*I'M NOW CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2018*
Submissions received in August shall be automatically deleted. Enjoy the rest of the summer or use this time to make your book even better or, controversial idea, to ensure you're really following the submission guidelines. Happy writing, everyone!
How to submit
If writing is for you the most important thing in the world then, you are a writer. I'm open to submissions and if you're confident I represent the type of book you want to submit (see the "About" page), I would love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org but first, read below. All of it.
I accept submissions only by email at the address above but don't put the material in the body of the email; a Word document or equivalent format (but not pdf please as they don't read well on my electronic reader) attached to an email is perfect. Save stamps and don't submit by post. Submissions received by post will not be returned and will end up in the big recycling bin in the sky where all lost submissions go.
Additionally, there seems to be some confusion regarding how to address agents in general, and me in particular so I'll try to be as clear as I can.
I'm a woman, so do not address your email to 'Dear Sir', 'Dear Mr Leonardis' (that's my late father's name and he was not a literary agent), 'Dear Mr Martin' (that's my husband's name and he's not a literary agent either), 'Dear Mr Martin Leonardis', or any permutation thereof.
I work alone. There's only me in the agency, so do not address your email to 'Dear Sirs', 'Dear Sir or Madam', 'Dear team', 'To whom it might concern', or any variation thereof.
My name is Federica. That's my name and the only acceptable spelling of my name, so do not address your email to 'Dear Martin' since there's nobody with that name in the agency.
The acceptable ways to address your email are: 'Dear Federica', 'Dear Ms/Miss Leonardis'and 'Dear Ms/Mrs Martin-Leonardis'. I'm not precious about which one.
As harsh as it might seem, I'm very strict on this because I believe it tells me a lot about how seriously you take your writing, so any email addressed incorrectly will be deleted unread.
If you would like me to consider your novel for representation, email me the complete manuscript. There's no need to email me first to ask if you can send it. Do not submit pages from an unfinished novel. Do not submit multiple novels. Do not submit ideas for a novel or novels; I will not advise you whether your idea is viable.
In the email, please include a 250 words pitch that will make me want to read more. Imagine I’m in a bookshop and I see your book on a table; I pick it up because I like the cover or the title or both; I turn it over to read the description. What does it say? That’s your pitch. And yes, readers are that ruthless. So, what’s your story about? What’s the premise?
Also, don't forget to tell me which category your novel falls in, the word-count and the titles you would compare it to. Tell me a little about yourself. Be polite, make sure you spell my name correctly and that you and someone you trust have proofread your email and your pitch. But above all, be polite and be yourself.
When it comes to non-fiction submissions I will consider three P's: pitch, proposal and platform.
Pitch here is the same as for fiction.
The proposal should contain the following elements: introduction, table of contents, chapter structure with a title for each chapter, a summary for each chapter with the points you intend to cover and a conclusion. In your proposal you should also touch upon a list of publications on the same subject and what makes your book different and necessary. A list of marketing and publicity opportunities is also useful.
The author platform is very important for non-fiction books. It should answer the following questions: why are you the best person to write this book? What makes you an authority on this subject? Why would people spend money to read what you have to say? It's not about your following on social media (which is important) but it's about credibility, reputation, experience and general professional standing in your chosen field. The importance of a platform depends greatly on the type of book but the above should be a useful starting point.
When preparing to submit you might find this article useful; however, people much cleverer than I am have written in detail about proposal and platform. A Google search will bring up useful links (like this one) that I urge you to read and research before you submit but you may find Jane Friedman's blog posts on proposal and platform particularly helpful.
I'll try to respond to your query within six to eight weeks. This won't always be possible so apologies in advance. By all means do let me know if you have received offer of representation from another agent but other than that, as frustrating as I know it is, your best option is to be patient and I will respond.