Diane Armstrong - How Selwa Became My Agent

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.

As I read the article, I recalled her vibrant, enthusiastic personality. She sounded very feisty, just the ideal person I would want to represent me, but I had no way of getting in touch with her, as she had said in the article that she wasn’t looking for authors.

When I called the Australian Society of Authors in the hope of getting her contact details, the woman who took the call told me that Selwa didn’t give out her phone number, but I could leave my details, and if she was interested, she would get in touch. Then she added, “If you can get into Selwa’s stable, you’ll be eating oats!”

Shortly afterwards, Selwa called me. She liked the sound of my memoir and asked me to send her what I had written, which at that point was only three chapters. “Don’t expect to hear from me before two weeks,” she warned me. That was on Wednesday.

That Sunday evening, when I got home, there was a message on my phone. I heard Selwa’s voice and she said three words that made me dance around my study. “I love it,” she said. Then she added, “Don’t forget, I’m your agent from now on!”

When my manuscript was completed, she offered it to several leading publishers who became involved in a bidding war.

Since then, I have written five more books – the most recent one will be published this September, 2019.

Selwa has been my agent from that first day, and I can’t imagine a more supportive, encouraging, caring, and feisty literary agent.