Aitken Alexander Associates
As an agency, we welcome voices of all backgrounds and also encourage submissions from writers who do not have an existing connection to the publishing industry. We have an extremely strong track record in discovering new talent and nothing makes us happier than doing so. In the past two years, work by Natasha Brown, Cherie Jones and Ailsa McFarlane were first discovered in our submissions inbox and successfully sold to publishers in the UK, the US and in translation.
However, please only submit work that you feel is ready and of publishable standard. We have included some guidelines and tips below in an effort to make the process easily accessible and transparent.
- Please submit work to the general submissions email: firstname.lastname@example.org, marking the subject line of your email for the attention of one of our literary agents. Our agents’ profiles can be found on our website, and we recommend reading them carefully before deciding who to approach with your manuscript. Please only submit to one agent. If you can’t decide, your submission will be reviewed in the usual way by the same readers and passed to whomever they feel most appropriate.
- For fiction (novels and short stories), please send the first three chapters or fifty pages together with a short synopsis of the book (ideally as Microsoft Word compatible attachments). Please only submit once you have a full manuscript ready; if an agent responds favourably to the first three chapters, they will want to read the rest of your book immediately.
- For narrative non-fiction, please send a short overview and up to 10,000 words of sample writing (ideally as Microsoft Word compatible attachments); for subject-led non-fiction, please send a proposal of approximately 5,000 words that outlines what your book is about and why you are best placed to write it (ideally as Microsoft Word compatible attachments).
- You should include a short cover letter with your submission, which includes a short description of your book, details of previous writing credits or qualifications, if applicable, and a brief biographical note explaining who you are. If, for example, your professional background feels relevant, please let us know.
- If you are submitting to other agencies simultaneously and/or already have interest from other agents, please tell us. Should you receive interest while the book is on submission to us, please keep us informed.
- Please ensure we know how to reach you if we want to read more of your work.
- We no longer accept postal submissions.
- If you have not heard from us within three months, unfortunately this means we will not be requesting more of your work. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, sadly it is only possible to correspond with writers whose work we wish to pursue.
- We are a boutique agency and do our very best to read as much as we can, with several experienced readers responsible for reading our submissions. We have a reputation for being extremely selective. Try not to feel downcast if we do not ask to read more of your work; it may simply mean that we are not the right agency for you. There are many agencies out there. We suggest you consult The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook for further guidance.
Further advice on writing:
If your work isn’t quite ready to submit to an agent, there are many creative writing courses all over the country, run by universities and by organisations like Arvon, Faber Academy or The Guardian. These courses are led by published writers, and though some are expensive, mentoring by an experienced writer can be invaluable. In fact, as an agency, we run a scholarship once every two years at Birkbeck to fund a part-time MA in Creative Writing, the details of which you can find here. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is also a useful guide if you are looking for editors or consultants to help you.