FAQ's

 

'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 much larger potential readerships overseas, than exist in Australia and New Zealand, much energy is invested in building relations with English-language publishers in North America, the UK in particular.

Q: How useful is Participation in a Writers Group?

A: Especially for new and emerging authors, very!

Q: How can an author contribute to Book Sales?

A: Even with 'major' publishers, new authors are unlikely to receive the degree of support better-known, well-established and successful authors do. The  smaller independent or boutique publisher by definition has fewer resources, smaller promotions budgets. Irrespective, all publishers are attracted to highly proactive authors, especially those effectively able to use social media and otherwise being 'out there', actively leveraging family, friends and other contacts, also engaging with potential supporters through social and community clubs. Authors so active may drive 20% or more additional book purchases.

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

A: Absolutely vital. How many successful authors’ ‘Acknowledgements’ fail to pay tribute to their editor, usually 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 & North American publishers, first discussing & agreeing strategy with the author. If successfully published by a major, invariably they will take care of other markets’ ‘rights’.

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

A: The time for publisher consideration of your manuscript depends on many variables, such as the time of the year, and the market. A ‘Suggested Close Date’ is agreed in consultation with the author – three to four months is typical. Longer periods are not unusual. Three experiences suggest manuscripts take longer working their way through some publishers’ systems. One (very good) offer received from a major European publisher arrived eleven months after manuscript submission, several months after the author had signed a less attractive deal elsewhere..... In another case, we  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 regular updates. Our authors always know which publishers have been approached, what the status of their work is with each.

Q. Does NAC have special requirements re: nonfiction manuscripts?

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: In particular we try to get close to the acquisitions editors at publishers in Australia, UK, USA & Canada with appetites for manuscripts in the range of genres we are most widely represented in. We work hard so works are not just submitted into a publisher’s slush pile.

Q. Can any author send work to NAC?

A. There are two routes by which authors can have their work considered (see ‘Our Authors’). Unsolicited manuscripts are not read.

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

A. It must have been professionally edited, and formally proof-read, before it comes to us – viz. in ‘finished’ form, in your opinion ‘ready for publishers’.

Q. Does NAC consider incomplete or unedited work?

A. No, for fiction; non-fiction works need to be submitted under our ‘book proposal’ guidelines.

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, but if you wish NAC to represent a more recent work, and 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. As a general rule 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. Which genres is NAC not open for?

A. Currently we are not open for: - academic or technical, adult poetry, alternative lifestyle, art or architecture, cooking or food or wine, economics, gardening, horror, music, new age, occult, religious/devotional/inspirational works, short stories, sci-fi, science, supernatural or fantasy, 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. We will not do so prior to an author accepting a NAC ‘Author Invitation’. If such an invitation is extended and accepted adult works go forward initially for a 50-page read.

Q. Does NAC help with suggestions re manuscript formatting?

A. Yes, once an author has joined our journey.

Q. Does NAC ‘edit’, or ‘offer an opinion’ on a manuscript?

A. No.

Q. Does NAC charge fees for manuscript assessment?

A. No.

Q. Does NAC earn commission or fees?

A. Yes, like other agents, we earn an agreed percentage of the author’s royalties for the life of the contract signed by the author. All such remuneration is set out clearly in the Agency Agreement.

Q. Termination of NAC’s Agency?

A. Authors may terminate the Agency Agreement at any time, subject to the terms stated. Be mindful NAC earns commission for the duration of any contract, and typically for so long as rights to the published work remain with publishers.

Q. Does NAC earn a commission on Prizes & Public Speaking Fees?

A. In respect of work we represent, usually.

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

A. 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, apart from agreed exclusions, all future works will fall within NAC’s remit.

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: - NAC founder’s 40+ years international business experience across a range of disciplines means our focus is very different from other agents. Also: - our international reach; the thoroughness of NAC’s manuscript review process; our absolute commitment to manuscript quality – underpinned by the partnership between NAC Editorial and the author; NAC’s knowledge of which publishers are focused on which genres; our targeted manuscript placement with acquisitions editors for the genre of the work (aiming to avoid the ‘slush pile’); our direct relations with 300+ decision-makers at >150 English-language publishers in 8 countries; more than 350 volunteers on NAC’s journey with our authors; the ‘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. Can a NAC author join Review Panel?

A. Yes, authors on our list can.

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.

Q. Is it important for children’s works to be illustrated before submitting to publishers?

A. Generally, no, as most will want their own illustrators to work on the manuscript, but many will accept illustrated manuscripts.

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.

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