New Service: Submission Package Review
If you’re starting 2022 with the aim of finding the right literary agent, we are excited to announce our new service, the Submission Package Review. Designed as a welcome trial run to test the strengths and identify the weaknesses in submissions to literary agents, our new service is coordinated by our specialist associate editor, Gabriella Docherty.
Here we ask Gabriella to share a few tips on submitting to agents.
Who usually reads the submissions to an agency? How do they shortlist what to pitch to the agent?
This process varies from agency to agency (and even depends on the individual agent). But while some agents will occasionally take the time to read through ‘cold’ submissions themselves, it’s usually their assistant who will read through all submissions in the first instance. Agents’ assistants have an intimate understanding of what their agent is looking for, their individual tastes and how a manuscript might be placed in the market. If they find a submission engaging and think that it could fit in with their agent’s list of authors, they’re likely to pitch it to their boss.
What makes a submission stand out, from an agent’s point of view?
In terms of the submission itself, it’s very important to follow the individual guidelines provided on the website. Some agents have their own particular rules regarding submissions, and not following these can often result in an immediate rejection. Making the submission as tailored to the agent as possible is really important – agents like to know that you’ve taken the time to look at their client list and that you genuinely believe you would work well together.
When it comes to the manuscript, there are a number of factors at play. Agents have an excellent understanding of what is likely to sell, so this will of course factor into their decision, but what they’re really looking for is to fall in love with a manuscript. If you can get an agent hooked from the opening pages, you’ve won half the battle. At the end of the day, agents are people with a passion for books, so if they’re excited by your writing, they’ll want to work with you!
How important is it for a manuscript to have a ‘sellable’, publicity-friendly author and should this be emphasised in the submission?
Querying writers tend to overestimate how much agents are concerned about the marketability of the author themselves. It’s really your writing they want to see. They will want to know a little bit about you, but at this stage it’s mostly to know who they’d be working with.
However, there are some exceptions! If, for instance, you’re already in the public eye (maybe you have a significant following on social media) and your audience is likely to want to read your work, then you should absolutely make this clear in your submission. The same applies if you have a particularly noteworthy life story that is in some way relevant to your manuscript. Agents and publishers are always on the lookout for submissions from writers who have diverse life experiences and/or come from underrepresented backgrounds, so if your writing offers a new perspective, the agent will be keen to have a look.
What would be your one Do and one Don’t in submitting to agents?
Do take time to write an excellent synopsis. Your synopsis should be 500 – 1000 words and should include all the main plot points from beginning to end. A common mistake made by many first-time writers is either writing a blurb (a paragraph or two to hook the reader in, as you might find on the back or inside sleeve of a book) or going into far too much depth. Your synopsis should provide the agent with a full but concise overview of the entire story. It’s always a good idea to get someone who hasn’t read your manuscript to take a look at your synopsis before you submit – they’ll be able to tell you if it reads clearly to them.
Don’t spam agents, especially the ones who work together in the same agency! You might think you’re increasing your chances by sending your manuscript to as many people as possible, but instead this will undo all of your hard work making your submission feel tailored to a specific agent.
Melissa Cox and Jamie Cowen Judge the First Novel Prize 2022
This year, the First Novel Prize will be judged by Coronet Editorial Director, Melissa Cox, and The Ampersand Agency Managing Director, Jamie Cowen. Entries open on the 1st of February 2022 to unpublished and independently published novelists.
First Novel Prize 2021 Winners Announced
Akeem Balogun, Alison Fogg and J I Ackroyd have won this year’s First Novel Prize. Read more.
Juliet Mushens and Emad Akhtar Judge First Novel Prize 2021
Juliet Mushens, principal agent at Mushens Entertainment, and Emad Akhtar, publisher at Orion, part of Hachette UK, will be the judges in the First Novel Prize 2021.
They are looking for ‘rich settings, gripping plots, and characters who feel ready to walk off the page.’
To enter your novel, go to www.firstnovel.co.uk
First Novel Prize 2020 Winner Signs with Eve White Literary Agency for 'Clever Revision of Jane Eyre'
The winner of the First Prize and £1000 in this year’s First Novel Prize, Sophia Danes-Gharbaoui (photo), has been signed up by one of the Prize judges, literary agent Eve White, for her unpublished novel, Crakemere Hall. The ‘showstopper’ novel is a playful homage to the 19th Century English novel, while presenting an unforgettable and original protagonist. Crakemere Hall is currently on submission to publishers. Find out more about the First Novel Prize 2020 Winners.
Business as Usual
We are receiving phone calls and emails enquiring if we are open for business during the Covid-19 global crisis.
Like most office-based services in the UK at present, we are all working from home and are very much open for business.
Our current turnaround time is our standard 3 to 5 weeks and we are not currently experiencing any disruption or delay to our services. Our aim remains to reply to all enquiries within 24 hours.
We are also available over the phone during our usual business hours, which are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you have any questions, we look forward to hearing from you.
This Year We Support The Marine Conservation Society
This year, we invited Daniel Goldsmith, no less, to choose the cause we support with our annual pledge.
Delighted at having been offered this executive privilege, Daniel (13) did not miss a beat. He suggested a charity which aims, according to their message, ‘to lead political, cultural and social change for healthy seas and coasts that support abundant marine wildlife, sustainable livelihoods and enjoyment for all’: The Marine Conservation Society.
Asked why, Daniel said, ‘I love the Ocean.’
He continued, ‘The Ocean is beautiful and so important to how we live. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the Ocean has been sucking up most of the CO2 that humans are producing. Now, in small amounts that’s OK, but in the huge quantities we have been creating, it’s destroying this gorgeous natural paradise. Due to human activity, fish numbers, all over the world and no matter the species, have plummeted and coral reefs are bleaching and dying. Our oceans and seas are being polluted with plastic and waste that is harmful to all aquatic life. So I’m thrilled that this year DGA are supporting MCSUK, who combine science with action to help clean up our oceans, save fish and coral reefs and even do our part in stopping climate change once and for all.’
New Pricing Structure
For the first time since 2007, when the consultancy was founded, we are changing our pricing structure from fee per page to fee per number of words for longer fiction and non-fiction.
We spent months listening to our clients and to our team of editors and decided to make the change in an effort to both simplify our fees and align them with the rest of the industry.
Our fees for assessing picture books, short stories and scripts will remain the same.
This Year We Support YoungMinds
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children’s and young people’s mental health. Turning real-life experiences into positive change, they are fighting for a future where all young minds are supported through life, whatever the challenges.
This year is particularly special for YoungMinds, marking 25 years since they were established. In that time, there has been a much needed shift in the conversation around mental health and, vitally, the crisis in children’s and young people’s mental health is now widely recognised. Yet, for those who need it, help is still much too difficult to find: 84% of parents of children with mental health problems find it difficult to get help for their child. Further still, 76% of parents think that their child’s mental health deteriorated while waiting for support.
YoungMinds exist to break down the barriers to finding support, and make sure help is available for children and young people to overcome life’s difficulties. They are there for parents when they have nowhere else to turn, they empower professionals on the front-line of the mental health crisis.
‘We are extremely grateful to Daniel Goldsmith Associates for choosing to support YoungMinds this year. Your kind support will enable us to provide isolated and vulnerable families across the UK with the reassurance, advice and practical guidance that will help them get the support they need,’ Diane Gault, Director of Fundraising, said.
‘Children’s and teenagers’ mental health has never been a more urgent topic than it is now. It’s never been harder to be a teen than in the age of social media, where ‘peer pressure’ has a completely new meaning and a much stronger impact. As a parent myself, I could not be more thrilled that this year we are supporting YoungMinds’ much needed work,’ Lorena Goldsmith, DGA founder, said.
You can find out more about the charity’s important work at YoungMinds.
The End of Payments Over the Phone
In order to maintain our PCI DSS compliance, the current payment processing standards, we will no longer handle credit or debit card details.
Over the last few months, we have been working towards discontinuing payments over the phone and, as of the 20th of September 2018, will no longer accept this type of payment.
Going forward, all card payments made to Daniel Goldsmith Associates will be facilitated by the leading service provider, Worldpay, via their secure online platform.
Clients who wish to pay by card will be invoiced electronically. By using a unique link, clients will be directed to Worldpay’s secure payment portal, where they can make a card payment as with any online purchase.
The process is straight-forward and should last no more than a couple of minutes.
For more information, please contact us.
‘Original and Heartbreaking’ Story of Displacement and Belonging Wins First Novel Prize 2018
American writer and creative director, Tali Gumbiner (pictured), one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People and AdAge 2018’s Creative of the Year, has won First Prize in The First Novel Prize 2018 and £1,000 with ‘What Home Is’, a novel that explores themes of belonging and displacement, surrounding the lives of four siblings of Jewish and Native American heritage.
‘I wanted to tell the story of how different peoples find their homes after generations of being displaced, how a family’s past will inevitably find a way into its present,’ Tali Gumbiner, who is also one of the two creators of the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street, said.
Co-judges Phoebe Morgan, senior commissioning editor at Avon, and Sam Copeland, literary agent and director at Rogers, Coleridge and White, called the novel ‘a worthy winner’ and Tali Gumbiner ‘a talent to watch.’ ‘This is one of the most original books I’ve read all year. Tali captures the sibling relationship brilliantly and heartbreakingly, creating a moving, unique story about what it means to belong,’ Phoebe Morgan said.
‘At its heart, ‘What Home Is’ tells the story of mothers and sisters trying and doing the best that we can. I am so very honoured to receive the First Novel Prize. With all the amazing writers out there, I am truly grateful to the judges for taking the time to read and recognize my work,’ the First Prize winner said.
Two British writers are runners-up in the yearly competition organised by London literary consultancy Daniel Goldsmith Associates. Neema Shah has won Second Prize and £250 with ‘Kololo Hill’, a story of love and sacrifice set amidst the 1972 expulsion of the Ugandan Asians under Idi Amin’s regime. Vicki Bradley has won Third Prize and £100 with ‘Before I Say I Do’, a highly commercial thriller which has now been snapped up by Simon & Schuster after it also won the publisher’s own Write Here, Right Now Prize last month.
Full statements of winners and judges can be found at www.firstnovel.co.uk/2018-winners
The End of Partial Manuscript Assessments
As part of our ongoing concern to offer our clients the highest level of service alongside the best value for money, we will be discontinuing partial manuscript assessments as of the 1st of August 2018.
The decision has been taken after careful consultation with both clients and team members, and came after a period of months reviewing comparatively reports and feedback. This will mean that the editors at DGA can now focus solely on offering in-depth analyses on full-size manuscripts at all aspects relating to story, narrative, characterisation, style and marketability.
This Year We Support Action for Children
At DGA, every year we recognise the importance of community work by supporting a great cause. Last year, we were impressed by the work of the dedicated team at Smart Works, and, for this year, we asked our clients to nominate a cause that is close to their hearts.
We are delighted that Action for Children was their choice.
Action for Children is a charity who for nearly 150 years have led the way in supporting vulnerable children and young people across the UK, by doing what’s right, doing what’s needed, and by doing what works.
Throughout their 600 projects across the country, the charity offers a range of services that provide valuable support to over 370,000 children, young people and their families.
One example is the Young Carers project. There, the service provides recreational respite for young people who, by no fault of their own, are put into a care-giving role at an early age. Weekly group meetings give the children and young people the opportunity to resume their childhoods, to build friendships, to develop life skills and to improve in their studies.
The service takes the young carers on trips out at weekends and during school holidays in addition to running weekly skills workshops, such as French lessons, cooking classes or budgeting lessons. With caring responsibilities taking priority, the young person’s school attendance can be affected. Supporters’ fundraising has enabled the charity to provide tutoring lessons for some of the carers during their GCSE and A-Level years. Many of the young carers have gone on to University thanks to the tutoring, an opportunity that seemed impossible without the support of the charity’s supporters.
Young Carers advocates on behalf of children who have lost a part of their childhood, they deliver specialist services to ensure the young carers receive the same opportunities as other young people without such great responsibilities.
‘Action for Children are immensely proud to have Daniel Goldsmith Associates supporting us. Without support such as theirs, we would not be able to continue providing services such as the Young Carers,’ David Springer, London Fundraiser, said.
‘We were thrilled when our clients chose Action for Children as the charity Daniel Goldsmith Associates would support in 2018. Their work goes beyond the ordinary in every sense and to be behind their projects this year is a great honour,’ DGA founder, Lorena Goldsmith, said.
Find out more about their amazing work at Action for Children.
First Novel Prize Opens for Entries
In its third consecutive year, The First Novel Prize opens for entries.
Leading literary agent Sam Copeland from Rogers, Coleridge & White joins Avon/HarperCollins commissioning editor Phoebe Morgan on the judging panel this year.
Previously unpublished and independently published novelists can enter their novel at www.firstnovel.co.uk
Entries close on the 31st of May 2018.
The End of the 10% Discount
Despite working with a larger than ever team of specialist senior editors, we promise not to increase our prices in 2018. However, our longstanding 10% discount is due to come to an end on the 31st of December 2017. To make the most out of the discount, new clients can submit their work before the end of the year.
We will continue to work hard to make things easier for writers and, from January 2018, instalments will be offered as a default option on all fees of £500 and over.
After two happy years at One Euston Square, we need to move. One Euston Square, one of the most iconic landmarks in Central London, is being pulled down to make way for the development of the HS2 railway.
From November 2017, we’ll be down the road, at Gridiron Building.
Gridiron Building is just outside King’s Cross station, close to The British Library, and overlooks Pancras Square. There’s direct access to Kings Cross St Pancras tube from the ground floor of the building.
Coming to our new home for a coffee? We look forward to seeing you. And to sharing the amazing roof terrace view with you.
Annetta Berry Wins The First Novel Prize 2017 with 'The Binding Frame'
At the end of six exciting months of discovering brilliant new talent, the judges in The First Novel Prize 2017, Transworld/PRH Commissioning Editor Darcy Nicholson, Wade & Co. Literary Agent Robin Wade and DGA Literary Consultant Lorena Goldsmith, chose to award the First Prize and £1,000 to Annetta Berry (pictured, courtesy) for ‘The Binding Frame’, ‘a remarkably assured historical novel’, the Second Prize and £250 to Carolyn Kirby for ‘Half of You’, ‘a rare combination of driving plot as well as deep emotion’, and Third Prize and £100 to Mark Brandi for ‘Frankie’, ‘a testament to the power of good writing’. Read full statements on www.firstnovel.co.uk
As organisers, we would like to thank everyone who contributed to The First Novel Prize 2017. Thank you to all the wonderful new writers who entered the Prize and to the Judges for their hard work. Entries in the First Novel Prize 2018 will be opening in February 2018.
10% Off and a Free Book with Every Manuscript Assessment in July
How should one spend a long summer afternoon? Why, by attending to one’s writing, of course.
And now, with a free book on offer, one can also learn a new skill: how to self-edit one’s pesky manuscript.
Seriously now, submit your manuscript between the 1st and the 31st of July and, in addition to receiving a 10% discount if you’re a new client, you will also receive a complimentary paperback of Lorena Goldsmith’s Self-editing Fiction that Sells*.
The book will help you to make the difficult switch between the creative mindset you require to write your book and the critical mindset you require to edit it.
All this time, a professional editor is working on your manuscript and preparing a constructive assessment report for you.
Sounds like a good deal? Get in touch.
*Offer limited to July 2017, free book subject to availability.
This Year We Support Smart Works
Community involvement has always been of great importance to our team.
This year, we take great pride in supporting the wonderful Smart Works. Our choice reflects our commitment to making a positive change to individual lives.
Smart Works is a UK charity providing high-quality business wear, styling advice and interview training to women in need looking to get back into employment. They give women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.
At the core of the charity’s service is a dressing and interview appointment at one of the Smart Works centres across the UK. During her visit, each woman receives an interview outfit (theirs to keep) tailored to their taste and style by volunteer stylists. This is followed by dedicated one-to-one interview training with an experienced volunteer recruitment, HR or coaching professional.
This short intervention has a significant impact as clients start believing in their own ability to succeed, with over one in two of the women supported going on to get the job.
‘We believe in independent women and the thought that our small contribution can help change a woman’s life for the better brings a special kind of joy,’ DGA founder, Lorena Goldsmith, said.
‘A huge thank you to the team at Daniel Goldsmith Associates for your generous donation. With your support we can provide more women with our interview preparation service,’ Smart Works Communication Officer, Samantha Jones, said.
Find out more about their amazing work at Smart Works.
Win a Manuscript Assessment Worth £430 with Mslexia Magazine
If you have no other plans for Monday the 23rd of January 2017, you can take part in Mslexia Magazine’s open event for writers, Mslexia Max Monday. Pop in on their website to meet top authors, editors and literary agents and win some fantastic prizes, including a manuscript assessment worth £430 from us. For more details and to register for free, please visit the Max Monday page.
E. J. Pepper wins First Novel Prize with 'mesmerising and original novel'
The judges of the First Novel Prize writing competition have chosen the First, Second and Third Winners. The three prizes of £1,000, £250 and £100 respectively have been awarded to three original new writers, E.J. Pepper for ‘The Colours of the Dance’, Yaara Lahav Gregory for ‘Night Swimming in the Jordan’ and Clarissa Goenawan for ‘Rainbirds’. Read the judges’ and winners’ statements here.
The First Novel Prize 2016 Shortlist
We are delighted to announce the Shortlist for the First Novel Prize in its inaugural year. After a summer of reading, the three judges, Simon & Schuster editor Carla Josephson, literary agent Robin Wade and literary consultant Lorena Goldsmith have selected ten extraordinary new voices on the shortlist for the First, Second and Third Prizes, due to be announced by the end of September. Read the Shortlist and the judges’ full statements.
First Novel Prize 2016
Entries for the new First Novel Prize 2016 are now welcome.
In its inaugural year, the First Novel Prize is open to previously unpublished and independently published novelists. It aims to discover a powerful new voice in fiction writing and a brilliant debut. Judged by leading literary agent Robin Wade, Simon & Schuster fiction editor Carla Josephson and literary consultant Lorena Goldsmith, the new competition is an opportunity for new writers to expose their work to publishing professionals and win one of the three attractive prizes: £1000 for the First Winner, £250 for the Second Winner and £100 for the Third Winner. The entry fee is £25.
Enter at www.firstnovel.co.uk
New Address for Submissions
All postal submissions should now be sent to our London office at Daniel Goldsmith Associates, Oneustonsq, 40 Melton St, London, NW1 2FD. However, if you have recently submitted your manuscript to our old address, Dallam Court, Dallam Lane, Warrington, WA2 7LT, please don’t worry; the address will still be valid until March 2016, so we will safely receive your manuscript.
New Service: Scriptwriting
We are delighted to announce a new addition to our range of editorial services: scriptwriting assessment. Writers for the screen, TV or stage can have their scripts assessed by two industry experts, Sam Snape and Simon Weitzman. Sam and Simon have produced for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, HBO, ABC, Miramax, Mercury Bay Pictures, Buena Vista International, Deutsches National Theater, Weimar, Tricycle and Brix theatre in London.
‘We want to offer a writer-centric service, with a strong market focus. Through our appraisals, our aim is to bring the writer closer to an option or a sale,’ Simon Weitzman said.