How Selwa Became My Agent

Selwa’s authors tell their stories of meeting Selwa and how she became their literary agent.

Anne McCullagh Rennie:

After twelve years teaching Suzuki Piano and running multi-piano workshops and concerts in Sydney, culminating in my staging The Suzuki 21 Piano Salute to the Bicentenary, (that included 21 pianos, strings, woodwind, 200 kids and 20 teachers), I needed a change.  Encouraged by my husband to ‘Give it a go’ and follow my dream to write bestsellers, I wrote and published Pain-free Living, a cookbook for arthritis sufferers. I then joined every writing group I could find and started writing my first novel.  One of those groups was the Society of Women Writers. They were desperate for a secretary.   Read more » “Anne McCullagh Rennie”

Michelle Hamer:

Fifteen years ago, I thought I had my first publishing deal all sewn up, but when it came to the nitty gritty I was out of my depth. As a freelance journalist I was accustomed to selling my writing and negotiating payments, but book publishing was a whole new world and I wasn’t coping.

By chance I interviewed another journalist-turned-author at that time and told her of my difficulties.

    Read more » “Michelle Hamer”

Gwen Wilson:

After years of working on a memoir and finally honing it to her satisfaction, my editor recommended me to Selwa.

I’d been aware of Selwa Anthony for years, but never dreamed I would make the grade to be one of her authors.

Within days of receiving the manuscript Selwa called me!   Read more » “Gwen Wilson”

Andrew Daddo:

Ah, the circuitous route to the place you should have been all along!

It felt like a backdoor entry to a special club – no secret handshake or code word, but certainly the right introduction from the right person.

And from the very beginning it was a matter of working together as opposed to being ‘taken on board’.  Selwa was able to help uncover the possibilities in a writing career that was underway but in need of direction.   Read more » “Andrew Daddo”

Sam & Jenny Bailey:

In 1999, the year we married, our story appeared in The Australian Women’s Weekly. Tucked away at the end of the article was a throw-away line that happened to mention we would like to write a book about our story one day.

A few days later a note arrived in our mailbox from a literary agent called Selwa Anthony – who at that stage we hadn’t heard of. We quickly discovered she was a legend in the publishing industry. We made contact with her and she re-iterated her offer to help if we wanted to write our story.   Read more » “Sam & Jenny Bailey”

Johanna Nicholls:

An author needs a great agent. One who knows the changing climate of the literary world. One who is always at your back, fights for your rights and has the wisdom to know how to give you constructive criticism that helps lead you to successful publication.

Selwa Anthony has been all that and more to me throughout the writing and publication of my first four Australian historical novels: Ironbark, Ghost Gum Valley, The Lace Balcony, and Golden Hope in Australia and overseas, and their Talking Book editions.   Read more » “Johanna Nicholls”

Frauke Bolton-Boshammer:

I met Selwa through friends.

I flew to Sydney from Kununurra to meet her. She was extremely helpful. She picked me up from the hotel to come to her place for afternoon tea. The homemade scones were delicious.

I was very, very impressed by all the books she had helped to be published.   Read more » “Frauke Bolton-Boshammer”

Joanne van Os:

Around 2001, I decided to write an account of my life with the real Crocodile Dundee. Writing the story of how your ex-husband killed a police officer and wounded several other people, and was then shot dead, was not something I wanted to do, but it was necessary.

Before I ventured down that road, I rang an editor friend in Sydney. She said mine was a sensitive and difficult story to write. I needed an agent, and the agent I needed was Selwa Anthony.

“She’s the best person you could get to represent you,” she said.   Read more » “Joanne van Os”

John Suter Linton:

To cut a very long story short, in the mid-90s I found myself with a decommissioned manuscript. That is, the publishing house I was contracted to had decided to let my publisher go and, therefore, cancelled all their commissioned works. How I got the original publishing deal was through a friend of a friend. So now, I had no agent and no idea on what to do with the manuscript.

To distract myself I began editing the manuscript and took up ten-pin bowling. At the time, it was decided bowling would be an exhibition game at the 2000 Olympics. I wasn’t bad at the game and, well, a young bloke can dream.

In one of the many leagues I bowled, I meet an accountant who told me they had a literary agent as a client.   Read more » “John Suter Linton”

Nadine Williams:

Many years ago, when I worked at the Advertiser, I came across a feature in our Broadsheet newspaper about this exciting agent for Australian authors. It was in the 1990s, and for some reason I kept it, taken by the striking woman whose portrait took up half the page.

In 2004, I met a widower, a handsome French-born Australian with a melodic Gallic accent, who took me back to France, wooed me and won my heart. I had been a feisty feminist and forged a career as such at the Advertiser. I once wrote a column about the “romance myth” and here I was, a 50-something middle-aged woman, falling to his charms.   Read more » “Nadine Williams”

Gail Bell:

During a stay at Varuna Writers’ House in Katoomba in 2000, I met the writer, Loubna Haikal. We had a lot in common, including a strong desire to see our first books published. I’d recently been taken on by a small publisher and although I was initially thrilled to have my work recognized, I’d begun to have misgivings about the transaction I’d entered into. As a newcomer, I needed more attention than the publisher was able to provide and I poured out my fears to Loubna, who seemed to be in better hands than I was.

“You need an agent,” she said.

Her agent was Selwa Anthony.   Read more » “Gail Bell”

Paul de Gelder:

I met my agent Selwa Anthony at the exact time that I needed a guiding angel.

I was killing myself trying to hold onto a career after a serious injury, a job which I could no longer effectively do whilst also maintaining my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Forced out of the military and untrained in how to work in the civilian world, a friend of a friend led me to Selwa.   Read more » “Paul de Gelder”

Shannon Garner:

My first introduction to Selwa Anthony was via an internet search as I sat at my writing desk dreaming of becoming a published author. I’d been writing for many years, pursuing something I truly loved but with very little gain or recognition.

My search for “Australia’s best author agent” led me to several articles about Selwa. I clicked on a picture of her in an indigo sequin dress, her chin held high and eyes steely. I sat at my desk reading about her positive attitude to life, her deep-seated loyalty and, of course, all the incredible authors she’d helped. I quickly printed the picture and pinned it to my vision board knowing that, one day, Selwa Anthony would be my agent.   Read more » “Shannon Garner”

Traci Harding:

When I completed my first manuscript, The Ancient Future, I printed it and give a bound copy to my mum that Christmas – 1994. My mother loved the story and to be sure she wasn’t being biased, she gave the manuscript to an actress friend, Lyn Rainbow, to read.

Lyn was impressed and asked me if I would like her to send it to a literary agent she knew. Of course I was very agreeable to the idea and whilst I was waiting for the manuscript to be read by said agent, a friend of mine in publishing sales asked who the agent was. When I informed him it was Selwa Anthony, he freaked out – in a good way.   Read more » “Traci Harding”

Karen Davis:

I met my literary agent, Selwa Anthony, long before I ever thought of becoming a writer myself.

My mother, Lynne Wilding, was one of Selwa’s first group of authors. I believe they met at a Romance Writers of Australia event (my mother was the president of the organisation at the time) and hit it off instantly. From that time on, Selwa became my mother’s literary agent.

Thirteen international best-sellers followed, all under Selwa’s management, until my mother passed away in 2007.   Read more » “Karen Davis”