Mayfair Literary Agency

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What we are looking for


The publishing industry is tough to break into, especially in Australia. The competition is fierce and the market is relatively small. We are looking for exceptional Australian writers who:

  • Are easy to work with
  • Are professional and polite
  • Just love to write and write and write some more
  • Are willing to give author talks at schools, libraries and festivals
  • Are willing to engage in social media in using a platform that suits them

Picture Books

Picture books are hard to get right. The story needs to appeal to both children and parents. Let's face it: parents are less likely to buy a book if they don’t enjoy reading it. Here are some things we’d love to see in picture books:

  • Funny, in a cute or sweet way
  • Heart, heart, heart
  • Surprising storylines. Think about the best selling picture books you know – they typically have a surprising element about them
  • Festive themes are often popular, such as birthdays, Christmas or Easter
  • Lovely and loveable
  • Picture books with girl characters 
  • Keen for author/illustrators of simple board books with bold colourful pictures and a touch of humour
  • Go easy on teaching lessons. Having a moral in the story is fine however it can't be over the top
  • Unique animals. Think silk worms, numbats, fairy penguins, etc.
  • Potential to be turned into a series – this is because children love reading books with familiar characters. Plus, as a buyer of picture books I’m more likely to purchase a book that I’m positive my children are going to love
  • Uses words that kids enjoy saying (e.g. NO)
  • Asks questions (because little children ask a lot of questions)
  • Some showing not all telling 
  • Please NO rhyming books unless you are as good as Pamela Allen. However, some alliteration can be good
  • No scary storylines please
  • Note: we are only interested in authors or author/illustrators. No illustrators at the moment, sorry
  • Word length up to 500 words.

Junior fiction/ Middle Grade

Junior fiction (7-10) and middle grade (8-12) is such a fun age to write for. Note: we are very, very, very keen for JF and MG manuscripts. There is a lot of humour on the market, because humour sells. Characters are very important in middle grade. Children need to be able to relate to the main character and want to go on the journey with them. Some tips:

  • Look for a gap in the market
  • Are the stakes high enough?
  • Ask yourself, ‘What is the worst thing that could happen to my main character right now?’
  • Polish your manuscript as much as possible before sending it out
  • Unique and interesting characters are great
  • Make sure you have fantastic world building
  • Consider using humour where possible
  • The plot should have plenty of hooks
  • The pacing needs to be right – this is hard to do and takes practice
  • Stories should be max PG rated. No swearing etc
  • No stereotypes and clichés please
  • We love fantasy, adventure, humour, contemporary, drama, friendship, action, comedy, dystopian, mystery, fairy tales, sci-fi, myth, sport and magical realism, boarding schools
  • Word length up to 60,000 (unless it is fantasy which can be slightly longer)
  • Please don’t submit any ghost stories or horror
  • We're not a big fan of present tense

Young Adults

The young adult market is very tough. Teenagers seem to read less than children. You're competing against piles of homework, sport, friends, part-time jobs, phones, social media, YouTube, Netflix, movies etc. Your manuscript needs to be so interesting that teenagers will want to read it instead of doing a million other fun things, like eating chocolate or watching a movie. Some tips:

  • High stakes and heart, heart, heart
  • Emotional connection. Teen voice
  • Plot needs to be so riveting that readers don’t want to put it down, then when they finish it they want to tell all their friends about this awesome book they just read
  • Love triangles seem to be popular (but don’t just write for a trend)
  • Writing in first person is very common
  • There needs to be more humour in YA
  • No stereotypes and clichés please
  • Please don’t centre the plot around school. The manuscript can have school incorporated into the storyline, just don’t make it the whole story. Generally, teenagers read to escape
  • Prefer PG. It’s more commercial, especially for the tween market. No sex scenes
  • At the top of our wish list would be a fresh and unique rom-com. Sweet, funny and intensely amusing
  • Polish your manuscript as much as possible before sending it out
  • Hooks, hooks and more hooks. Make sure the plot has plenty of hooks and the pacing is right
  • Unique and interesting characters are great, plus fantastic world building
  • We love fantasy, adventure, contemporary, humour, friendship, bitter-sweet tragedies, romantic comedies, sci-fi, drama, action, myth, competitions and magical realism
  • Not dark or overly violent 
  • Please don’t submit any horror, dystopian or thrillers
  • We are looking only for commercial manuscripts not literary books.