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.

  • Why I Write by Lynne Barrett-Lee

    31 Aug 2013

    Lynne Barrett-Lee, whose latest book Novel; Plan it. Write it. Sell it. has just been published, reflects on what makes her write. ‘Yes,’ or so the narrative goes. ‘Yes, yes, oh, yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES, YESSSSSSS!’ I'm not the first, obviously, to quote the actress Meg Ryan, and I’ve a hunch that neither will I be the last. And it may well be that, in doing so, I'm sliding slightly towards cliché, but I'm prepared to risk it, as I can think of no better way to put what I'm trying to say, which is ‘just say yes’. Ah. Perhaps those three words would do just as well. Aft...Read more

  • The Ghost in the (Historical) Machine

    31 Jul 2013

    Novelist and historian M.J. Trow explains how he help bring memoirs and history books alive when he is called in to ghost write them. The challenges of writing historical memoirs are legion; ghost writing even more so.As an historian I believe that everyone’s story is fascinating, but passing that sense of fascination onto publishers and readers whilst keeping the integrity of the ‘owner’ of the memory takes practice and skill and brings with it a number of major challenges. Challenge One: Finding a voice. I did not fight in the trenches of World War One or live through the ...Read more

  • The Future of Agenting

    13 Apr 2013

    Andrew Lownie gives his thoughts on the future of agenting. He will be discussing the issue at the London Book Fair on Tuesday. The publishing landscape is rapidly changing with the growing opportunities provided by digital publishing and the growth in social media and with online and supermarkets replacing book stores. The way publishers publish and what they publish is changing and we as agents will have to respond to that change to better protect the interests of our authors. I see the book market in the future being 5% major publishers/authors/agents, perhaps 20% middle r...Read more

  • Ghostly Reflections

    03 Mar 2013

    Sixteen of the agency’s ghost writers share their five tips on how they work with their subjects and what they believe is needed to ghost a successful book. Mary Alexander, ghostwriter of Call Me Elizabeth, by Dawn Annandale. 1. You must connect with the person you are ghosting. It’s even better if you like them. You’ve got to almost ‘be’ them for 80,000 plus words, and it’s much harder to do that if you don’t want to be there and don’t believe in their story. I have turned down ghosting opportunities with people I don’t ‘get&rsq...Read more

  • Some Tips on Approaching an Agent

    26 Jan 2013

    Andrew Lownie offers some advice on how best to present yourself to an agent. Authors are often angry, frustrated or shocked by the responses or lack of responses from agents and it might be useful to give some background and advice which might help with pitching to agents. Your book is special to you and may one day be to other people but at the moment it is just another submission. Authors need to remember that agents are inundated with submissions. Most have full lists already and need to concentrate on their existing clients. Of course we are looking for new talent but the chances...Read more

  • What UK Fiction Editors Want 2013

    12 Jan 2013

    Twenty-three of the UK's leading fiction editors describe the kinds of books they are looking to commission in 2013... Sarah Adams, Publishing Director, Transworld I publish fiction, mainly crime/thrillers, and I thrive on discovering new talent. My list ranges from ‘up and comers’ Belinda Bauer, S. J. Bolton & Wiley Cash, to brand names Mo Hayder and Tess Gerritsen. I am excited by genre-busting authors such as Kate Atkinson, Rosamund Lupton and S J Watson. Forgive the clichés, but I’m looking for compelling storytelling, quality writing and a killer concept that taps into our ...Read more