Monday, December 12, 2011

Humorous novels and agent specialisation

Just browsing your site re US agents and wondering if there are many agents in Australia who are dedicated to humour/satire genre or is it best to approach a US agent?

Would much appreciate any advice you have regarding this, my partner has written 2 complete novels and madly starting his third, is as yet unpublished and about to approach some agents with one of his manuscripts.

Agents in Australian can't really afford to specialise in one genre of anything - some reasons can be found here - so you're not going to be able to find out if they're interested in humour/satire unless you send a submission. You can presume that if an agent or agency is accepting fiction submissions, they'll be interested in a funny story unless they explicitly say otherwise. Your partner may also wish to query US agents at the same time and he should mention that he's doing so when he sends his submission to Australian agents.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Staying on the right side of the law

I'm looking to write a kind of Bill Bryson memoir of my year working in a coal mine. Can I just change the names of the people and not mention where the place was and be O.K.?

To be safe you should change names, places and identifying characteristics (don't just change a person's name, change their hair colour and height), and also make sure you keep a record of what you've changed and what the new name/place/etc is. Of course, I'm suggesting you do this on the presumption that what you've written is potentially defamatory, or may be construed as such, because that's the main reason to be nervous about using identifying details. But even if you're not defaming anyone else, it's often a good idea in a memoir to be vague about some of this information.

What intrigues me most about your question, though, is that fact that you're writing a 'Bill Bryson memoir' about working in a coal mine. My brain is trying to understand what that would be like!