4: Send to ALM




 How to send stuff to ALM, that is, austlit.com (on the net)

Phone us on (612+) 9818 8557, or, if it is difficult to phone, send us a plain enquiry email to check that we wish to see your work. Some kinds of writing are not of interest to us. Our email address:


Or, instead, if you wish, send a one or two-page synopsis of your work.

Please include the word count and category of the work.

Also let me (Lyn Tranter) know if you are an Australian resident.

And you should let us know if any agents or publishers have seen any versions of the work. We cannot ask a publisher to look at your work if they have already read it and rejected it. Note: Because of this, we do not look at work which is under submission to any other agent or publisher.

If we ask to see a sample of your writing, send a copy via email of a one-to-two-page synopsis of your book, together with a copy of the first chapter, and a copy of one other chapter, to our office. Do not send the whole work. If you wish, you may send by the slower and more expensive method of postal mail. Our postal mail address is: Australian Literary Management, 2-A Booth Street, Balmain NSW 2041, Australia. Please do not send any mail that requires a signature.

Please format your work as Rich Text Format (known as “RTF”; any word processor can “Save As” RTF). If you can’t manage that, send it as a Word file. If you wish to send by postal mail, send copies, NOT the originals. Always keep the originals in a safe place. We cannot be responsible for loss of material.

Here are some further points to think about:

1. Return postage: If you wish to send by the slower and more expensive method of postal mail, we ask that you enclose a self-addressed envelope for return of the material, large enough to enclose the material, with sufficient postage. Please make a note of this point: it is easy to overlook. When we receive a submission without return postage, it will not be returned. If you live outside Australia, you may ignore this point, but do not expect your typescript to be returned.

2. Binding: please don’t. We prefer that the material should be in the form of loose sheets, unbound, held together by string or cotton tape, or in a large folder or envelope.

3. Line spacing: the pages should have double-spaced lines of type, or one-and-a-half spaced lines, to make the pages easier to read. We do not accept single-spaced work. Most publishers have these same preferences. ‘Spacing’ here means spacing between the lines of type, not spacing between the words or letters.

4. Name and Address and PAGE Number: Make sure that every item you send is clearly labelled with your name and address. With a manuscript, you do not need to put your name and address on every page: just on the front page. Please number all the pages, and include your name and the title of the work on all pages. Your word processor makes this easy to do by inserting an automatic Header on every page.

5. Do not send cassette tapes, CDs, or video tapes.

6. Do not send mail that needs to be signed for, like registered mail or person-to-person mail.

7. We can take up to six weeks to respond to a submission. Within one week of our receiving your submission we will send you an email confirming that we have received it, and giving you an estimate of when you can expect to hear from us regarding a decision about your submission. If you do not receive this email within a week, please re-send your work. We get a large volume of submissions via email, and occasionally some do not get through our servers.

8. If you choose to send by postal mail, please include (along with your submission) a regular size stamped self-addressed envelope or postcard with ‘acknowledgment of receipt’ written on the back. We will post this back to you as soon as we receive your submission.

9. We repeat: Do not send mail that needs to be signed for.

10. Please do not call in person with your submission. We cannot and will not accommodate personal visits.

11. Important: To help us and yourself, please think about all these points. Then think about the points below, and cut and paste the following five sentences into your email, right at the top:

— This is a submission of my own original literary work to Australian Literary Management.
— It is in Plain Text format, or Rich Text Format, or Word format.
— It is attached to this email.
— I have read and understood all the guidelines on the ALM internet site.
— No other agents or publishers have seen any version of this work, except as I explain below.

We will consider your synopsis and sample chapters and decide whether we wish to look at the full manuscript. This will take from four to six weeks. Please be patient — we get over a thousand submissions a year, and our staff are generally busy with other matters. If we say no, it doesn’t mean you can’t write well. It just means that we can’t handle your work at the moment.

Here are some questions you might have:

Q: Are there other literary agents in Australia?

A: There are over a dozen literary agents in Australia. Here is the Internet site for the Australian Literary Agents’ Association, with members’ contact details, their code of practice, tips on how to find an agent, and dozens of useful literary contacts.

Q: Do you charge a fee to look at a manuscript?

A: No.

Q: Do I have to pay a fee to join your agency?

A: There is no fee to join our agency.

Q: What fees do you charge, then, to represent an author?

A: Like other agents, we charge an agency commission on our writers’ earnings. The usual commission is fifteen per cent. This applies for the life of any contract which we negotiate.

Q: Does this mean that if I join your agency, then later wish to leave, I can do so?

A: Of course — all our authors are free to leave the agency at any time. Keep in mind, though, that our agency commission applies for the life of any contract which we negotiate. This means in most cases that as long as a book is in print for which we have negotiated the publishing contract, we continue to earn our agency commission on the author’s royalties for the sales of that book.

Q: If I send say a hundred pages for you to consider, will you read them all?

A: We may look at a few pages, or we may read the whole thing. We assess manuscripts for our own purposes, and we have to be economical with our time.

Q: I think I need some guidance to help me improve my work. Will ALM read my manuscript and provide this kind of advice?

A: We do not comment on your work, or provide that kind of service. But we do have a list of freelance professional writers and editors we can call on to provide manuscript assessment services for you. The charge to you, for an average novel, is about $400. This service has no connection with ALM’s agency work, and a positive report does not oblige ALM to consider your work. There are many small businesses that offer similar manuscript assessment services, for approximately the same fee. They can usually be contacted through your local writers’ centre.

SAMPLE: Here, below, is a sample page from a hypothetical typescript which a writer might submit to an agent or publisher. It is meant to give a general idea of the kind of page layout that agents and publishers like, so use it as a model. You may click on it to enlarge it. Please note:

1. the plain and readable typeface,
2. the lack of hyphens (hint: turn off “Hyphenation”),
3. the flush-left or left-justified type (hint: turn off “Justification”),
4. the generous margins,
5. the generous line-spacing, and
6. the helpful information in the Running Header. Learn how to apply a Running Header to every page, containing your name and the page number.

Sample submission

Sample submission

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