Thursday, 24 October 2013
All About Agents


By Betty Bownath

"In a world awash in information of dubious provenance, whom can you trust to tell your truth?"

Close to thirty women and one lovely gentleman met Thursday night for an evening with Kelly Falconer, literary agent and founder of the Asia Literary Agency. The evening kicked off with some pleasant meeting and greeting of 'old' and new members before Kelly's enlightening talk about the role of literary agents on a writer's journey to publication.

After an introduction into a career dotted with successes, Kelly explained exactly what literary agents do upon receiving submissions.

Writers should rest assured that as the first filter for publishers, and with an awareness of market expectations, literary agents work for the success of their writers. This journey begins with reviewing a submission, preparing a pitch for editors in the USA, London and locally as well as regular follow up with editors. Once an offer from a publisher is received, the contract is scrutinized and negotiated by the literary agent on behalf of the writer.

Points of note for writers looking to publish:

  • Literary agents deal with a large number of authors and may not always respond immediately (reading submissions is time consuming)
  • Submissions should be approximately 30-50 pages, it doesn't take long to tell if the writing is good
  • Once a potential manuscript is recognised, a literary agent will pursue publication with top publishers
  • Not every submission is a 'gem' and may be returned with advice to rework
  • A writer's known provenance does create an easier road to publishing
  • Any form of publishing is worthwhile. Never turn your nose up to an offer
  • A non-fiction work can be sold on a partial submission

When asked, Kelly admitted that what she wants more than anything is for her writers to get decent contracts with recognised publishers, after all her success is dependent on theirs. However, when pressed further, she also wishes for a promising crime novel.