Submissions

Alex Adsett Literary represents an amazing group of talented authors. While we are a small agency, we punch above our weight and we are looking to grow. We have a focus on commercial and genre fiction, but have a growing list of award winning literary fiction and narrative non-fiction.

Submission Guidelines

Although we are always looking for amazing works, we are not accepting open submissions. We are a small agency, and we simply can’t handle the number of manuscripts we receive from an open submission policy.

You are welcome to submit if:

  1. You have been invited to submit pursuant to a formal or informal pitch to one of our agents.
    Keep an eye on our FindUs page for manuscript pitching opportunities, or social media as to events we might be attending.
  2. If someone we know and trust has personally recommended you to us.
  3. You are an author from an under-represented or diverse background – First Nations, authors of colour, authors from marginalised cultures, neuroatypical authors, authors with disability, or authors from varied socio-economic circumstances. Until mainstream publishing has addressed the imbalance with diversity, we will continue to offer a submission pathway to under-represented and diverse authors.
  4. If we see you regularly at conferences or events, you’re a friend, we have shouted about how much we love your books, and/or you are part of the publishing community.

AND, your manuscript meets the What We Are Looking For criteria below.

Submission portal

If you have been invited to submit by Alex, send through your manuscript via our submission portal 

Submissions

Pleases send submissions to Rochelle via rochelle[@]alexadsett.com.au.

Please ensure the manuscript is as polished as you can make it. The first draft is almost never going to be the best or final draft, so if you haven’t already, edit, edit, edit. In most cases, you will only have the one opportunity to make a good first impression with an agent or a publisher, make sure that opportunity counts.

What we are looking for

  • highly commercial adult fiction (in any genre),
  • literary fiction with a strong narrative,
  • exciting narrative non-fiction with a great hook,
  • crime & mystery,
  • romance (above 70,000 words), especially with a dash of mystery or SF
  • rom com & commercial women’s fiction
  • science fiction & fantasy
  • children’s chapter book or middle-grade (genre or contemporary)
  • YA fiction (genre or contemporary).

Most of all, we want stories we fall in love with –  a powerful voice, a certain something that makes a work stand apart from the crowd, stories that we can lose ourselves in, and make us forget we’re even reading.  We want great stories, told well. Stories that will change the world for the better. And we want to work with the authors who have those stories.

Some of Alex's favourite books in red

What we’re NOT looking for

While we’re willing to give almost anything a go if it’s good enough, the following will be hard sells for us:

  • memoir (unless there is a really great ‘hook’ to your story)
  • MBS/self-help/spiritual (almost never)
  • urban fantasy or dystopia  (we love it, but these are super tough right now)
  • picture books (we have an amazing list of picture book authors who are currently keeping us busy)
  • humour and satire for adults
  • romance where the hero would, in any other novel, be tried for domestic abuse (dubcon is not for us)
  • Any works that have already been self-published, or are in a series with self-published books.
  • anything racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise intended to offend, harm, or silence marginalised people.
Response Times

If you are invited to submit, we need to warn you that we are not speedy. The average time for a response is three months, and when we are overwhelmed, it can take longer. We will endeavour to acknowledge your submission upon receipt, and please chase us up if you have not heard from us after three months. We do not mind if you submit your manuscript to other agents or publishers, but please tell us before you accept another offer – you never know, we might have just been about to make an offer ourselves. If we let you know we are going to read your submission, silence is never an indication of our lack of interest.

The Deal

If your manuscript is accepted for representation, our agents will submit your work to suitable trade publishers in Australia and overseas, negotiate your contract, and collect royalties on your behalf from publishers, review royalty statements and remit royalties to you (less our commission).

Agency services are distinct from the consultancy and contract advisory services we otherwise provide.  If you appoint AAL to represent you and your manuscript to publishers, a 15% commission will be deducted from any deal that is initiated by AAPS, whereas if AAPS is only reviewing or negotiating your existing contract offer, a one off flat fee will be charged.  You will never be charged for both contract services and agency services.

As an agency client, you will never be charged up-front fees. Be wary of any agent who both takes a commission and charges you an up-front fee. For example, you should never be asked to pay a reading fee or manuscript assessment fee as well as a commission on your income as an author.

Alex Adsett Literary or its employees receive no financial reward from publishers for directing your manuscript to them (except via your commission) and, if we have been unsuccessful in partnering you with a commercial publisher, you may terminate the agency agreement before exploring any other publishing or self-publishing options.

Do you need a literary agent?

Australia, having an agent is a choice not a necessity. Approximately 60% of books published in Australia are not represented by an agent, and many publishers have avenues available for manuscripts to be submitted directly by authors. Although having a good agent will increase your manuscript’s chance of being meaningfully considered, it is not the only avenue. The situation in Australia is in stark contrast to the US and UK where almost the only way to reach a publisher is via an agent. If you have already received a publishing offer, think long and hard about whether you really want or need an agent.

Saying that, many authors adore having an agent. They can get on with writing and leave the business side of things to their agent to manage. Alex Adsett Literary is passionate about the publishing industry, and keen to champion high quality works for commercial publication. While breaking into, and thriving in, the the established publishing industry is tough, exciting new books will continue to be published and Alex Adsett Literary hopes to be part of that journey.

What does a literary agent do?

A good literary agent will generally offer three key services to an author, and a million other things besides.

A) Matching the right manuscript and author with the right publisher and editor. This does not mean the biggest publisher or the biggest advance, but finding the right fit for you and your work to have a successful career.

B) Negotiating the publishing offer and contract. This is far more than just discussing the advance, but a good agent will make sure all the fine print, from royalties to reversions, are fair and reasonable.

C) Assisting you manage your long term writing career. Having someone with industry knowledge in your corner to help navigate the ups and downs ofthe publishing industry can be invaluable.

If you decide not to work with an agent, we strongly recommend you seek advice before signing your publishing contract. The ASA offer a contract review service, as does Alex Adsett in her role as a Consultant.  For more information on whether or not you need an agent, agenting standards and codes of practice, please refer to the Australian Society of Authors, ALAA Code of Conduct or the Writers Beware: Agents (USA-centric).