‘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 abroad, North America and 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 trade 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 has fewer resources and smaller promotions budgets. Irrespective, all publishers are attracted to highly proactive authors, especially those effectively able to use social media, actively leveraging family, friends and other contacts and 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’ 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 and less well-known authors?

Q: Which markets does NAC deal with mostly?

A: Initially we usually focus on Australian, UK and North American publishers, first discussing and agreeing strategy with the author. If a manuscript is successfully signed by a major publisher, invariably they will take care of other markets.

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, however, 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 more than 11 months previously.

Q: How closely does NAC inform authors of progress?

A: Very closely, explaining the program before submitting to publishers, then providing regular updates. Authors always know which publishers have been approached, whether the publisher has responded and the status of their work with each.

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

A: Yes – please go to our Contact page.

Q: What is the 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, sometimes 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, the UK, the US and Canada with appetites for manuscripts in the range of genres we are most widely represented in. We work hard so manuscripts 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 ‘Submissions’). Unsolicited manuscripts are not read.

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

A. It must have been professionally edited and formally proofread before it comes to us – in other words, 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 the guidelines outlined on the Submissions page.

Q: Document format preferred by NAC?

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

Q: Does NAC consider work submitted to another agent?

A. Generally, no. If you wish NAC to represent a more recent work, however, and the earlier work has not been published and 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 declining an author?

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 fiction work will be included in our remit. We need to understand details of any nonfiction case by case. Other notable exceptions include 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. Academic or technical works, or 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, strong violence or abusive sex and self-help books. NAC seldom considers previously self-published work.

Q: Will NAC read the whole of a manuscript?

A. We will not do so prior to an author accepting a NAC ‘Author Invitation’. If such an invitation is extended and accepted, we initially extend adult works a 50-page read.

Q: Does NAC help with suggestions regarding manuscript formatting?

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

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: Is it possible to terminate my contract with NAC after signing?

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, typically for so long as rights to the published work remain with the publisher.

Q: Does NAC earn a commission on prizes and 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 of fiction 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 authors expect to succeed with NAC as their agent?

A. Several reasons. NAC’s founder has over 40 years’ international business experience across a range of disciplines, which means our focus is very different from other agents. Our international reach, our thorough manuscript review process and our absolute commitment to manuscript quality are all underpinned by the partnership between NAC’s editorial team and the author. NAC’s knowledge of which publishers are focused on which genres results in targeted manuscript placement with acquisitions editors, helping to avoid the ‘slush pile’. We have direct relationships with over 350 decision-makers at more than 150 English-language publishers in eight countries. Most especially, the ‘collective’ or ‘collegiate’ approach to our business means we harness the skills and enthusiasm of our authors, editors, reviewers and a range of service providers in support of each author we represent.

Q. Can an author join NAC's Review Panel?

A. Yes, authors on our list can.

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, we will not represent authors to known vanity publishers or any other believed not to be in the best interest of our client.

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 genres, we are well-represented. Authors may expect their work to go to 20 or more publishers in at least 3-5 countries. The more common genres such as adult non-literary fiction and women’s commercial fiction) – typically see over 25 publishers approached. Children’s works may see around 10 specialist publishers approached.

Q: How selective is NAC in the publishers approached?

A. NAC is committed to quality. As such, we direct our queries to publishers focused on the genre of an author’s work in our effort to get the best result for our clients.

Statistics quoted above were last updated May 2023.