FIRST: You must let us know if any agents or publishers have seen any versions of the work. We cannot ask a publisher to look at your work if they have already read it and rejected it. With publishers, you only get one chance to impress them, so get an agent before you approach any publishers, not afterwards, when it may be too late. REPEAT: if you have approached any other agents, or any publishers, you must tell us NOW.
What does Australian Literary Management do?
1) We actively seek out publishers for the work of writers we represent: book and magazine publishers, film, theatre, radio and television producers, and others.
2) We supervise the contract relationships between authors and publishers. We make sure our authors get a fair and profitable deal from publishers’ advances and sales royalties.
3) We carefully negotiate overseas rights, translation rights, film rights and opportunities, residual rights, and many other detailed contract matters.
4) We advise publishers how to best promote our authors’ work.
5) We act as a clearing house for publisher payments to authors, checking the promptness and accuracy of payments and passing them on authors after deducting our agency commission (usually a percentage of the authors’ earnings) and any reasonable expenses we might have incurred such as postage and photocopying. We do not charge a fee to join our agency, and we do not charge any other fees.
I’m a writer. How do I bring my work to the attention of your agency?
1) Make sure that we are the only agents who are currently considering your work. Our time is precious, and we do not wish to spend hours reading your submission, only to find that some other agent has just accepted it. To repeat: if some other agent is currently considering your work, you must NOT send it to us.
2) If you have already sent your manuscript to the major publishers in Australia, and they have all said no, please don’t send it to us as a last resort. Publishers generally refuse to read a manuscript twice, so we would have no chance of interesting them in your book if they have read it once and said no.
Hint: find an agent first, not last.
3) To save your time, we do not consider scripts of any kind, or children’s books by unpublished authors, and we do not consider work that has been self-published as either a paper book or an e-book. Please read this again, as some people do misunderstand it: it only applies to writers of scripts, and to writers of children’s books, and to self-published authors, not to general authors who have not had a particular manuscript published.
4) Phone us on (612+) 9818 8557 or send us a plain enquiry email (see the Contact us page) to check that we wish to see your work. Some kinds of writing are not of interest to us: children’s books by previously unpublished authors, screenplays, plays, poetry or individual short stories, for example. And remember, you must let us know if any agents or publishers have seen any versions of the work. We cannot ask a publisher to look at your work if they have already read it and rejected it. With publishers, you only get one chance to impress them, so get an agent before you approach any publishers, not afterwards, when it may be too late. REPEAT: if you have approached any other agents, or any publishers, you must tell us NOW.
5) If we ask to see a sample of your writing, send a copy via email of a one-to-two-page synopsis of your book, together with copies of some pages from two sample chapters (up to a maximum of fifty pages total), to our office. Do not send the whole work. Please go to our Send us Your Work page, and follow the instructions.
You may send by the slower and more expensive method of postal mail. Our postal mail address is
Australian Literary Management
2-A Booth Street
Balmain NSW 2041
Please note: if at all possible, please format your work as Rich Text Format (any word processor can “Save As” RTF). If you wish to send by postal mail, send copies, not the originals. Always keep the originals in a safe place. We cannot be responsible for loss of material.
Here are some further points to note:
We will consider your synopsis and sample chapters and decide whether we wish to look at the full manuscript. This will take from four to six weeks. Please be patient — we get over a thousand submissions a year, and our staff are generally busy with other matters.
Do you charge a fee to look at a manuscript?
Do I have to pay a fee to join your agency?
There is no fee to join our agency.
What fees do you charge, then, to represent an author?
Like other agents, we charge an agency commission on our writers’ earnings. The usual commission is fifteen per cent. This applies for the life of any contract which we negotiate, not the life of the author!
Does this mean that if I join your agency, then later wish to leave, I can do so?
Of course — all our authors are free to leave the agency at any time. Keep in mind, though, that our agency commission applies for the life of any contract which we negotiate. This means in most cases that as long as a book is in print for which we have negotiated the publishing contract, we continue to earn our agency commission on the author’s royalties for the sales of that book.
If I send say a hundred pages for you to consider, will you read them all?
We may look at a few pages, or we may read the whole thing. We assess manuscripts for our own purposes, and we have to be economical with our time.
I think I need some guidance to help me improve my work. Will ALM read my manuscript and provide this kind of advice?
No, we don’t comment on your work, or provide that kind of service. That’s not our business. But we do have a list of freelance professional writers and editors we can call on to provide manuscript assessment services for you. They will read your work carefully and provide a detailed and unbiassed written report on its strengths and weaknesses, with advice as to how to better shape your work and therefore improve your chances of finding a publisher. The charge, for an average novel, is about $300. This service has no connection with ALM’s agency work, and a positive report does not oblige ALM to consider your work. There are many small businesses that offer similar manuscript assessment services, for approximately the same fee. They can usually be contacted through your local writers’ centre. As a general service to all writers, we provide a detailed list of such services on the website of the Australian Literary Agents’ association, here:
E-mail is easier and cheaper than postal mail. May I submit my work via e-mail?
Of course. See this item above.
What about other literary agents?
There are over a dozen literary agents in Australia… [»»] here is the Internet site for the Australian Literary Agents’ Association, with members’ contact details, their code of practice, tips on how to find an agent, and dozens of useful literary contacts.
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Lyn Tranter, the proprietor of Australian Literary Management, spent her childhood in Australian country towns. After working in England and hitch-hiking through Europe and across Asia, she married the poet John Tranter in 1968, and has been actively involved in the Australian writing community throughout her adult life. She wrote a popular literary gossip column for the Australian under the nom de plume Elizabeth Swanson for many years, and worked for a decade as a literary publicist. In 1986 and again in 1987 she organised and accompanied reading tours by groups of Australian writers through some twenty venues across the USA.
Australian Literary Management was established by Caroline Lurie in 1980. Lyn joined the agency in 1990, and in 1993 became the sole owner. She has travelled widely overseas, building the agency’s reputation and establishing strong links with writers, publishers and other literary agencies.
Australian Literary Management
2-A Booth Street
Balmain NSW 2041
Tel Sydney 9818 8557
Interstate add (02+)
International add (612+)
URL of this page:
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