How I found the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency (part 6)

A further selection of entries from author pages on how they came to the agency which may provide useful tips on how to find an agent.

GEOFF ANDREWS I was first recommended to Andrew Lownie by my friend and fellow QPR supporter Christian Wolmar, who has benefited a lot from Andrew’s help on many of his transport books. Since then Andrew has impressed me with his prompt attention and real enthusiasm for my work. He also has a particular interest in the Cambridge spy generation.

JANE ANSON I pitched a book about wine tourism in France , and although that book didn’t happen, Andrew’s feedback was so thoughtful and helpful that he was the first person I came to with my new book.

TONY BLEETMAN After writing my first book, I trawled through the long list of literary agents to identify one with an interest in medical tales. Andrew Lownie’s agency is almost unique in accepting submissions by email. Within hours of submission, Andrew telephoned me and expressed his interest in taking me on. Within a week, we had signed a contract and planned a series of books.

JOHN BRADLEY I was looking for an agent in the UK and within an hour of contacting Andrew Lownie through his excellent website he replied. After reading all my previously published books the following weekend, from cover to cover, he agreed to take me on to sell the foreign rights globally. His advice was remarkably frank, relevant and supportive.

DAVID BULLOCK I’d been working on my book for a good number of years and, after the Sunday Telegraph printed a story about my research, and after two television production companies got in touch, I decided to approach publishers. The responses I received were either negative or tentative and it wasn’t long before I realised that my best course of action was to find an agent.

Andrew Lownie responded almost immediately and by the time we’d spoken the following day I was utterly convinced that he was the man for me. Andrew has an invaluable wealth of experience and expertise and has always shown great faith in my book. He’s truly one of the best in the business.

RORY CALLAN My search for a publisher started with the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. I selected the agents I thought would be interested in my work. I proceeded to read through the websites of over 30 agents. Only one impressed me, . The content on the website is vastly superior to any comparable site. I submitted my work taking care to follow strictly the guidelines set out by Andrew. To my surprise, I received a response early the next day. Everything I had read and heard about the publishing world told me that I would be waiting for months before receiving contact from a prospective agent or publisher. Andrew’s approach is the polar opposite of this. My emails and phone calls are responded to post haste and from the beginning Andrew has being encouraging and positive about my work and ideas. In the current market and as a hitherto unpublished author, I realise that I have been very lucky to find a publisher for my books. I think Andrew’s dedication and hard work had a major part to play in my good fortune.

MALCOLM CASTLE After doing a Google search for ‘Literary Agents’, I came across Andrew and was intrigued by the amount he wanted me to include in my submissions e-mail. By comparison, it was the most involved of all the other agents I looked at. I was struck with the feeling that my submission would at least be read and, with all the information I’d included, be given proper consideration. Happily, I received an encouraging reply within a few days. Andrew put me in contact with an author, Neil Simpson, who he felt would enjoy collaborating on the book, and a meeting was organised. Upon arrival I was impressed by the way Andrew combined a friendly and welcoming, “Tea or coffee?”, when he answered the door, with a professional and enthusiastic manner once we started discussing the book. He had clearly thought through the direction he imagined the book taking and has been supportive and encouraging with his advice so far.

HELEN CROYDON I went to a talk given by Andrew for The London Writers Club and was very impressed by his knowledgeable and entertaining insights into the mysterious publishing world. At that point I had just got my first book deal without an agent. However, I was finding that I was walking around blind in an industry that I knew nothing about. Not wanting to bombard my publisher with ridiculous ‘first-time author’ questions, I felt I had so many queries but no one whom I could seek advise from. I mentioned my book deal to Andrew at the end of his talk that evening and he seemed genuinely interested and enthusiastic about that and potential follow-on ideas. We met up several weeks later to talk in more detail. In one hour he answered everything I had been worrying about over the last four months. If only I had found an agent earlier to guide me through the daunting editing process, contract negotiations and publicity planning!

PETER DAUGHTREY I searched agency web sites and was impressed with Andrew’s. His expertise and experience in handling non-fiction history seemed ideally suited to exploit my book. Contradicting all I had been cautioned about agents he replied immediately to my first approach with suggestions for the way forward.

BOBBY FRIEDMAN Andrew was recommended to me by a colleague at the BBC who has himself written a number of very successful biographies.

JOSEPH FUHRMANN A friend recommended Andrew Lownie as one of the very best literary agents. Andrew immediately answered my e-mail inquiry and in a day he had read the entire manuscript via electronic submission. I gladly confess that owe my new career to Andrew.

MARCUS GEORGIO The Lownie Agency came highly recommended from publishers.

JASPER GERARD I was recommended to the agency by Richard Atkinson, a publisher, and various authors such as Christopher Lloyd, with whom I first worked as a graduate trainee at the Sunday Times two decades ago. Everyone seemed in agreement: Andrew is charming, encouraging and committed to thoughtful writing – but is also business-like about securing the right deals for his authors.

NADENE GHOURI I am incredibly excited to be working with an agent who has such a solid reputation and background in the industry. Having just ghost written my first book where I dealt directly with a publisher I realised I really needed an agent to help me manage any future literary work. Having researched various agencies online I found Andrew Lownie.

I was attracted to Andrew’s agency because of the genres he specialises in, but also because I found his approach both welcoming and no nonsense at the same time. Andrew agreed to meet with me and my initial impressions were confirmed. He was enthusiastic, honest and someone I really felt I could deal with. The fact that he already has many journalists on his author list and clearly has an affinity with us hacks was also a bonus.

JAMES HANNAM It was really very easy. Andrew has a prominent web site which I quickly found as soon as I started looking for an agent. The website made clear that he specialised in non-fiction and had several authors on his books whose work I greatly respect. Because he was happy to receive an initial approach by email, I had heard back from him before I had even managed to send anything out by post to other agents. I was also very impressed by how quickly he was able to reach a decision on my proposed book.

CHRIS HEIFNER I’m a huge fan of James Bond and Aston Martin. Unfortunately, I’ll never have the chance to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service and I don’t have enough money to purchase an Aston quite yet, so having a literary agent in the UK is the next best thing. I am truly excited to be represented by Andrew Lownie.

MARY HOLLINGSWORTH I asked a friend in publishing for advice about an agent and he suggested Andrew Lownie. I was astonished when Andrew replied instantly. As my friend rightly said, ‘he strikes me as your kind of agent’: efficient, prompt, thoughtful and demanding.

KEVIN IVISON I wrote Red One during a period of leave toward the end of my army career in order to keep myself out of mischief and record my own experiences for my family and friends with a view to possible publication. An exhaustive search of the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook had highlighted about twenty agents that seemed to take military nonfiction. I saw that Andrew had acted as agent for Doug Beattie, Adrian Weale and Duncan Falconer and placed him at the top of my list of potential agents. A short phone call, email exchange, meeting and one week later I knew I was dealing with the right man for me and had signed with Andrew.

PAUL JONES I first came across Andrew Lownie’s agency in The Writer’s Handbook, and immediately picked it out as one of the best potential agencies for my work. I signed up to his online newsletter, read all of the relevant submission information and advice that his excellent website has to offer and, following its thorough guidelines, sent off my submission proposal. Within twenty-four hours I had received a telephone call requesting the full manuscript, and the day after that received an email asking to take me on.

CATHERINE KERR-PHILLIPS I started Dying for Approval a few years ago, and wasn’t sure as to how to get a book published. I approached several agents, and Andrew Lownie was immediately open to my book proposal. He is always there to answer my many questions as a first time author, and seems to have a great relationship with his clients. We have discussed future projects, and his encouragement has given me the boost I need to push my book to the next level.

IAN KNIGHT It was at the suggestion of Ingrid Connell at Macmillans that I first came to the Andrew Lownie Agency in 2005.

ANGUS KONSTAM For years I was represented by another literary agent, who, while very good, wasn’t really a specialist in historical non-fiction. I became a bit discouraged when I realised that almost all my book deals were ones I’d arranged myself! I began to ask publishers or editors who they’d use if they were looking for an agent. I also asked several respected historians who they’d recommend. Both groups came up with the same name – Andrew Lownie. I contacted Andrew, and not only did he agree to see me that weekend, he also took me on board. Now I have an agent who not only has a firm grasp of the market, but who can offer sage advice when I need it, delivered with Andrew’s great personable aplomb.

ANNMARIE KOSTYK After a frustrating two years of working with an agent in the United States and getting no feedback or book deals, I thought I should seek out representation in the United Kingdom since my second largest readership for my blog Annmarie Kostyk, Chocolate Goddess comes from there, not to mention my love of all thing English. I found the Andrew Lownie Agency by researching a website called Book Crossroads.

How did I decide what agent to contact among the many in the United Kingdom? Quite simply. The Andrew Lownie Agency represented the only authors I have read or heard about. To me, that means success. It is all about getting your name and work out there. Andrew and I emailed for a short time. Once I finalized my first proposal for him, he followed through with a contract offer, suggestions for further projects, and an invitation to meet with publishers in London. He continues to send me articles, books, happening and tidbits of interest almost daily. I really feel like I am in capable, secure and guiding hands with a great writing future ahead of me with Andrew at the helm. Watch out London! Here I come!

FRANK LEDWIDGE I came to Andrew Lownie through a military friend. He had gone to Andrew with an idea for a novel. He was very impressed, as I have been, with the approach Andrew took and the care and courtesy with which he was treated.

SUZANNAH LIPSCOMB In 2009, I was drawing up a shortlist of literary agents, when two other historians recommended Andrew highly to me. Then, rather serendipitously, just as I was thinking of approaching him, Andrew saw me on TV and got in touch. One meeting and I knew I had my man. Commercial, without lacking the integrity of an academic historian, Andrew’s energy and calm professionalism won the day.

BRETT LODGE I was extremely lucky to meet Andrew through a friend who happened to be one of his authors, the late Tom Pocock - a wise, humorous and intelligent man who certainly knew an excellent agent and a good bloke when he saw one. I am very grateful to him indeed.

TEENA LYONS My approach to finding an agent was very journalistic. After trawling through the Writer’s Market 2010, and highlighting all the agents that I thought might be relevant, I spent some time visiting the websites of all the agents on my shortlist. Andrew Lownie seemed particularly relevant to my areas of expertise, but my break-through came when I noticed that my former colleague Neil Simpson was a client. We had worked together for many years at the Mail On Sunday. Neil and I met, rather appropriately, at the British Library for a coffee and he very kindly let me bend his ear for sometime on his experiences and the value of working with this agency. When I met Andrew I immediately understood Neil’s enthusiasm and am now very excited to see what great projects will come out of this collaboration.