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Collated Answers from WW interviews

How do you find writers?
Andrew LownieWith over a hundred and fifty authors, most of them living entirely off their writing, most of my deals are repeat business but I am always looking for new blood Ė of whatever age. The articles ĎHow I Found the Agencyí give some idea of just how I find my authors. Sometimes itís location ( Iím near the right railway station), sometimes from an acknowledgement in a comparable book, sometimes because of my specialist interests on recommendation from other agents, editors, writers or because of articles about the agency in the media, sometimes through social contact or through the Biographers Club which I set up ten years ago (see www.biographersclub.co.uk), sometimes from reference books such as The Writersí Handbook but most now come through the website.


  
Anji PratapAt the moment, mainly through recommendation. But I have a website - http://www.anjipratap.com Ė so I hope that will generate some work too.
  
Backhand StoriesAll submissions through the web site. Send the submission in the BODY of an email to submit@backhandstories.com.
  
BlackberryWe are a small agency and prefer to work with previously published authors, and develop their talent.
  
ChromaMost of the work we publish comes to Chroma through general submissions. Other stories and poems come from writers myself or the Poetry Editor, Saradha Soobrayen, has worked with in workshops, or seen perform at literary and performance poetry events around the country. For the first few issues our policy was to keep the journal open to only UK-based writers and artists. I wanted to show readers and other writers that there was a queer literary scene in the UK, and that we didnít have to turn to the States to find those strong, lyrical, non-mainstream voices. And now that weíve established that, Chroma is becoming more of an international literary journal. One of the ways of getting a worldwide interest was to launch an international writing competition with big cash prizes and prominent writers like Ali Smith, Mark Doty, and Michael Arditti as the judges.

  
Earlyworks PressThrough the competitions. At first, we simply waited to see who would find us on the website but itís been up for over a year now, and is getting a lot of attention. We are a small club by internet standards and the work on the club forum is fairly in-depth. We realised that maintaining an open invitation would lead to too much instability. If people go to the bother of entering a competition and their work gets shortlisted we know they arenít just casual browsers. We do still consider applications on the site sometimes though. It depends whether people offer work that impresses us and how busy we are in the club.
  
Fuselit MagazineFor the first issue, DEMO, I sought out people online whose poetry and prose I had enjoyed in the past. I headhunted on deviantart.com, abctales.com and ukauthors.com among others, and the result was great. After that, people began to join the mailing list and send work themselves. Most become repeat contributors, which reinforces the idea of community and gives the magazine character. A lot of magazines tend to shy away from featuring the same author more than once, but we encourage it, because the same person could send two utterly different pieces for different issues. That said, we donít have Ďfavouritesí that bump other equally strong writers and artists out of the magazine through loyalty alone. If a piece is good, we want it, regardless of the author.
  
Laura WilkinsonRegular contributors have come from a range of sources. Some are writers that I have worked with on other publications. Others, like Hannah and Anne, I met at creative writing workshops and then there are those who sent in their resumes and asked if they could write for hagsharlotsheroines. Iím always on the look out for new writers with something to say and, of course, style and command of their craft.

I am a big fan of online networks and projects, like MySpace (though you have to be very discerning here), Write Words and Writing in the Margins and I have met people this way too. Organisations like Spread the Word and Pulp.net are also terrific and great ways to meet like minds, dynamic new writers and get inspiration and ideas.
  
Lawrence Bowen
  
The London MagazineWe actively seek out talent by attending as many poetry events and art
exhibitions as possible. We read the other large publications for good
work, as well as trawling the web and reading all our submissions
carefully. It is as important to us to give someone who has never had work
published before a platform, as it is to have big names. For articles and
reviews we accept well articulated ideas, and commission based on
successful pitches. We are planning 3 themed issues in the year ahead so if
your readers are thinking of pitching ideas they should bear this in mind. The
April/May 2008 issue is to be an Anglo/Russian issue, June/July will feature
Anglo/Arab work, and then an Anglo/Indian issue in August/September.

Donít be afraid to submit ideas. If there is a book of poetry that you
have read recently and you feel that it deserves to be reviewed, contact us at
admin@thelondonmagazine.net. The most important piece of advice I can
give, however, is to have a look at the magazine before pitching. The
London Magazine is a serious literary journal and therefore all your work
has to be referenced correctly, well thought out, with a critical and
sophisticated literary audience in mind. In terms of the poetry and short
fiction we only choose that of an extremely high standard. Itís
interesting, because if you look at our other publication: Trespass
Magazine (http://www.trespassmagazine.co.uk), youíll see a great difference in the
type of work that is accepted. For that we look for a dangerous, louche and
witty styleóif you have something that is great but that no-one has been
brave enough to publish, give Trespass a go.

  
Long Barn BooksHow do you find writers?

Books have come my way by being offered to me, or I have an idea and commission a book. I started with non-fiction and that is the way it has been until this year when I have published one first novel and later am doing some children`s books. Agents don`t send me things much because we are a very egalitarian firm and everyone, no matter who they are, gets the same advance of £1,000 and the same royalty contract Ė agents, of course, like to push for huge advances which I can`t and won`t pay, so They don`t make much out of Long Barn.
  
Macmillan New WritingHow do you find writers?

All submissions are unsolicited. The vast bulk (well over 4,000 since we began accepting submissions a year ago) arrive via email (the address is available from our website).
  
MBA Literary AgentsI am lucky in being recommended by various organisations, including the Romantic Novelists Association and literary consultancies; I also attend writers conferences, university creative writing courses and MBA runs a prize for unpublished fiction called the Harry Bowling Prize. Otherwise we receive lots and lots of submissions, like every agency, from the general public. They all get read of course, but ones directed to individual agents, with a good sense of why they have picked you, are likely to get read quicker and with more attention.
  
Paines PloughHow do you find writers?

Reading unsolicited scripts, going to play readings and fringe productions, talking to other literary managers and people who work with young people, running taster workshops and masterclasses, Future Perfect Ė our young writersí programme.
  
Patricia CumperWriters find us. They send their work in to us, they come to our productions, make contact in some way. And we keep an eye out for work that interests us and fits with our aims and objectives.
  
Sean Costello At the risk of turning this into a sales pitch, I would strongly advise anyone who is interested in sending us proposals for fiction or memoirs to get hold of Paulís book or Jessís books to see the calibre of work we are looking for. We are only interested in work that genuinely excites us and reminds us of why we got into publishing in the first placeó believe me, we donít get a kick out of writing rejection letters. I think you can tell pretty quickly when you are in the hands of a real writer with both the desire and the ability to communicate an experience, but unfortunately that also happens to be the kind of writing you very seldom encounter, whether youíre trawling through the slush pile or browsing for something decent to read in a bookshop. Because Scotland is our primary market we are only considering work with a strong Scottish dimension at present. This could mean that the book has a Scottish setting, or that the author comes from or lives in Scotland.
  
ShearsmanThree ways: by recommendations from people I trust; from reading around and soliciting work from those whose work I like; and lastly from the mail. The latter is a safety valve, which ensures that I donít miss poets that I, or my other contacts, donít know. Iíve published a number of poets in the magazine who came in that way, and have taken on an increasing number of book manuscripts that way. These are still a distinct minority though and will probably remain so.
  
Smith BrowneSo far we have built up our archive through word of mouth,
personal recommendation, and a small amount of advertising.
We are now trying to cast a wider net, hoping to attract a
more steady stream of submissions.
  
Snow Books 2How do you find writers?

We get all our submissions through our website. We actively encourage manuscript submissions in any genre, except for childrenís and poetry Ė rather than limiting our choice we will read anything, because itís only in the writing that we can tell if itís a book we love. I hate synopses Ė they ruin the plot and, regardless of how good your idea is, if your writing is sub-standard the idea is not enough.


  
Tumbleweed TVHow do you find writers?

In all sorts of ways Ė recommendations, friends of friends, at festivals or industry events, or from courses. For about a year weíve been having regular meetings with some writers we met on a course, which is a great way to meet new and exciting writers, get constructive feedback, and hopefully collaborate successfully on projects.
  
Writer's MuseThey tend to find us. In its time the Muse has published writers from America, Canada, France, Holland, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany and Kazahkstan! Sometimes theyíd tell us how they came across Writerís Muse and that was worth writing about in itself. Six degrees of separation is a fascinating concept and easy to get your head round when you hear the stories of how people discovered the Muse.

The Internet has been a good shop window but I feel I should also mention Lightís List, which many people have quoted as being their first introduction to us. Itís kind of fitting that a hard copy publication points people in the right direction.

We have published many writers and Iím sure that they spread the word around as well, so itís probably like the old image of ripples in a pond. People hear about us, submit to us and if they like what they see they spread the word again.

I also used to use my old position of Creative Writing tutor to advertise the small presses and it would have been churlish of me not to mention Writerís Muse when singing the praises of the small press market!