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.

  • How the Lord of Darkness gave PR advice to Electrolux

    21 Jul 2006

    Author and journalist, Jimmy Lee Shreeve (aka Doktor Snake), dispenses "diabolic" publicity tips to the corporate world. A month or two back, I was at my desk writing a science feature for The Independent, when the phone rang. It was the PR department at Electrolux, who I'd had dealings with earlier in the year when doing a piece on hi-tech, household gadgets. This time they weren't looking to pitch a story around one of their products. They wanted my advice on publicity. It turned out that the white-goods manufacturer had moved into the book publishing business, as a new and nov...Read more

  • The High Cost of Living a Twisted Ideology

    10 Jun 2006

    Damien Lewis, author of the recently published Bloody Heroes and top ten bestseller Operation Certain Death, explains how he goes about writig his books. As I came in from a hard morning writing my wife glanced up from the lunch table, shock and concern written across her face. ‘You look terrible,’ she said. I appeared exhausted and grey, she told me, like every last drop of life force had been drained from me. Coming to think of it, that was pretty much how I was feeling. I’d spent the last three months trying to get into the hearts and minds of the Al Qaeda and Tali...Read more

  • The Practical Guide to Submitting Your Material

    29 May 2006

    Helen Corner, founder of the Cornerstones literary consultancy, gives some guidance on presenting material to literary agents. As a writer, you have to be multi-talented: be original and creative when you’re writing, objective and cut-throat when you’re redrafting, and then informed and professional when you’re submitting. And throughout this process - which can take years - if you really can write, and you believe your work should be published, then you have to remain optimistic and not fall at the first hurdle. My job is to help authors through the redrafting and submit...Read more

  • Some Tips for Writing Effective Book Proposals

    25 May 2006

    David Haviland, writer and script doctor, gives advice on preparing a non-fiction submission. Writing an effective proposal is arguably the most important stage of planning and producing your book. This document alone will determine whether or not your book will be published, the size of your advance, and how publishers will position and market your book. Even if you have a history of successful books, or have already completed a high quality first draft, the proposal is still of paramount importance, as it is usually the only thing publishers will read before making their offer. With thi...Read more

  • Some Background to David Roberts' 1930s Detective Series

    26 Apr 2006

    David Roberts gives some background to his 1930s detective series featuring Edward Corinth and Verity Brown and, in particular, the latest one. In October 2006 Constable and Robinson publish The Quality of Mercy, the seventh in my series of detective stories set in the 1930s. When I began writing Sweet Poison, the first in the series set in 1935, back in 1999 I imagined it would be light-hearted if not unashamedly humorous in tone but as the years went by – the fictional years and the real years! – I find the mood has darkened. The Quality of Mercy is set in 1938 and begins wi...Read more

  • A Brief History of Meetings

    21 Apr 2006

    Paul Sidey is Editorial Director of Hutchinson. Before that he worked at Penguin. He has published a range of authors - from Borges, John Mortimer and Francois Truffaut to Ruth Rendell, Simon Raven and Antony Sher. He is also the author of two slim volumes of children's verse - THE DINOSAUR DINER and MY BROTHER IS AN ALIEN. In the mid 70s at Penguin, we didn't go in much for meetings. Or for bits of paper which set out potential profit and loss. You liked a particular book or a particular author, thought of a number, talked to your Publishing Director, and told Sales and Marketing about th...Read more