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 UK Non-Fiction Editors Want 2014

    10 Jan 2014

    In the agency’s annual feature, forty-three editors outline the sort of books they are hoping to commission this year. Hugh Andrew, Managing Director, Birlinn It would be too obvious to say that the next few years will just be about ‘war’ books but nevertheless there are many areas that relate to the war where good books are needed. Next year we will be publishing on war art as it relates to Scotland and this seems to me to intersect neatly with producing beautiful gift books. This Xmas was a very good one for us with regard to good quality non-fiction and I would like to see o...Read more

  • Ghostly Aspirations

    30 Nov 2013

    Fifteen of the agency’s ghost writers say who they would like to ghost. Lynne Barrett-Lee To London, to a ghost party, hosted by the legendary Andrew Lownie and, as might be expected when in a room full of ghost writers, talk naturally turns to our dream dates. Dates as in ghost writing gigs, obviously. As in people we harbour secret yearnings to interrogate (teasing ‘stuff’ out, to use the professional terminology) the better to climb in and inhabit them for a while. And there’s no contest for my personal number 1 slot: Andy Murray. And though you might think my choice is les...Read more

  • A guide to obtaining an American ITIN from the US IRS

    28 Nov 2013

    Christian Jennings, whose Bosnia's Million Bones has just been published, explains how to obtain exemption from US withholding tax. Everybody knows that they make films about Italian postmen. Il Postino, the love story set on the Italian islands of Procida and Salina, is proof of this. But I’m not sure they have yet set a film inside an Italian post-office. I reflected on this in Turin this year, one afternoon of burning summer heat, as I sat waiting to dispatch to the United States a heavy sheaf of paperwork directed to their Inland Revenue Service. The post office in Italy can be a...Read more

  • How Do I Get My Memoir Published?

    25 Nov 2013

    How Do I Get My Memoir Published? A comprehensive guide to working with a ghost writer Ghost writer Katy Weitz explains the role of a ghost and the process through to publication of a ghost written book You’ve got a fascinating life story to share with the world. The big question is: how does it get from your head to the page? As a ghostwriter I’ve been fortunate enough to help a number of people turn their life stories into books and I know that for most of them, entering the publishing world was a strange and scary step to take. But it needn’t be. The fact is that with the ri...Read more

  • Lessons from the Slush Pile

    19 Nov 2013

    Rosamund Murdoch reflects on reading the agency's slush pile. As the abundance of manuscripts and book proposals came whizzing through my metaphorical letter box (inbox), a surge of excitement overcame me. Being a lover of books and reading, the prospect of acting as a literary agent (of sorts) for a fortnight was an enticing one; and I couldn’t wait to get started. Pen poised and glasses on, I began. Having never done something like this before, I didn’t know what to expect.  But one thing I did know was that to sift through a selection of proposals from the slush pile, c...Read more

  • The importance of serial

    08 Nov 2013

    Doug Wight, former News of the World Books Editor and now a freelance books consultant, looks at the importance of serial rights. In the five years I was a serial buyer for a national newspaper I was able to witness first hand the impact a good serialisation could have on book sales. Strong, positive coverage in a newspaper can do wonders for a book. Retailers can massively increase their stock orders ahead of publication and, on the occasions when we ran post-publication extracts, we could watch as the title shot up the Amazon charts. It was often said that a reader needed thre...Read more