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.

  • In Defence of Misery Memoirs

    25 Nov 2007

    Foster carer Cathy Glass, whose misery memoir Damaged was a no 1 in hardback and paperback and whose second memoir Hidden has just been published, responds to critics of ‘mis mems’ showing how they highlight terrible stories and can galvanise a public response. Drunken mothers, bestial fathers, paedophilia and incest. They're the titillating popcorn of publishing today. So began an article in the Daily Mail (9/10/07) by Danuta Kean; titled The Pornography of Misery Memoir. It was a furious attack on inspirational memoirs and I read it on the same day that The Bookseller had a...Read more

  • The Long Hard Sell

    05 Nov 2007

    Christian Wolmar, author of eight books including most recently Fire & Steam and The Subterranean Railway, gives his tips on how to promote your book. Having written several books that did not receive as much media coverage as I thought – probably mistakenly - they ought to, I have become a dab hand at self-publicity. Boosting your book is not a task for shrinking violets. Even the best publishers can do just so much and you have to use every opportunity and tool available to squeeze out the maximum mileage. Most importantly, you have to take up every offer to speak at an event...Read more

  • Getting Yourself Properly Published in Canada

    02 Nov 2007

    John Pearce is a literary agent with Westwood Creative Artists in Toronto, and acts for the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in the separate sale of Canadian rights. He argues that separating Canadian rights for the appropriate book can be greatly beneficial for an author. At a guess, 200,000 new books flood into Canada from British and American publishers every year. The log-jam is enormous, whether your book is with a Canadian distributor you’ve never heard of; or whether you’re with a multinational company in Canada (such as Random House, Penguin or HarperCollins) or a Canadia...Read more

  • Boom or Bust? The Big Advances

    05 Oct 2007

    Sheelagh Cullinan, a graduate of the MA Publishing class 2006/07 at The London College of Communication and who now works in Children's Marketing and Publicity at Simon and Schuster, looks at author advances. When I first set out to look at the current trend of excessive author advances for my MA Publishing dissertation at the London College of Communication, I like many others assumed celebrity autobiographies were on the way out and excessive author advances along with them. However after six months reading, interviewing and analysing, the outcome was very different. The excessive autho...Read more

  • Lazarus in Dark Glasses

    16 Sep 2007

    Paul Willetts, the author of the standard life of the writer Julian Maclaren-Ross and who has edited several collections of Maclaren-Ross's stories, letters and writings, reflects on how he became interested in his subject and has built up the writer's profile. It’s more than twenty-five years since I became interested in the chaotic life and, at that time, obscure work of the Soho dandy Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-64). I was around seventeen when I first read some of his strikingly original, once popular short stories about his experiences during the Second World War, stories ...Read more

  • Living the Writer's Dream

    21 Aug 2007

    Cathy Glass’s first book Damaged was a no 1 bestseller in hardback and has gone straight in at no 1 on its paperback publication. Her next fostering memoir Hidden is published in November. Further details at I have been a writer for 30 years – articles, short stories, poems, the odd radio play, and writing competitions. Like many writers it was a hobby, something I did almost furtively in my spare time, while employed in my ‘bread and butter’ work, and looking after my family; all the while waiting to be discovered. The big one, the novel I se...Read more