Jeff Maynard
"I was introduced to the Andrew Lownie Literacy Agency through his editor Genna Gifford."

David Morgan
"I was given Andrew's name by my wife's aunt, Barbara Ker-Wilson. She is a published author both here and at home in Australia."

Adam Ockelford
"I came into contact with Andrew Lownie via the producer of the 'Extraordinary People' documentary, Martin Weitz, who runs the television company Focus Productions in Bristol."

John Parker
"In my copy of The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook is a list of U.K. literary agencies. I found three who seemed to include classical subject matter in their lists, so to the first of these (in alphabetical order) I sent a submission. I had a kind reply saying that they felt they were not the agency I was looking for. The second on the list was Andrew Lownie. Andrew Lownie was clearly the agency I was looking for."

David Roberts
"I was a publisher for thirty years and I first met Andrew Lownie when he brought me several bestsellers during the eighties and nineties. At Weidenfeld and Nicolson, where I was editorial director, Andrew proved a first-class literary agent and became a friend. Among many authors of his I published there, Andrew Roberts' first book, The Holy Fox a biography of Lord Halifax, and Juliet Barker's biography of Charlotte Bronte spring to mind as books I was proud to publish. It was natural that when I became a writer of crime fiction that I should turn to him and he has supporte me through what has become a multi-book series."

Amanda Steane
"As a first time author with a true story, it can be quite difficult finding an agent to help get a book like this published. I was so lucky to be introduced to Andrew Lownie a wonderful professional man, who freely gave me lots of advice. From the first reading of my synopsis he not only supported my story, he pushed and pushed to find me the right people for my story to eventually get published (Original Book Company publication February 2007). Now thanks to Andrew and along with him I have a fantastic team of people all making it possible for my story to be published and read. Excellent advice and support. "

Nicholas Storey
"I found the agency by a web search for literary agents and Andrew's landing page was near the top of the list. I opened the site and noticed that he seemed much more approachable than other agents and so I contacted him and he gave me quick and helpful feedback."

Gordon Thorburn
"Many years ago I had an agent who only wanted me for my sexy little pot-boilers. She rejected every other possibility. After the fifth SLPB I gave up.Next, I found an agent who wanted to sell my WW2 bombers book. He left to become an accountant, was replaced by a lady filmscript agent who left within weeks, to be replaced by a complete novice who was fired within days, to be replaced by an experienced but largely inactive and uncommunicative fellow. I fired him, placed the bombers book on my own, realised I needed an agent for the animal police idea, trawled the www, and liked the books Andrew Lownie represented.The only drawback with him is that he makes you do proposals six times over."

Maxine Ventham
"There comes a time when every writer knows that a good agent is vital if the right publishers are to be approached in the right way. Moreover, the top publishing houses no longer look at unsolicited submissions. Therefore, I found myself scouring the Writer's Handbook and the internet for literary agencies. Andrew's web site was the only one I found to be welcoming and informative, I felt I could safely send my ideas to him. My original impression was correct; Andrew has proved to be honest, very hard working and flexible - all the attribues a writer needs in an agent. I feel my career is in experienced hands and the future is brighter than ever. "

Christopher Warwick
'I had heard of Andrew's reputation as a literary agent long before I first met him at one of his Biographers' Club lunches. Having returned to a writing career not long ago, after an absence of several years, I was only too well aware of the need for strong, imaginative and, above all, positive representation. Andrew's zest and enthusiasm persuaded me that he was the right agent to help guide my career to a new level.'

Martyn Welfare
'I watched the Biographers Club Team on University Challenge about eighteen months ago. I looked up Biographers Club on the web immediately afterwards and found a link to the agency site which I thought was excellent.'

Russ Willey
"I carefully scrutinised the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, selecting the literary agents with a specialisation in non-fiction and then narrowing the list down to those who specifically mentioned reference books. I wrote to the three that I most liked the sound of, and Andrew's response was both the quickest and the most positive. Consequently, I was on his books within a week of first deciding that I needed an agent."

Charlotte Zeepvat
"I came to the agency on personal recommendation and the website confirmed my feeling that Andrew would be the right agent for me."

About article author

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Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie was born in 1961 and was educated in Britain and America. He read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he was President of the Union. He went on to gain an MSc at Edinburgh University and spend a year at the College of Law in London. After a period as a bookseller and jour...More about Andrew Lownie