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.

  • Further ghostly aspirations

    15 Nov 2014

    In a sequel to the website article ‘Ghostly Aspirations’, published last November, eight of the agency’s ghosts explain the sort of books they would like to work on. Mandy Appleyard Powerful storytelling is so often about struggle and triumph: about ordinary people forced into extraordinary circumstances. As an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist of 30 years’ standing, I have learned a thing or two about empathy, understanding, and drawing the very best from someone who has decided to share their story – often unearthing surprising details and new angles along the wa...Read more

  • The Commissioning Process

    03 Nov 2014

    Trevor Dolby, the Publisher of the Penguin Random House imprint Preface, outlines the commissioning process. What’s on your bucket list? Seeing the Northern Lights? Swimming with dolphins? Skydiving? Getting a tattoo? Visiting the Great Barrier Reef? Doing a bungee jump? The chances are that in amongst your top five is writing a book. A click of a button and anyone can publish a book these days. Some become colossal international bestsellers, some are read just by the author’s family. Most remain on the laptop. Getting into print is not a modern ambition. Time was people wou...Read more

  • Writing a non-fiction book in five easy steps

    03 Nov 2014

    David Craig, the author of DON'T BUY IT! Tricks and Traps Salespeople Use and How to Beat Them, gives his non-fiction writing tips. His next book THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL will be published as a Kindle Single by Thistle later this month. Having spent most of my career selling and running management consultancy projects, I had no idea how one should go about writing a book. A further challenge I had was that I’m usually writing on a subject which interests me, but about which I know little to nothing prior to beginning a book. I have found that the most effective way for me to overcome...Read more

  • The Acquisitions Process

    01 Nov 2014

    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...Read more

  • The Writing Life

    31 Oct 2014

    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 ...Read more

  • How I Write

    22 Oct 2014

    Twenty-five 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 ...Read more