What's your genre?

Genre-specific advice for writers of adult fiction and non-fiction

Historical fiction

We love historical fiction! A fair few of our editors have written hist fic, and some of our most successful clients have done the same. Words of wisdom here:

Crime fiction & thrillers

And we love crime too. Harry Bingham, the WW boss, writes it, as do many of the WW editors.

Women's fiction

Women's fiction is a broad, broad area. Although it does include traditional romance, it really includes any book written by a woman for women, and that has a relationship (not necessarily a romantic one) at its heart. To sell in this most crowded of marketplaces, you need to get intimate with your characters - the reader needs to feel their inner worlds. Oh yes, and you need to be funny, warm and moving too.

Fantasy, sci-fi and horror

Fantasy and SF are probably the hardest areas in which to find acceptance from a literary agent - but good writing WILL nevertheless find both an agent and a publisher. Words of wisdom below.S

Literary fiction

Literary fiction is the hardest 'genre' to give advice on. You simply have to write superbly. And with originality. And hang all that around a concept that will get the sales & marketing folk on a publishers' acquisition committee sitting up with excitement. So everything on this website, more or less, matters to you. Instead of trying to index that all, here are some literary authors, agents and publisher talking about what matters to them.

The illustration on the left, by the way, is from our Festival prizewinner Shelley Harris, who ended the Festival with 6 agents interested in taking her on ... and went on to secure an excellent two book deal with Weidenfeld & Nicholson.

Short stories

There's not much of a market for short stories, but that doesn't mean there's no market - and of course it remains true that writing powerful short fiction remains the first step for many writers on their way to producing their first novel.


Travel remains a perennial seller in the bookshops - but you do need to be aware of the market. It's not enough to scribble up your backpacker adventures. You need to know what books are already out there and to have a clear sense of how your book adds something new to the mix. And of course, whatever your tale, sense of place is absolutely crucial.


More and more people are writing memoirs - and quite right too. Every life deserves commemoration. But if you want to get your work commercially published, you do need a stunning concept and stunning execution. (Our bestselling clients Barbara Tate and John Fenton achieved that with their memoirs, West End Girls and Please Don't Make Me Go.)


Writing poetry is the most fulfilling branch of writing ... but getting it published is unquestionably the hardest. We are here to give professional, detailed & constructive feedback on your verse. We can also guide you as to your publication options. In short, if you write poetry and want help, then you've come to the right place.

Book proposals

If you're writing non-fiction, you may (joy of joys!) be able to get an agent and a book deal on the back of a proposal instead of a full length manuscript. Subject-led non-fiction ('How to Train your Horse' for example) can normally be sold with a proposal alone. More creative non-fiction (memoir, for example) will usually need to be written at full length. More info here: