Submitting to an agent

What do I need to include in my submission to an agent?
Your submission should follow the guidelines provided by the agency on their website. If there are no guidelines, you may wish to contact the agency (either by phone or email, whichever contact is indicated in their listing on this website) and ask for them.

When you send work to an agency, you must let the agency know which other publishers or agents have seen any versions of the work.  If a publisher has already read the work and rejected it, it will be very hard to convince them to read it a second time. It is generally wiser to get an agent before you try a publisher, rather than the other way around. However, if you already have an offer from a publisher you may still wish to approach an agent to negotiate the deal and contract for you.

Do I need to format my submission in a particular way?
Here are some tips about sending in your submission:

  1. Your work should not be handwritten or produced on a typewriter – it should be composed using a word processing programme.
  2. Keep it simple: use a simple form of layout and a standard font. Do not use fancy fonts, and do not use fancy or display fonts for headings or sub-headings. It is not necessary to use specific fonts and margins unless the agency’s guidelines ask for this.
  3. Do not include graphic images unless they are vital to the basic meaning of the work.
  4. Pages should be numbered.
  5. If you are asked to post a full manuscript, please don’t bind it.
  6. Generally, do not send CDs or DVDs unless asked to do so.

If I’m sending a submission by post, should I send a stamped self-addressed envelope?
If posting a submission, make sure that every item you send is clearly labelled with your name and address and include a stamped self-addressed envelope if requested or if you wish to have the material returned.

If you are posting a full manuscript and wish to have it returned, please enclose a self-addressed envelope for return of the material, large enough to enclose the material, with sufficient postage. If an agent receives a submission without return postage, usually it will not be returned.

NB: Do not send mail that needs to be signed for, like registered mail or person-to-person mail.

Can I just drop into the agency with my submission?
It is not advisable to deliver your submission to an agent by hand – the agent is not going to be able to meet with you.

Can I call the agency to check that my submission arrived?
Please do not call the agency to check that your submission has arrived – if all authors did this, agencies would receive a lot of phone calls. If you have not received a response from the agency within the time indicated in their submission guidelines or within eight weeks (whichever is sooner), send an email to enquire.

I’d like to send a submission by email – can I do this?
Yes, if the agent or agency indicates that they are accepting electronic submissions. If they do not expressly say this, don’t assume that they do.

NB: If the agent or agency to whom you are submitting asks for electronic submissions only, do not send submissions by post.