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.

  • What Life as an Editor Entails, Series One

    03 Mar 2006

    Ian Drury, Publishing Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, describes what life as an editor entails One of my authors made indecent sums of money in the City before returning to his real interest, history. He asked me to explain the economics and business conventions that govern publishing, and stared open-mouthed as he learned what a deeply anachronistic trade this remains. However, from most authors’ perspective, the process of ‘consolidation’ within publishing groups (big predators snapping up smaller ones) is not especially relevant. A more immediate source of puz...Read more

  • What Life as an Editor Entails, Series Two

    03 Mar 2006

    Continuing the series on the role of an editor, Simon Winder, Publishing Director of Penguin Press and author of the forthcoming THE MAN WHO SAVED BRITAIN (UK: Picador/US: FSG), explains his editorial responsibilities. Editors oddly do very little editing at their desks - editing has to be done on the Tube or at home or generally between times. In the office editors are responsible for a huge range of tasks and every day throws up some new combination. We are responsible for working with colleagues to decide on new projects to buy, negotiating advances with agents, working with authors dur...Read more

  • Using British and Irish Online Family History Records in Your Research

    02 Mar 2006

    Alan Stewart, author of the forthcoming Online Routes to your Roots, highlights some of the websites which might help with historical research. The increasing popularity of family history has had a beneficial side-effect for biographers and historians. Public bodies like The National Archives (TNA), commercial companies such as Ancestry.co.uk, and enthusiastic amateurs have been creating websites large and small to provide access to digitised or transcribed wills, census returns, parish records and other genealogical information. Access to these sites can be free-of-charge, subscription-...Read more

  • How I Heard about the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency

    02 Feb 2006

    Authors come to the Agency for a variety of reasons - recommendation by another author, agent, editor, the Society of Authors, from the website or publishing guides or websites, from reading the acknowledgements page of comparable books, from articles in the press or simply, for one author, because I'm based near Victoria Station. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask some of my authors how they came to choose me and their explanations, many of them hitherto unknown to me, follow. Some authors go back some way - Anthony Bruce and Timothy Good were first sold by me in 1986, ...Read more

  • New Year Message

    01 Jan 2006

    Andrew Lownie reflects over the past year and the changing times in the literary business. There is no denying that it is becoming harder to be published by a mainstream publisher. First-time authors can find it difficult to secure a agent and a publishing deal whilst many publishers are not re-commissioning authors whose previous books have not met expectations. There is some ageism and a preference for authors who are promotable - young, famous, attractive or preferably all three. It is also increasingly difficult in non-fiction to find commercial subjects which have not already been rec...Read more

  • A Week in the Life of Literary Agency

    01 Jan 2006

    I am often asked what the work of a literary agent involves. Every agency and every week is different but here is a snapshot of one recent week. The e-mail record does not include the junk mail received nor does it include all the phone calls or the correspondence – much of which has to remain confidential. Given I work alone and the time also involved in reading scripts and meetings, I hope it will explain why rejection of unsolicited material has to be brief and give some insight into the work of one particular agency. MONDAY E mails received 124 E mails sent 69 9.0 Even thou...Read more