We take submissions very seriously and this has resulted in some notable successes.
Indeed, we receive thousands of submissions a year and make a point of reading and replying to each one. Please read this page fully – including the FAQ and submission guidelines – before submitting, particularly if you are outside the UK. Please also note that we no longer receive submissions by post, and that any manuscripts sent via mail will be returned (if an SAE is included) or recycled.
NEW: BLUE PENCIL FIRST NOVEL AWARD
Is your manuscript adult fiction or crossover YA, with a strong voice, an original and unforgettable story that grips the reader, and an attention grabbing first paragraph? Enter the BPA First Novel Award – judged this year by our two fiction agents, Caroline Wood and Carrie Plitt, and one of our critically acclaimed, bestselling authors, Anna Hope – and win £1,000 and a manuscript review, as well as introductions to our agents.
The deadline is May 31st, and there are up to ten free entries to UK-based writers with low incomes – check the website for more details.
Good luck! Now, back to Felicity Bryan Associates!
Please read the following carefully:
WHAT OUR AGENCY DOESN’T CURRENTLY ACCEPT
- science-fiction/fantasy (adult or YA)
- dystopia or satire,
- romance or erotica,
- religion or philosophy (fiction or non),
- scripts or poetry,
- picture books or graphic novels,
- books with animals as the main protagonists,
- anything aimed at children under the age of 8,
- pamphlets or articles.
WHAT OUR AGENCY IS LOOKING FOR
- exciting, original ‘bookclub’ and literary debut fiction
- contemporary, realistic middle-grade fiction (i.e. 8-12) with a memorable and highly distinctive voice
- accessible, upmarket non-fiction, written by an author with clear and demonstrable expertise (in practice, this means many years of professional work or PhD level study within the topic)
LATEST: view this Twitter thread to see what our agents are looking for right this second – and of course follow for the latest news.
F. A. Q.
Why is Felicity Bryan Associates the best literary agency for me?
FBA is an award-winning literary agency based in Oxford – our setting means we are close enough to visit London several times a week, but far enough away to retain a degree of independence we remain intensely proud of. Our compact, accomplished and dedicated team means we delight in providing a tailored and individual service to each of our authors, and we also love to invest our time and shared expertise in finding and nurturing new talent, in working closely with them to develop their careers over the long term, and assisting them in achieving their literary goals, whatever they may be.
Our client list includes award-winning and bestselling authors in adult fiction – contemporary and historical, literary and commercial – and children’s fiction, plus non-fiction, both popular and academic. A selection of our recent prize-winning and critically-acclaimed books includes The Silk Roads (Peter Frankopan), Murmur (Will Eaves), Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race (Reni Eddo-Lodge), Middle England (Jonathan Coe), and Expectation (Anna Hope), and the most recent Costa Book Award shortlists contained three FBA titles, including the eventual Best Novel winner. We have had huge successes selling both British and international rights for our clients, and work with a network of carefully chosen co-agents in foreign markets, and in the increasingly important film and TV sectors. In the past few years, our agents have won the Literary Agent of the Year and Bookseller Rising Star awards, amongst other accolades.
Do you take on clients from outside the UK and Ireland?
In theory, the answer to this question is yes. In practice, however, we require an excellent reason as to why you’re querying a UK agent rather than one in your home country (and ask you to include this reason in your email). In 99% of cases, your career will be better served by obtaining an agent in your own geographical location, even if your book is set in the UK or deals with themes you think reflect a British mindset.
Why do you not accept _____?
Literature, like many things, is a personal business. There are so many potential manuscripts and so little time that agents can only take on projects they feel genuinely passionate about, and that align with their own tastes. From your point of view, your book wants a champion, someone who truly believes in it and enjoys it, firstly, as a reader—rest assured, there are plenty of agents out there who enjoy near-future dystopian satire, or whatever your book happens to be, and not us accepting a certain kind of novel is in no way a reflection on the quality of that genre.
Is my manuscript ready?
A tough question! Wordcount-wise, we can cite some useful figures. For example, in adult fiction, anything under 60,000 is veering too far into novella territory, while anything over 110,000 can be a tough sell. Often, a high wordcount means that your book has not gone through enough editing. In children’s, Middle Grade (9-12) stories tend to be about 30-60,000 — if your book is considerably shorter than this, it’s probably aimed at children younger than eight, in which case it’s something our agency isn’t looking for.
Ultimately, our number one piece of general advice is to make sure your novel is absolutely, one-hundred percent, as good as it can possibly be. Most agents will not look at something they have previously rejected, and so in the majority of cases, this is your book’s one and only shot with a particular agency. We understand the elation that comes with finishing your novel, but as most successful authors will tell you, completing the first draft means you are about halfway done. Editing, and rewriting (and re-editing, and re-rewriting) is just as much a part of the process as the initial dash to the finish line.
As a corollary to this, a word on how the publishing industry works, speed-wise, may be useful. In general, assuming everything goes to plan, you can expect a time period of around 18 months to 2 years from your submission being accepted to your book being first published. This means that submitting something quickly due to current events/market trends, or because of an anniversary coming up later in the year, is not really helpful to you. For centenaries, etc, publishers will often begin assembling their titles years in advance. Similarly, if a publisher feels they want to rush out a book on a current trend or crisis, they usually get in touch with experts or influencers themselves, rather than waiting for a book to arrive on their desk.
The submissions form will ask you for the following:
- Your name, email address and book title. If you think you want to write under a nom de plume, or use your initials/maiden name, don’t worry about it for now, there’ll be plenty of time for that later. Please double-check your email address – if you make a mistake we won’t be able to get in touch with you.
- A covering letter. This doesn’t have to be long, but it should outline your relevant CV (prize wins, creative writing courses) and talk about the book and how you came to write it – we find good covering letters . You can identify a particular agent you feel would be a good fit for you here (though please remember that Felicity herself is not looking for unsolicited submissions) but this isn’t necessary – our submissions department will always forward your work to the agent(s) best suited to it. There is no need to tell us who you think your novel will appeal to (women over 35 with red hair, anyone with a dog, etc), or inform us how suitable it will be for a Netflix adaptation, but if you’re writing non-fiction, the covering letter should explain why you are the best possible person to write the book (this usually involves studying, teaching, and/or many years of experience within the proposed subject). There is no need to include your phone number.
Then, for fiction:
- A synopsis. We know that many writers dread these, but they can be invaluable, particularly if your novel is very plot-based. Rest assured, however, that no manuscript full of brilliant writing, memorable characters, and incisive explorations of what it means to be human ever got rejected because the synopsis wasn’t up to scratch.
- The first 3 or 4 chapters. Essentially, we’re looking for a decent sample of your writing, so feel free to use your common sense here. If your chapters are very short (or do not exist at all) perhaps the first 50 pages would be more sensible. Equally, if your chapters are huge, just one or two will do. Either way, ensure it’s double or 1.5 spaced and in a (preferably serif) font like Times New Roman or similar (not Courier). Please do not include your own designs for the front cover.
Or for non-fiction:
- An outline/proposal. This will clearly set out, in 3-30 pages, why the book is both important and original, what particular research (or experience) you are basing it on, how it compares with other books on the same subject, and finally precisely what you would cover in it (perhaps in a chapter-by-chapter summary, although this level of detail is not strictly necessary).
- A sample chapter (or two). We understand that the book may not yet be fully written, but a sample of your writing is extremely useful in making a decision. Sample chapters usually come from the beginning of the book (and may include the introduction) but do not have to – if you feel chapter 9 is a blockbuster, send it over.
That’s it. Best of luck! We love finding new talent.
N.B. Although we read every single manuscript and endeavour to reply personally to them all, due to the huge volume of submissions we receive each day, sometimes a response may slip through the net. If you haven’t received a reply within six to eight weeks, you may safely assume that it’s a pass.Submit your work