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.

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  • The Acquisitions Process Nov 01 2014 | leave a comment
    Three top editors explain the process of commissioning books within their publishers. Hugh Barker, Publishing Director, Michael O' Mara Books There are a variety of ways in which a proposal might come to our attention. Firstly, we might simply come up with an idea and ask a writer if they would be interested in writing it for us – a lot of our books at Michael O’Mara Books have traditionally been generated this way, and across the publishing business it is a reasonably common model. So for writers it is worth bearing in mind that simply being in touch with publishers and being wil...
  • The Writing Life Oct 31 2014 | leave a comment
    Twenty-five authors describe their writing habits. Adrian Addison For me, it is a race. A race to get the first draft done (not even the dog gets to see this draft). I have to out-run that voice in my head, that bastard who tells me ‘you’re shit - a fraud. Who the f’k you think you are, Shakespeare? Go to the pub, you moron, the football’s on.’ It’s like a sprint from tree to tree, day to day - a heavy man running naked, sometimes over hot and open ground - with predators nearby, all smelling The Fear. ‘Run, you bastard, run!’ Across that white page. But, ah but, when there IS a fini...
  • How I Write Oct 22 2014 | leave a comment
    Twenty-four of the agency’s authors outline their writing habits. Nicholas Best I live in a Cambridge village and work in a 17th century barn across the drive from the house. There's a 400-year-old skeleton under the floorboards, a cat buried in a corner to ward off evil spirits. It doesn't work for the Inland Revenue.I start writing after breakfast and continue until lunchtime. If I'm lucky, I'll have written 400 words by then, although I do occasionally stretch to a thousand. If I'm unlucky, I'll have clocked up minus 200 or so after deciding that whatever I wrote yesterday was rubb...
  • Thistle vs The Rest Oct 08 2014 | leave a comment
    Mei-trow M J Trow writes about his experiences with the agency's imprint Thistle Publishing. As the author of over forty fiction titles I do have, as one might expect, a rather chunky backlist and it was with this in mind that I began my collaboration with Thistle Publishing. It was nothing but seamless from the start, with great feedback from fans via my website who were suddenly able to re-visit books of mine they had lost over the years to flood, disaster and lending them to feckless friends who had omitted to return them. It seemed a very natural progression from there to place my next two ne...
  • Hole in Heart of Publishing Threatens Shelf Lives Sep 23 2014 | leave a comment
    A ghost writer and former journalist argues that publicists need to work more closely with authors and receive proper training if they are to be truly effective. There appears to be a great big hole in the heart of the publishing world – a hole that is threatening the shelf lives of millions of books. As a ghostwriter who specializes in non-fiction memoir I’m aware of the thousands of pounds editors are sinking into this market. Every week the supermarket shelves are stuffed to the gills with the latest celebrity, inspirational or nostalgic memoir and the reasons are obvious: firstl...
  • How We Work Together (part 2) Jul 07 2014 | leave a comment
    Randall Hansen The basis of any book, and particularly books aimed at both an academic and commercial market, is a long lonely slog in the archive and the library. Different authors have different relationships with their agents, but mine involves much close work with Andrew at the start of a book. I generally send Andrew an email with one or two ideas, and he lets me know if he thinks they have intellectual (and commercial) appeal. I follow up with a ten-twenty proposal which provides a summary of what the book’s content (or what I imagine the content will be, as a proposal precedes...