'NAC is a work in progress .... Each time we encounter a new issue we must formulate a response, as policy'.


NAC & More

Common questions about NAC, what to expect from your literary agent, and matters important to you as author: -

Q: Does NAC have views on overseas publishing?

A: All works are considered on their merits, and we guide authors as to options that may exist. Mindful of the larger potential readerships than exist in Australia and New Zealand, much energy is invested in building relations with English-language publishers in particular.

Q: How useful are Writers Groups?

A: NAC Writers group was established December 2016, and runs conversations on (i) writing skills, (ii) social media and e-marketing & (iii) preparing manuscripts for the Review Panel. Modelled on groups NAC authors have been members of over several years, most feel membership has been invaluable. The Group will be as successful as the collective contribution of members makes possible. Authors on NAC’s list are welcome.

Q: How can an author contribute to Book Sales?

A: Very important indeed, especially if published by a smaller, independent or boutique publisher who by definition will have fewer resources, smaller promotions budgets. Authors being highly proactive, using all available social media and other resources, being 'out there' and actively leveraging all family, friends and close acquaintances and other contacts, also engaging with potential supporters through social and community clubs, may personally drive 25%-30% or more additional book purchases. Even with 'major' publishers, new authors are unlikely to receive the degree of support better-known, successful authors will receive. But it really is up to you how much you choose to invest.

Q: How important is a relationship with a good editor?

A: Absolutely vital. How many successful authors do you read not paying tribute to their editor, a lifelong friend for most well-established authors …..? If it’s appropriate for them, surely that’s a strong guide for new & less well-known authors?

Q: Which markets does NAC deal with mostly?

A: Initially we will usually focus on Australian, UK & European publishers, first discussing & agreeing strategy with the author, but our reach includes North America and elsewhere.

Q: How much time do publishers take to consider a manuscript?

A: This varies from manuscript to manuscript, and is agreed in consultation with the author – three to four, even six or more, months is not unusual.  NAC has three experiences suggesting allowing 12 months may be prudent – (a) one (very good) publishing offer received from a major European publisher eleven months after manuscript submission, several months after the author had signed a less attractive deal elsewhere.....; (b) in December 2016 NAC received strong expressions of interest from a top five publisher for two works originally submitted >11 months previously (one, the author had since self-published; the other hadn’t, so we were able to progress the discussion).....

Q: How closely does NAC inform authors of progress?

A: We consult very closely, explaining the program before submitting the work to publishers, then give monthly updates, and a full briefing bi-monthly. Our authors always know which publishers have been approached, what the status of their work is with each.

Q: Typical Timeline to Offer(s) being made?

A: Some never respond....

Q: Typical Timeline from NAC receipt of Manuscript to delivery to Publishers?

A: This very much depends on the work, and whether it has been rigorously edited prior to submission to NAC. Seldom less than 3 months, or more than 7-8.

Q: What is NAC’s strategy with publishers?

A: We try to get close to key publishers in the range of genres we are most widely represented in, whether the majors in each of our key markets, large independents, or smaller boutique specialists. We work hard to ensure no work is just submitted into a publisher’s slush pile, engaging with each publisher’s ‘Head’ so personal attention to your work may be assured – but it is not always possible.

Q. Can any author send work to NAC?

A. While unsolicited manuscripts are not read, there are two routes by which authors can have their work considered (see ‘Our Authors’).

Q. Before contacting NAC how ‘finished’ must a work be?

A. It must have been professionally proof-read, be in ‘finished’ form, in your opinion, ‘ready for publishers’. We will only send ‘finished’ works to NAC’s Review Panel, which does its’ best work if not distracted by issues such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, inconsistent tense usage etc.

Q. Does NAC consider incomplete or unedited work?

A. No.

Q. Document format preferred by NAC?

A. We only work with soft copy, Word format – no mailed or faxed, & generally no PDF documents (other than images/artwork/illustrations). If we invite a manuscript it is important you read & act on ‘NAC formatting suggestions’ before despatch.

Q. Does NAC consider work submitted to another agent?

A. Generally, no. If you have more recent work you wish NAC to represent you, the earlier work has not been published & is not contracted to another agent, we are open to discussion.

Q. Can authors deliver work personally?

A. No. NAC operates a virtual business currently spanning five countries; personal visits are not accepted other than by invitation.

Q. Does NAC discuss reasons for work being declined?

A. No.

Q. Must an author offer all their future work?

A. Yes. NAC only represents authors all of whose future work will be included in our remit. The main notable exceptions are co-authored works, academic papers and work in genres NAC states as being outside our remit.

Q. Is NAC willing to consider all kinds of work?

A. No,  we are not open for: - academic, adult poetry, alternative lifestyle, art or architecture, cooking or food or wine, economics, gardening, music, new age, politics, religious, short stories, sci-fi, science, supernatural or fantasy,  technical or academic, travel, or works with strong violence or abusive sex.

Q. Will NAC read the whole of a manuscript?

A. It depends on the stage of the process you are at. Prior to an author accepting a NAC ‘Author Invitation’ it is unlikely we will do so. If such an invitation is extended and accepted in the appropriate manner, the work goes forward initially for a 30-page read; then, for assessment (if the work is sufficiently ‘finished’), typically, being thoroughly evaluated by a panel of 6-7 member reviewers convened under a Team leader.

Q. Does NAC help with suggestions re manuscript formatting, or determining the level of ‘edit’ appropriate to a manuscript?

A. Yes, but only with authors ‘invited’ to submit their work, to whom we offer our ‘Guidance to authors re Manuscript preparation and Presentation’ document.

Q. Is a fee charged for joining NAC?

A. No.

Q. Does NAC charge fees for manuscript assessment?

A. Not if you receive NAC’s formal ‘invitation’, respond appropriately, and we agree to take your work through our ‘Manuscript Review’ process. In other circumstances, for example where an author seeks comment or assessment of their manuscript, we will not usually offer this service, though on request we may refer the author to freelance professional writers or editors who will charge for ‘manuscript assessment’. Typically a ‘read’ will cost at least $400$500, a proof-read (Level 1 ‘edit’) $800-$1500, and so on. The author-editor relationship is fundamental to most successful authors’ successes.

Q. Does NAC earn commission or fees?

A. Yes, like other agents, we earn a commission on writer’s share of Royalties for the life of the contract signed by the author, negotiated by NAC. In addition, NAC may earn commission in rare other circumstances, but all such remuneration is set out clearly in the Agency Agreement.

Q. How is NAC’s commission charged?

A. As an agreed percentage of the author’s royalties.

Q. Does NAC earn a commission on Prizes?

A. In respect of work we represent, usually.

Q. Is NAC’s Agency Appointment agreement standard to all authors?

A. In general terms we try to maintain uniform terms across the board, for simplicity in dealings with all authors. We will exclude by mutual agreement previously published works, but all future works will fall within NAC’s remit. Authors may terminate their agreement at any time, subject to the terms stated. Be mindful we earn commission for the duration of any contract we negotiate, and typically for so long as rights to the published work remain with publishers.

Q. Is NAC’s agreement the same as other literary agents?

A. No. Nor is our service the same as theirs.

Q. Are there other literary agents in Australia?

A. Yes, there are many.

Q. Why might ‘new' & 'emerging' authors succeed with NAC as their agent?

A. Several reasons: - 40+ years international business experience of NAC’s founder in a range of disciplines means our focus is very different from other agents; our international reach; the thoroughness of NAC’s manuscript review process; our absolute commitment to manuscript quality – underpinned by the partnership between NAC’s Literary and Editorial Head and the author; NAC’s intimate knowledge of which publishers are focused on which genres; our broad objective of ‘no slush pile’ with publishers for NAC authors; direct relations with decision-makers at >100 English-language publishers in >10 countries; more than 350 volunteers on NAC’s journey with our authors; our ‘collective’ or ‘collegiate’ approach to our business, harnessing the skills &  enthusiasm of our authors, editors, reviewers and a range of service providers in support of each author.

Q. What benefits if any may accrue to authors who join NAC Review Panel?

A. Authors volunteering to join NAC’s Review Panel gain invaluable insight into the work done to underpin their own works. Not only will they come to understand why our process is so effective in advancing the cause of deserving authors, they better appreciate the panel’s advice concerning their own works, repay the generosity of our volunteer reviewers and team leaders in a small way. This option is only available where NAC is the appointed agent.

Q. How long does it take for publishers to respond to manuscript submissions?

A. It varies greatly – at least 3 months for most, to 6 months and more in some cases. From mid-September 2016 we will generally apply a 4+/- months close date.

Q. Can NAC assist with suggestions re book illustrators for children’s and YA’s works?

A: Yes, our panel of artists and illustrators is experienced in such work.

Q. Are all publishers offering ‘hybrid’ contracts ‘vanity publishers’?

A. No. Several of the largest international publishers developed ‘hybrid’ contract models to contend with the e-book revolution. Younger, smaller houses, especially independent publishers specialising in ‘new authors’, tend to favour hybrid contracts, some exclusively doing so. This is a highly complex area, where much research is needed. NAC may assist with links to interesting references. However, in addition to known vanity publishers, we will not represent authors to two ‘publishers’ Head Officed in the UK. One of them has offices in the US, Middle East and also suggests they will open in Australia.

Q. Should an author decline a ‘hybrid’ contract offer?

A. Not necessarily. We suggest all offers are considered on their merits. The competitive tension created by having more than one offer may be helpful.

Q. When should the term ‘Vanity Publisher’ be applied?

A. We suggest ‘Never’ – the risk of being embroiled in a severe defamation action is just too high. 

Q.How important is it to design a cover for your adult work?

A. Publishers usually prefer (most will insist) on using their own graphic designers, but some are open to discussion. Of course, if you self-publish, you will need a cover designed. Whatever you decide, cover design is a very skilled discipline, a discipline which NAC’s Panel of Artists, Illustrators and Graphic Designers offers authors. .

Q. How many publishers will NAC approach on behalf of their authors?

A. For most of the genres we are well-represented in, authors may expect their work to go to >20 publishers in 3-5, or more countries. The more common genres (such as adult, non-literary fiction, women’s commercial fiction) - typically >25 publishers are approached; children’s works – 10+/- specialist publishers are approached. 

Q. How selective is NAC in the publishers approached?

A. We try to ensure only publishers focused on the genre of an author’s work, in particular, are approached.


Statistics quoted above were last updated June 2018