Category Archives: Literary Agents

Five ways to find a literary agent

Our regular guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing shares her tips for getting a literary agent

You’ve written your manuscript. It’s as good as it’s going to be. It’s time to get it out into the real world – and you need an agent.

Many mainstream publishers no longer read work that isn’t represented, which is where the literary agent comes in. Find yourself a good agent and they’ll use their experience to match your work with the best publishing house, and push to get the best deal for you.

If you’re new to the writing game, these are my five pointers Continue reading


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Top five tips for submitting your manuscript

From guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing

I’ve just received a very short, badly written book. I was about to write a scathing critique saying ‘don’t take on this project’ when I did my preliminary Google check, just to see if the author was in the public eye, or if there was anything else I needed to know. The vital bit of info proved to be […] Continue reading


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When is a friend not a friend?

From guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing

I get a number of submissions where the author, in their covering letter, mentions that they have put the manuscript out to a number of friends, all of whom loved it. They laughed, they cried, they think he/she should be published. This tells me nothing except that the author has kind friends. Continue reading


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Jargon buster: what’s an MSS?

I’ve just had another telephone enquiry, this time from a lady wanting to know what ‘MSS’ means. You’ll find that MSS and MS get a lot of mentions in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook – basically they stand for ‘manuscript’ (MS) and ‘manuscripts’ (MSS).  Continue reading

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Busy bee and the literary agent’s fee

It’s crazy busy at the office of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. I’m in the throes of trying to pull everything together and it turns out I have more loose ends than normal to tie up. So, it’ll be my nose to the grindstone for several weeks yet … tell you what helps me organise myself though: my love of writing lists.

I’ve always written lists, ever since I was a wee girl. I used to write lists of what I was going to do over the school holidays, lists of my favourite breeds of dogs and lists of the things I wanted for presents (I remember once a shed was my number one want … but I didn’t get one, nor a puppy, nor a three-storey Sindy house). Anyway, now in my 30-somethingth year, I write a list every evening for the next day’s work, I find them the best way to help me organise my thoughts and plans. Continue reading


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Think you’ve got what it takes to be a literary agent?

Guest blogger Cressida Downing is a professional reader for literary agents, publishers and literary scouts. She spends much of her time sifting through manuscripts to find those gems with publishing potential.

I’ve just spotted an interesting contest that is developing on a literary agent’s blog. Nathan Bransford, frustrated by ongoing criticism of agents, has challenged his readers to go through the 50 typical submissions he gets in one day, and see if they can spot the three that turned out to be commercially successful.  Continue reading


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