How does a literary agency sell its authors? Bestselling agent Andrew Lownie says there are three elements to selling books to publishers: 1) an agency needs to have saleable books in the first place; 2) the proposals need to be the best they can be; and 3) one needs to know the right editors to approach and not give up too easily.
Browsing: Ask an Agent
What can you do to maximise your chances of having your submission read and being taken on by a literary agent? We asked bestselling agent Andrew Lownie of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency to share his top 7 tips.
One of the most common questions I’m asked is: “How do I get an agent?” Let me shatter an almost universally held belief straight away: not all writers find their agents via the slush pile. Many take another route altogether. If I could present you with a pie chart of ‘ways to find an agent’, the slush pile would be a small sliver of that cake.
How to write a book proposal and what exactly it needs to include are two of the questions I am asked most frequently as a literary agent – and not just by new writers. Even seasoned authors and experienced journalists may not have written a book proposal previously. In any book submission process the competition will be immense and the turndown rate high, so it is worth taking the time to get a proposal right. But what does that mean?
What do agents really want? A unique voice, storytelling ability, likeable characters and believable dialogue, says Danuta Kean.
Yesterday I taught my first Guardian Masterclass of the year on how to pitch your book. A question students always ask is: what exactly do agents want? It is easier to answer than you might think. Of course everyone in publishing would say ‘voice’, by which they mean the character and personality of the writing. Agents want a voice that is unique, fresh and engaging. If you remain unclear what that means, the best way to understand is to read, read and read contemporary books.