A literary agent sells a client’s written work to book, audiobook and ebook publishers. We would usually also handle the sale of film and foreign rights in that work, often with the help of co-agents, and keep a close eye on the possibilities for any other commercial exploitation of the work.
In practice, it is difficult for a new writer to get published without an agent, as most mainstream publishers will not consider unsolicited submissions.
Please read our Philosophy page to get a sense of how we aim to work with our clients.
No. We also represent clients for television and radio presenting, and for public appearances, as well as offering consultancy services to production companies.
We handle all genres of fiction and general (i.e. not academic) non-fiction, including children’s books. Although each of the agents here has different tastes (see the People page), there are no hard and fast rules about the kinds of projects we are looking for. Our main consideration is the quality of the writing.
We do not represent poetry or scripts for stage, radio, television or film.
The market for short stories from new writers is also difficult, and so it is rare for us to take on an author on the basis of short stories alone.
Please see the GUIDELINES page.
If you wish to approach us about representation as a speaker or presenter, please contact Antony Topping or email a copy of your CV to email@example.com.
We usually only represent clients who are based within the UK; local representation makes more sense for both the client and the agent. But we occasionally make exceptions to this rule.
Your covering letter should briefly describe the work you are sending us, and also give us a bit of relevant background about you. We receive a vast number of submissions, so the covering letter is a great opportunity for you to get our attention and tell us why your work will appeal to publishers.
No more than a page or two. Your synopsis should summarise the plot in a fairly straightforward way, and does not need to read like a “pitch”. We will be using it to give us a feel for the shape and pace of the novel as a whole.
Submissions are usually read by one of the agents.
No, and we wouldn’t recommend approaching any agency that does.
Please allow 4-6 weeks for a response. It does sometimes take us longer than that if we have received a particularly large volume of material, or if several agents are considering your project. If you want to check that your material has arrived safely, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to be able to give editorial support to individual writers, but unfortunately it is just not practical. We receive around six thousand manuscripts a year, and so we are only able to give advice to authors we decide to represent. Please see the RESOURCES page for suggestions about where you can get feedback.
It is unusual for a publisher to commission a work of fiction on the basis of only a few chapters, and so it is unusual for us to take on an author without having read their finished novel. If we are enthusiastic about your sample chapters, we will want to see the whole novel as soon as possible.
Non-fiction projects are considered with a complete proposal.
Unfortunately not. We judge submissions on the quality of the writing rather than an author’s “pitch”. If we read your work and are interested in representing you, then we would certainly want to arrange a meeting.
Yes, although please mention it in your letter.
If you are not sure which agents to approach, it might be worth examining the acknowledgements pages of books that you feel are similar to yours. Authors often credit their agents.
Ultimately you want to find an agent who loves your project, who gives you useful feedback and who shares your aims for your career.
We work with all major UK publishers, and with publishers around the world either directly or via our co-agents (see INTERNATIONAL BOOK RIGHTS).
The agency receives 15% commission on sales of our clients’ book projects to publishers in the UK, and on fees for presenting or public appearances. On sales abroad via co-agents, and on the sale of film or TV rights, our rate is 20%.
If no Stamped Addressed Envelope is included with a submission, we will recycle the manuscript – unless the writer requests in their letter that we destroy it.
We are happy to consider full-length, self-published projects.
If you have any specific questions, please give us a call (0208 749 0315) or email us at email@example.com
If you`d like to request permission to reproduce extracts from books written by any of our authors, please go to permissions
If you would like to send in your work to be read by Greene & Heaton, please go to submissions