I have written a book. Do you accept novels by new writers?
We're one of the few agencies who are happy to take a look at work by new writers. It’s worth remembering that we are looking for not only good writing, but also people who present themselves as credible, professional authors and have a good sense of the kinds of books and writing that actually sell in the marketplace. We all love books, but publishing is a business, and you’ve got to be a great business proposition as well as a great writer if you are going to succeed.
Can I send my novel directly to a Curtis Brown agent?
We no longer accept physical manuscripts. You must submit your work using our submissions portal. To submit your work you will need to send us a cover letter, a synopsis up to 3000 words and a sample of your work of up to 10,000 words. All work is usually read and responded to within 10 to 12 weeks although we may take longer during busier periods. If you are submitting a science-fiction or fantasy novel, please use our new submissions engine Brightfount.
What should I put in my cover letter?
In your covering letter it is worth explaining briefly why you feel your manuscript will appeal to that agent in particular and how it might fit in with their list. Researching individual agents before submitting will give your manuscript the best chance of reaching someone who will connect with it.
- How to submit your novel to literary agents at Curtis Brown
- How to write the perfect pitch letter to an agent
If I send you my novel, can you provide any editorial advice or a reader’s critique?
We can’t undertake to provide editorial advice or reader’s critiques due to the very large volume of submissions we receive. However, our creative writing school offers courses for talented new writers, featuring writing workshops and individual tutorials to provide focused feedback on work-in-progress; plus guidance from published authors, our agents, and publishers. To find out about up coming courses, click here.
How can I make my submission stand out from all the hundreds of other you receive?
If you are writing within a particular genre e.g. crime, women‚ commercial fiction, travel narrative, to name a few (think of the kinds of categories you find in bookstores, a publisher is always going to ask themselves, where will this go in a shop?), you should be aware of what is already being published in that field and the kind of books that are selling and that people are talking about. However much we may personally like your work, what is crucial is that we will be able to convince a publisher that your work is a good commercial risk, that you are a writer with potential for future growth, and that you can also hit the ground running.
You’ll also need to be able to be presented as someone who is very promotable, who can write and talk engagingly and credibly about your work. You'll need to show that you are comfortable about undertaking your own social media publicity work to seed and support a publisher’s efforts, and that you're prepared to work with a publisher to maximise every relevant opportunity to support your book’s publication. So, in your cover letter, don’t forget to tell us who you are, and what you already do to make others aware of your work.
Your career as a writer will also benefit enormously if your work is likely to be of interest around the world and that, even if your writing has a very local setting, it features terrific storytelling that transcends international barriers and other media.
While you are thinking about the big picture, don’t forget the crucial nuts and bolts: we’re looking for excellent writing; for an introduction to what you have written in a succinct letter and a clear synopsis, but also for strong chapters that speak sufficiently for themselves that they make sense without you needing to give us a lot of padding.
However much you will need to be willing to undergo the surgery of an editor’s pen should you get a book deal, remember you’re unlikely to win any admiring glances unless your grammar, punctuation, spelling and style are already flawless.
- Read our Creative Writing Blog for more writing advice and tips
- Watch Jonny Geller's TED Talk 'What Makes a Bestseller'
How long does an agent take to decide whether or not to take me on?
All submissions will be read and responded to within 10-12 weeks, although it may take some agents longer to response during busy periods.
If we say no to representing you, it may not mean that we didn’t like your work, but each of us owes it to our existing clients not to become over-committed and through professional experience, we also have an informed eye as to what is selling at the moment – to publishers, and to readers.
If you have got as far as being ready to submit something to an agent, you’re likely to be serious enough about your writing to keep at it, to workshop your writing in forums with other writers, and to keep honing your craft until your work is ready for representation.
Do you accept novels written in foreign languages or from writers living overseas?
We’re always pleased to be introduced to new voices and are happy to receive writing from people living anywhere in the world. However, they do have to be written in English.
I’d like to be a TV presenter. How can I apply to your agency?
We are inundated with applications from people wanting to become presenters so the most important things you can do is to get as much experience in production and in front of the camera as possible and decide on a niche area that you want to represent. While generally we only take on established presenters we do accept submissions in the form of a CV, headshot and showreel posted or emailed to us at email@example.com.
What can I do to get my screenplay read by agencies and production?
If you wish to be considered for representation please look at our Film & TV agents’ profiles on our website and make a considered approach to a specific agent.
We only accept electronic submissions (including showreels) and cannot be held responsible for any original material you send. If you have been recommended to contact us by someone, please include this in your email.
All submissions are given thorough consideration and we will do our best to respond to everyone. However, if you have not heard back in a month, please assume you have been unsuccessful, and we are not able to offer representation at this time.
Please be aware that online criminals sometimes pose as agencies/agents as part of scams where they try to extort money from people. Curtis Brown do not ask clients to pay joining fees, and so if you receive an odd request for money like this, please be aware that it is a scam.