SUBMISSIONS

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 before submitting, particularly if you are outside the UK or have found us from the Writers & Artists Yearbook.

Please also note that we no longer receive submissions by post, and that any manuscripts sent via mail will be recycled.

WHAT OUR AGENCY DOESN’T CURRENTLY ACCEPT

  • science-fiction/horror/fantasy (adult or children)
  • dystopia, near-future, alternate reality
  • satire,
  • comic novels,
  • romance or erotica,
  • self-help,
  • religion or philosophy (fiction or non),
  • autobiographies from non-professionals,
  • scripts or poetry,
  • translated works,
  • picture books or graphic novels,
  • books with animals as the main protagonists,
  • anything aimed at children under the age of 9,
  • pamphlets or articles.

WHAT OUR AGENCY IS LOOKING FOR

  • 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)
  • exciting, original ‘bookclub’ and literary debut fiction, particularly from underrepresented writers

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. In the vast majority of cases, your writing will be better served by obtaining an agent in your own geographical location, even if you were born here, your book is set in the UK, or it deals with themes you think reflect a British mindset.

This applies particularly to large countries like the USA and India. Such countries, unlike many others, have numerous literary agencies of their own, and your career will benefit far more from submitting to agents who reside there, rather than those based in the UK.

Why don’t you 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.

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 2020 Costa Book Award shortlists contained three FBA titles, including the eventual Best Novel winner (FBA’s sixth Costa Prize overall). 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.

Is my manuscript ready?

Ultimately, our number one piece of advice is to make sure your novel is 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. Taking an extra month to polish your draft – even if you think you couldn’t possibly improve another word – is always a good thing.

As a corollary, 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 due to current events/market trends, or because of an anniversary coming up later in the year, is not really helpful.  For centenaries and the like, publishers will often begin assembling their titles many 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.

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 very tough sell. Often, a high wordcount can mean that your book has not gone through enough editing.

HINTS & TIPS

  • 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).
  • If you’re writing fiction, try to include recent ‘similar’ books, or a few of your favourite contemporary writers. If you can’t think of any recent books you’ve enjoyed, and all your favourite authors are dead, you may want to have a think about commerciality, and where your book would fit into the market.
  • Again, if you’re submitting a novel, we know that many writers fear the dreaded synopsis, but rest assured 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.
  • Of course you may address your covering letter to a particular agent, but our submissions department will automatically forward your manuscript to the agent most suited to it, so don’t worry too much – ‘Dear FBA’ or similar is fine.
  • If you think you want to write under a pseudonym, or use your initials/maiden name, don’t worry about it for now, there’ll be plenty of time for that later. There is also no need to tell us who you think your novel will appeal to (women over 35 with red hair, Brazilian expats, anyone with a dog, etc), or inform us how suitable it will be for a Netflix adaptation.
  • Do ensure your manuscript is in a readable font: Times New Roman, Palatino, Calibri or similar (not Courier) and please do not include your own illustrations/designs for the front cover.
  • Please do not submit more than one manuscript at a time. We will review only the first.
  • And finally, before you submit, go back and read once more the types of books we are not currently accepting and the advice on seeking a literary agency outside of your own country. Ignoring these points, or feeling that you are somehow an exception, will only waste your own extremely precious time.

Well, 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.

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