We are always excited to read submissions from potential new clients. To submit your work for consideration, please read about what we’re looking for below, then email the first three chapters along with a synopsis (preferably as a Word document) and covering letter to either Ella or Bryony, using the email addresses below. Please do not send your work to more than one of us. If we feel that your submission is more suited to another agent within the agency, we will pass it on to them. We welcome and actively encourage submissions from authors of all backgrounds, including those currently under-represented in publishing. Whilst we do consider submissions from international authors, given that we are based in the United Kingdom, we feel that US-based authors will generally be better served by a US-based agent.
Your covering letter should focus on telling us what your book is about, and include a short biography about yourself and any previous writing experience. We do not believe in asking authors to send us their material on an exclusive basis, as it is not in your best interests to do so; however, we do ask that you let us know if another agent is considering your full manuscript. We do not charge a reading fee. Please note our privacy notice which lays out how we use your personal data in a GDPR compliant manner.
You will receive an automatic acknowledgement when your submission has been safely received. We aim to respond to all submissions within six weeks, however during busy periods it may take up to twelve weeks.
Ellai closed to new submissions from August 2020. She will have another open submission window later in the year; please check back in October 2020 for an update.
I love the creative side of the agent/author relationship, and finding authors bursting with energy and ideas. I’m particularly looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with a compelling story and a confident, distinctive writing voice, whether it’s historical, contemporary, uplifting women’s fiction, crime/thriller, or speculative fiction. I am also looking for children’s fiction for the 9-12 and YA age groups in any genre. Please note I am not looking for any adult fantasy for the time being.
I want there to be a sense of purpose and direction to the story, which might be driven by the emotional journey the character goes on, or by a strong, pacy plot with an intriguing concept or ‘hook’ at the heart of the story that’s going to immediately pique my curiosity. I need realistic and engaging characters who I’m going to care about and want to champion, authentic dialogue, and vivid, immersive settings, so I can sink into the world of the story. Some of my favourite fiction reads of recent years (besides my own clients’ books!) that exemplify my taste include The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, Little Deaths by Emma Flint, My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal, The Passage by Justin Cronin, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce, The Last by Hanna Jameson, and Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver.
I am also interested in distinctive memoir, and in narrative non-fiction, focusing on social and cultural topics (both contemporary and historical), historical biography and archaeology. Recent non-fiction I’ve enjoyed includes Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, Step by Step by Simon Reeve, and Lady Fanshawe’s Receipt Book by Lucy Moore.
As an agent, people always ask me what I’m ‘looking for’ in a manuscript. But honestly, I won’t truly know until I’ve found it.
I can tell you that I like strong, distinct voices, vivid characters and powerful stories that grab hold of me and won’t let me go. I like books that make me laugh, books that make me cry. Gothic novels; historical mysteries; fairytales; ghost stories; contemporary novels with a classic feel. Stories with a touch of magic. Narratives with a unique twist, or told from an unusual perspective. Quirky books for children and compelling fiction for young adults, from heartbreaking tales to exciting adventures. Stories that are dark, honest, strange and different. Books that surprise me, stories that transport me to other worlds.
All of my favourite books are ones I did not know I was looking for, but once I had found them I simply could not imagine my life without them.
So send me something. Anything. It may not be what I think I’m looking for, but it might just capture my heart.