Book Submissions

Our Book Submission Process


Introduction and Explanation

Dear new writer,

First, can we suggest you subscribe to myagentsecret – our Substack for writers keen to learn about the book industry here.

Second, please note that we are not currently taking on new children’s writers or children’s illustrators. Our submissions interests are detailed below. Don’t submit a book that doesn’t fit our interests. Your time will be better spent finding another agency. 

We’ve created our own book submissions process – a little different than most – which we need you to follow. It’s explained below.


The good news is that we are always looking for new talented writers.

We launch the careers of new authors constantly. We have, of course, an established roster of writers we represent, and the majority of our time is spent supporting those clients and promoting their interests. But we are also hunting for new novelists, new subject experts, new thought leaders and new storytellers. 

Our two agency principals, Ivan Mulcahy and Sallyanne Sweeney, are both originally from Dublin, so it’s no surprise that our list of Irish authors is exceptionally strong. Our agency is London-based meaning we are selling our books to UK publishers in most cases. We represent many well-known British public figures and authors and are equally interested in finding new British writers. 

Edwina de Charnacé, our newly-acquiring agent, is French-Korean, and is interested in writing from around the world. For this reason, we’ve recently added a submissions inbox aimed at writers in East and Southeast Asia. 


Now, to the problem: we receive a huge volume of book submissions. We try to give each new manuscript its due attention, but the sheer amount of them has – in the past – been overwhelming. 

This agency’s new submissions process is an innovative solution to this problem of too many books. It’s explained below. 

Most submissions are neither to our standards nor align with our taste. The quality issue is clear; a great many people submit books to agents that aren’t up to the publication standards of first-rate publishers. It’s clear that they have not sought independent editorial scrutiny and evaluation of their manuscript, by someone with a good eye for writing, before submitting to agents. On the other hand, “taste” is not a value judgement; it just means that we (the agents who read the submission) have not connected with the book; it doesn’t move or excite us. Another agent at a different agency could have a very different response.

If you are based in the US, Canada or continental Europe, seek representation in your home country and do not submit to us. A literary agent based in London is not best placed to offer you good support. 

We want to have a moment to absorb the essence of each writer’s work, to perceive a style, a tone, an originality, an energy or a freshness in the submission. This is why we ask for only a very short sample from your book. Because the submissions are short, we agents can more easily handle the big volume of manuscripts we are sent. When we come across one that excites us, we then ask to see more of the book.  

There are also submissions that display talent and potential, although the book submitted is not quite there. We want to have the time to give feedback to those writers, offering them advice about how their book could be redrafted and resubmitted to us in the future. . 

Let’s be clear though: never submit to an agent to get editorial feedback. There are writer’s groups everywhere, many offering free support. There are low-cost creative writing courses available. There are independent skilled readers to be found via your personal network of connections who can read your manuscript and give you their honest assessment. Use these and only submit to agencies when the book is ready. 

We also want to be certain you have thought about our agency, at least a little. We’re mid-sized; big enough to have all the people needed for foreign rights selling, TV/film rights opportunities, script development, author financial administration and author support. Yet we are small enough that each client matters. We take the time to find you success and we stay with you if that success is a long time in coming. On that, if you’re sending a submission to us, we’re inclined to think that you should have read at least one of our books by an author we represent in the same genre as your own book submission. This is not a strict rule. It’s just the way we think. 



In exchange for a fast response time on your manuscript (max. 4-6 weeks), we format our submissions differently from other agencies. 

We have separate inboxes for each book genre. IF YOU DON’T SEE YOUR GENRE LISTED THEN WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY SEEKING A BOOK LIKE YOURS. Please don’t submit. That changes though: we update our submissions interests every few months.

Consider these guidelines in three parts:

Part 1: Sending the email

  1. Send to the correct submission email address for your genre (more below)
  2. Subject Line of email as follows: [Book Title] – [Author Name]

Part 2: Book overview (in the first paragraph of your email)

  1. Let us know what subgenre you are writing in (more below)
  2. In a few words, what story elements/tropes does your book contain
  3. Tell us a few comparative titles (‘comps’) for your book. What novels might readers of your book have enjoyed? What bestsellers indicate there is a potential readership for your book? Comps are not limited to books, and can include relevant references to comparable Films, TV Shows and Music.

Part 3: Content (to be sent within one PDF or Word Document)

  • Write a synopsis of your book that is two hundred (200) words or less. Convey the essence of your proposed book succinctly. If it’s a novel, we want to know its setting, its characters and its most distinctive quality (or ‘hook’). If it’s about a subject in which you are expert, what approach would you intend taking; what topics will you explore? 
  • Include an author biography that is two hundred (200) words or less. If you are a novelist, you should summarise your key achievements as a writer. If you are producing a memoir, this is the moment to demonstrate why readers will be interested in your story. Experts should outline their relevant qualifications (whether academic or school-of-life or both). Tell us if you have created a following on social media, or a community that attends events hosted by you or have relationships with well-known people who will provide support for your book (including endorsements).
  • Give us a short writing sample of no more than one thousand two hundred words (1200) that provides a taster of your writing. Experts who are not natural writers – please don’t be intimidated by this requirement. If you are a leader in your field with a strong book concept then we want to hear from you. Even better if you’ve got a substantial social media presence. We can pair you with a co-writer or ghost-writer. We’ve done this successfully for many famous people and high-achievers. Novelists are advised that it’s usually best to send us the book’s beginning. Memoirists might pick a particular incident for the extract. Academic experts might decide to select a critical section of the book. But often for both memoirists and academics it is still most straightforward to send us the book’s first 1200 words.
  • Please include a very brief statement, fifty to one hundred words (50-100), on why you’re interested in being represented by this agency. Is there an author we represent you admire? Have you heard something of our work? Is there something in the agency’s style that appeals? It may be something as minor as liking the look of our website. The agent-writer relationship demands working closely together, with trust on both sides and professionalism, of course. We are sensitive that there can be a lot personally at stake for a writer at each stage of their career development. We seek to take on new authors with whom we make a connection and can envisage working with for a long time. 

If you have written much or all of your book already, please do not be concerned that we are judging its merits based on such a short sample. First, we review your submission through this process. Then, if we admire what we read, we will ask you to send more of the writing. You will be contacted by one of the agents. 

N.B: We accept that you may want to submit to us and a few other literary agents at the same time. But if you are sending your submission to many agents simultaneously then we would rather not be included. 

If your submission doesn’t follow our guidelines here, it cannot be considered.

We have introduced these changes and specific guidelines to streamline the process and get back to writers as quickly and thoughtfully as we can. This is to avoid things getting lost in a ‘slush pile’, which is as unappealing as it sounds. Our aim is to help you get well published.

We’ve also changed our submission process to reflect our interest in connecting with writers from around the world. We previously only took on writers based in England or Ireland, but are now keen for a growing roster of international clients. However, if you are based in the USA, Canada, or Australia, we are NOT the agency for you. There are plenty of capable agents in those territories better suited to representing you and your book. 



In order to direct your submission to the right person, we have designated inboxes for each genre of book. If there is no email category for your particular genre, then we are not representing that type of book at the moment. Please do not submit your book anyway into the wrong genre category. Our submissions inboxes change regularly however. To keep up to date with what kinds of manuscripts we are looking for, you can connect with our Substack.


Genre distinctions exist to help readers find what they want to read, to help publishers market your book and therefore to help agents present your book to publishers. 

What genre are you writing? What sub-genre does your book fall under?  Are you writing a cross-genre title? Are you unsure of the answer?  Check the genre list below to see how agents/readers/publishers probably categorise your book.

If you are submitting Non-Fiction, skip now to the Non-Fiction section below. The rest of this here is not relevant to you. 

If you are submitting Fiction, the first decision you must make now is whether your book is essentially Literary or Genre Fiction. This can get confusing and the topic is a fun one for endless debate. Let’s try to keep it simple. 

For us Literary Fiction makes you think. Genre Fiction ideally loses you in the story and its world but doesn’t make you feel differently about your life afterwards. Genre Fiction pulls you into an immersive story with great characters in order to offer you an escape from your day and your world. Literary Fiction can do the same thing but also causes you to think about your own outlook, to see the world a bit differently, to question your own values, to be deliberately taken from your comfort zone and be forced to confront the way we live. 

If your book has elements of Genre Fiction but is at core Literary (see paragraph above), then submit it to our Literary Submissions inbox. EG: A horror story with a literary heart or a book with fantasy tropes that is at root Literary, should be submitted to our Literary inbox. 

Publishers have created a third category, usually called Reading Group Fiction or sometimes labelled Book Club Fiction. It’s also described as Original Fiction or Upmarket Fiction. Confused? It’s pretty straightforward. These books are seen to sit between Literary and Genre Fiction. The writing is story-driven but at moments there are elements to make you pause for thought. They usually contain ideas (or an idea) that is worth discussion or feature relationship conflicts that generate debate. Sometimes their period or setting offers controversy or feels unsettling and engenders discussion. For instance, a love story set on a slave ship, a sex scandal on a campus, a family falling out after a funeral. These books aren’t quite pure ‘Literary’ (if such a purity exists) because their ideas and characters and situations are usually conventional. But they do offer an opportunity for discussion in groups. Hence ‘Reading Group’ or ‘Book Club’ Fiction as a title. 

If you believe your book is Reading Group Fiction, submit it to our Literary Fiction inbox and indicate its type in your summary.



Non-Fiction includes all books that aren’t fiction. 

Non-Fiction subgenres we are most interested in are: 

Subject-led Non-Fiction IE: History, Economics, Politics, Society and Social Change, Science, Psychology, Art History, Literary Criticism as well as Self-Help and Personal Development.

We are not seeking autobiography by people without a public profile. We can recommend private publishers to produce and market such books but they are rarely of interest to mainstream publishers. Of course, it’s not that simple. There can be a personal memoir dimension to a subject-led book where we learn a bit about the author and their relationship with the subject as well as the subject itself. 

We enjoy delving into new areas of knowledge. If you are an established subject-expert with a positive reputation and an original message to convey, we want to hear from you. It’s a joy for us to learn about new subjects; our authors teach us their expertise and we help them convert their knowledge into a book (or books) that will excite readers and capture the attention of leading publishers. 

Writers who already have a significant platform/public persona have an advantage that we are expert in maximising.

We help non-fiction clients with moderate but growing social followings increase their engagement as their book ideas develop. If you have a strong vision, a new way of approaching a topic, have made a start building a following and are savvy enough to build your community alongside your budding book proposal, you’re an apt candidate for representation.

We’ve built a strong list of authors in the Self-Help/Personal Development genre. This is a consistently expanding genre in the book market internationally. In this field we are looking for writers who are EXPERTS first and INFLUENCERS second. 

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above 



Literary Fiction

So, you’re submitting to the Literary Fiction inbox. This means your submission fits our broad definition (outlined above) of the genre (yes, we view Literary Fiction as a genre in and of itself), or sits with our delineation of Reading Group Fiction (another genre, again). To recap, for us Literary Fiction penetrates your reality and makes you think differently afterwards. It’s a book that asks ‘what’s it about?’ as well as ‘what happens?’ We’re looking for exceptional writing in this inbox. Writing that moves the reader to reflect on their own life and experiences. 

Your book could of course be both a Romance and Literary Fiction, as is the case with Sally Rooney’s books. What standard do you want us to judge your work on? Its literary merit (how it plays with language, form, narrative positioning, characterisation), or its successful use of the genre’s tropes?

Literary Fiction we’re most interested in:

Campus novels, Split-timelines, Multiple narrative perspectives, Relationships-driven, Family sagas, Unreliable narrators, Allegorical/fabular, Autofiction. 

For campus novels, we’re looking for stories that centre one or several characters’ moral dilemmas or existential questionings, like Elaine Hsieh Chou’s Disorientation or Elif Batuman’s Either/Or. On the family saga front, we’re keen for intergenerational, perspective-shifting books like Zadie Smith’s early works or Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet. 

In autofiction, we’re hoping for writers that remind us of Sheila Heti, Chris Kraus and Ben Lerner. 

Literary Fiction we aren’t interested in:

Poetry Manuscripts, Meta-fiction, Literary Crime/Thriller. 

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 


Genre Fiction

Historical Fiction

We are hunting for Historical Fiction set in Ireland or Asia, not located in the UK or North America. If your submission is a Historical Romance, it doesn’t matter whether you submit to this inbox or the Romance inbox. Just let us know whether it’s a book more likely to appeal to readers of Historical Fiction or Romance Fiction. 

Sub-genres we’re most interested in:

Historical Fiction with some crossover element, be it Romance, Fantasy, or both. 

We aren’t interested in:

Historical Fiction set in WW1 or WW2, Historical Fiction set in the UK or North America. 

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 


Romance novels centre one or more love stories, typically – but not always – ending with an HEA (Happily Ever After), depending on the subgenre. We’re hoping for books that remind us of Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient or Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series. 

Sub-genres we’re most interested in:

Contemporary Romance (especially if it ties in broader social issues/causes such as mental health, environmental activism, social justice…), New Adult Romance, Paranormal Romance.

We aren’t interested in:

Romantic Comedy, Sports Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mafia Romance, YA Romance.

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 


We’re starting to build a Science Fiction list. We have an SF universe project that needs new authors. We are keeping our submissions tightly focused in this genre, for now. 

Sub-genres we’re most interested in:

Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Space Western. 

We aren’t interested in:

Hard Science Fiction, Military Science Fiction, Steampunk, Climate Fiction, Apocalyptic/Dystopian Science Fiction.

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 


Fantasy books flout the ‘rules’ of reality and scientific fact. They feature magical and supernatural elements that don’t exist in the real world, as opposed to relying on concepts that might exist under different technological or scientific circumstances, as in Sci-Fi. There are levels to this. Harder fantasy usually involves a great deal of world-building, with entire imaginary universes and ecosystems created. Lighter fantasy typically introduces fantastical elements to a recognisable setting. Our wishlist includes books similar to Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series and Emily McIntire’s Hooked. We’re less keen on things reminiscent of Percy Jackson or Twilight

Sub-genres we’re most interested in:

Romantasy, Light Fantasy, Fairytale fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fantasy of Manners. 

We aren’t interested in:

Dystopian fantasy, Superhero Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk Fantasy, Science Fantasy.

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 


By Horror, we mean novels that creep us out – and horrify us. Take this widely. As well as being interested in manuscripts that remind us of mainstream horror lit such as King, we also mean books that disgust, like Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh, or books that take you into a horrifying perspective like Tampa by Alissa Nutting or Boy Parts by Eliza Clark. We are also interested in receiving manuscripts that might be borderline horror, but have a distinctly dark edge; think Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Our agent Edwina, who is half-Korean, is especially interested in Korean Horror. If you’re a Korean writer or are based in Korea, please send your horror submission to Horror crossovers like Mona Awad’s Bunny are very welcome, as are horror-adjacent storylines like Netflix’s Beef. Horror short story collections with strong fabular or allegorical elements will be looked upon favourably. 

Sub-genres we’re most interested in:

Dark Fiction, Fairytale Horror, Comic Horror, Gothic, Psychological, Domestic Horror, Sci-Fi Horror.

We aren’t interested in:

Slashers, Gore, Gratuitous Violence.

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 

Writers from East and Southeast Asia

For writing from East and Southeast Asia, we are prioritising authors with an Asian background (people with Asian ancestry or those who have lived in Asia long enough to be meaningfully immersed in the culture). If you’re a caucasian bloke called Bob who still can’t use chopsticks after a decade living in Hong Kong, it’s probably best you submit elsewhere. 

For this inbox, we are exclusively interested in:

Memoir, Essay Collections, Family Sagas, Short Stories, Campus Novels, Romantasy, Contemporary Romance, Light Fantasy and Horror.

Please send your four-part submission, as outlined above to: 

Subscribe to myagentsecret – our Substack for writers keen to learn about the book industry here.

We’re giving a new focus to social media. We help you get well published.

Instagram LinkedIn Twitter Tik Tok

Thank you for your interest in our agency. We wish you success with your writing.

This site uses cookies - by continuing to use this site you are agreeing to the use of cookies.