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.

  • The Future of History

    26 Jul 2008

    Gregor Dallas, author of MetrostopParis: History from the City’s Heart, and the War and Peace Trilogy: 1815, 1918 and 1945 takes a critical look at authors and publishers of history today, and suggests that epic and the study of frontiers may be the way forward. What is the future of history in this world of instant electronic communication? A little over a year ago the Tudor historian, Robert Hutchinson, wrote in these columns that historians with a future should write their books ‘with all the tricks of marketing’ in the forefront of their minds. Their book shoul...Read more

  • Embracing Darkness and Uncovering Our Forgotten Pasts: A Quest to Make Reading for Boys Cool Again

    20 Jul 2008

    Fewer boys and young men are reading these days. Young adult writer Steven O’Prey sets out to find the causes and possible solutions. Experts insist the future for boys reading is bleak, crippled, dying. Boys, especially teens and young adults, just won’t read. The experts, of course, know the reasons why. Boys can’t be bothered, they boldly assume. They are ignorant and unschooled, growing up in a radically different culture to that of ten or twenty years ago. What’s the point of a publisher wasting valuable funds to fight a loosing battle? The government ar...Read more

  • Gutenberg’s Web

    14 Jul 2008

    Biographer Susan Ronald puts forward a new commissioning model for publishers, based on the film industry, which she argues will cut publishing overheads and allow publishers to take greater commissioning risks. When Johannes Gutenberg (1400-68) invented his printing press from movable type, the first great revolution in printing and publishing occurred. Everyone agrees so far, right? What many of us forget, or perhaps didn’t know, is that his invention created such a tidal wave of unemployment in the monasteries that it spelled the beginning of the end for monastic manuscripts, and...Read more

  • A Short History of Why the US Market Has a Cold… and the UK Has the Flu

    21 Jun 2008

    Susan Ronald, author of The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers and the Dawn of Empire and currently writing books on Richard 111 and King Charles 11’s mistress Barbara Villiers, looks at how the non-fiction market, in particular for history, has changed over the last few years. A year ago, the UK and US markets were on a sympathetic course in the publishing world. The status quo merrily prevailed. Then, slowly, almost imperceptibly, things changed. In the autumn, world stock markets trembled; our Prime Minister stumbled over whether or not to call elections; ...Read more

  • Biographer Neil Simpson on the highs – and lows – of an American radio tour

    31 May 2008

    Would I consider a radio tour across America to promote one of my books? Would I ever. I’d practically packed my suitcase before my new US publisher got off the phone. But then the penny dropped. No-one needs to give you a plane ticket for a radio tour. All they want is your landline number. You go coast to coast from your kitchen table without an air mile in sight. Still. A national radio tour. It would be my first and I was so sure it would be fun that I forgot to ask the one vital question: What exactly would I have to do? ‘OK, you gotta know we’re totally uncensored....Read more

  • Should Your Literary Agent Make You Cry?

    01 May 2008

    Together with her husband Bill Martin, Beverly Swerling Martin, runs Agent Research & Evaluation, Inc. (www.agentresearch.com) a service that helps writers locate the agents most likely to be a good 'fit' She explains the importance of taking time to research the right agent. Her next book, City of God will be out in November from Simon & Schuster. Some years ago I was with my second agent. Unlike the first, he had sold four of my historical novels, but every time we spoke I wound up fighting off tears of anger and frustration. He just did not seem to understand who I was as a ...Read more