Articles

Andrew Lownie uses his expert knowledge in the publishing field to maximise the potential of his clients and build up their careers. Here Andrew Lownie, and some of his clients and guest columnists, share advice on a variety of topics to writers. Elsewhere on the site you can find a Frequently Asked Questions list on literary agents, as well as advice for submitting work to agents.

  • Writing your first non-fiction book?

    27 Jul 2018

    David Craig remembers the lessons he learnt writing his first book. Are you considering writing your first non-fiction book? If so, how do you start? The reason I pose this question is that I was recently approached by someone who had read one of my books, Squandered (published in 2008) and this had inspired them to produce their own book. They had sent their book to the usual agents and publishers and got the usual, mostly automatic standard rejections. So, they approached me and asked if I could help. I read the book and felt that hidden inside was a really powerful story. Unfo...Read more

  • Four ways to start a publicity campaign for your book

    09 Apr 2018

    Journalist and agency author Helen Croydon passes on some of her tips for publicizing your book. If you’re an author writing probably comes naturally. But what about pushing for publicity? That’s usually a daunting task for us creatives. Today, book PR is an integral part of being a writer. Even if you have a publisher behind you, PR budgets are often limited and most publishers now recommend, or expect, authors to cultivate book publicity alongside them. As an author and journalist, I supplemented my publishers’ PR campaigns by approaching editors, journalists and producers m...Read more

  • Whose Story is it Anyway?

    10 Nov 2017

    Bestselling ghostwriter Katy Weitz explores the tension between telling an authentic story while making it ‘appealing’ to readers. So, true story... I was asked once during a Q&A session whether I would use a ghostwriter to write my own memoir. Ha ha ha, everyone in the room laughed. Funny question. ‘But really… would you?’ my questioner insisted. I thought for a moment and then came up with a surprising answer: ‘Yes!’ And the reason is that if I wanted to make it a damn good read, I would need another person’s perspective on my life story. The ghostwriter and their subject are ...Read more

  • When is the right time to plug your book in the papers?

    26 Jul 2017

    Agency author David McClure recounts his adventures in the newspaper trade after finishing a book on the royal finances If you want to promote your book by writing a newspaper article, timing is everything – as I learned through trial and error over the past year plugging “Royal Legacy” (Thistle Publishing 2015). To boost your chances of the piece running, it helps if it’s pegged to a news story in a timely manner. If you dilly-dally and deliver copy 24 hours after the news first breaks, it’s likely to be rejected as old meat. As someone unused to writing to a tight deadline, ...Read more

  • Ten tips when checking royalty statements

    24 Jun 2017

    In the second of his articles, Stephen Aucutt, a contracts and royalties expert who has worked in publishing for over thirty years, gives his insider tips for checking royalty statements. He can be contacted at stephencfp@john-lewis.com. 1. A copy of the contract and any previous royalty statements are a necessity. Particularly previous statement since errors in those may not be apparent until subsequent statements are received. 2. Check that the amount of any advance or unearned balance of the advance deducted is correct and that advances or debit balances which apply to other bo...Read more

  • Top tips when negotiating contracts

    23 Jun 2017

    Stephen Aucutt, formerly contracts manager at Hodder & Stoughton, draws on his thirty years experience to provide a contracts checklist when agreeing terms with trade publishers. He can be reached at stephencfp@john-lewis.com. 1. Ensure that any and all terms and conditions agreed before issue of the contract have been included accurately. Pay particular attention to any terms or conditions which have the effect of altering what was agreed pre-contract, e.g. a royalty of 10% of retail price on hardcover trade sales agreed but, contract contains several provisions which provide for ...Read more