How Selwa Became My Agent

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

Susanna de Vries

I attended a talk Selwa gave at Brisbane’s South Bank auditorium with Di Morrissey. As Jill Wran was retiring as my agent, I asked a question from the audience as to whether Selwa took on non-fiction authors and biographers. She asked my name and I told her. She said she had sold my book Pioneer Women, Pioneer Land in her bookshop and it had sold well, and she asked to see me after her talk. I was delighted, as lots of wannabe authors were there all wanting to get on her list. We got on well together and she took me on.   Read more » “Susanna de Vries”

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Mandy Johnson

I met Selwa through another author and her vast knowledge and experience of the publishing industry has been a godsend to me. I had previously published a book but had been unsuccessful at getting it made into an audiobook. Selwa said, “Leave it with me,” and, like a magician, within a few months I had an audiobook contract. She works tirelessly for her authors, as well as being a fabulous advocate for all Australian writing. We would be a poorer industry without…   Read more » “Mandy Johnson”

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Dr Karen Brooks

Long before I met Selwa, I’d heard about her. It’s actually more a case of who in the literary community hadn’t. Those I knew who were represented by Selwa Anthony were the envy of other authors.

I’d been with a different agent for about five years when, due to a range of factors, I started to think of leaving her services. As it happened, two people involved in publishing (one an author, the other an editor), told me Selwa would be the ideal agent for me and my work and I should make contact. I was very nervous but took their advice and phoned her.   Read more » “Dr Karen Brooks”

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Lesley Truffle

When Selwa rang me from Sydney and laughingly told me to sit down before announcing she’d secured me a two-book contract with a major publisher, I was gobsmacked. It was way beyond my wildest dreams. I stuck the publisher’s confirmation email to my fridge door. Then I perused it for days as I ate my breakfast muesli, until the audacious notion of being published sank in.

My manuscript had been brought to Selwa’s attention by Irina Dunn, the director of ID Editing and Publishing Consultancy. I hadn’t yet met Selwa but I’d read about her in the press and was familiar with the writers she represented.   Read more » “Lesley Truffle”

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Kim Kelly

I was a young and clueless book editor, just starting my career at Random House, when I first encountered Selwa Anthony – on the telephone.

“Now, I need half a dozen copies,” she said, of whatever title it was she was after. “Gratis, please. It’s for a charity event.”

“But – ” I couldn’t authorise free copies of books. “I’m not sure – ”

“Just tell them they’re for Selwa.”   Read more » “Kim Kelly”

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Julie Shackman

When I approached Selwa with my third novel, A Room at the Manor, in April, 2017, I honestly hadn’t expected to hear back.

I had read about Selwa’s phenomenal reputation in the Australian literary world and assumed that with her impressive client list, she would more than likely reply with a polite decline.

I recall emailing her my synopsis and first ten pages of my novel on that Saturday afternoon, only to be lost for words when an email reply pinged in my inbox from her on the Monday morning, saying she enjoyed my writing and could I send her the full manuscript?   Read more » “Julie Shackman”

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John Ahern

I was privately referred to Selwa Anthony’s literary agency after having my draft manuscript professionally assessed.

Selwa provided very specific and insightful advice regarding structure and some of the chapters, and after working through those suggestions, she agreed to represent me, promptly negotiating a publishing contract with Pan Macmillan Australia. Audio, UK and movie rights deals followed.   Read more » “John Ahern”

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Maggie Groff

Over twenty years ago, in their quest to find valid reasons to support a need for more childcare, some professional working mothers took to the media and denigrated full-time motherhood as a waste of higher education. I took offence at this notion and wrote to a national newspaper outlining the benefits of a good education for all mothers. The letter received an amazing response, and all of it positive. It was stuck on walls across Australia – in offices, at railway stations, in shopping centres and cafes – I guess it went viral for those times.   Read more » “Maggie Groff”

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Diane Armstrong

When I started writing my first book, my family memoir Mosaic, people told me I should find an agent.

While I was thinking about it, I came across an article in the colour magazine of the Weekend Australian, about a literary agent called Selwa Anthony. I remembered that we had met briefly many years earlier, before she had become a literary agent, when her daughter Anthea and my daughter Justine had become friends at school.   Read more » “Diane Armstrong”

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Rosie Mackenzie

I was first put in touch with Selwa in 2012 by an editor, Catherine Hammond, who loved the novel that I had sent to her for editing. She said she normally didn’t recommend authors to her friend, Selwa, but in this case she wanted to as she thought the novel was Selwa’s sort of book.

As it turned out, Selwa didn’t think the novel was for her, so rejected it.   Read more » “Rosie Mackenzie”

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Gus Worland

My brother spoke so glowingly about ‘his agent’ for so many years, when I first thought about writing a book, I asked him for an introduction. He organised it and he warned me: “She’s a very professional, beautiful person – behave yourself! No rude jokes! Be on your best behaviour.” He was right! Selwa and her beautiful family are simply the best at what they do in Australia – maybe the world! Honest, kind and professional. If you’re with Selwa you feel part of a…   Read more » “Gus Worland”

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