The Frontlist

One of the great frustrations for any writer, published or unpublished, is the difficulty of getting your work under the noses of those who matter. Only recently I sent a letter to an editor at a major publishing company and, though the letter was not a query about an unpublished manuscript, it was treated as such by this person’s secretary. There are many people between you and your potential editor/agent, and anything that can help close that gap gets the thumbs up from me.

For a few months, I’ve been corresponding with an author who knows I don’t yet have an agent. Yesterday he sent me a link to a new site called The Frontlist.

This is a writer’s showcase site where would-be authors can upload their stuff and have it rated. What’s the difference between that and the plethora of writing showcase sites (UKAuthors and Laura Hird’s showcase spring to mind), I hear you cry? Well, each month the administrators of The Frontlist will forward those pieces with the highest review marks to agents actively seeking new authors in specific genres.

According to Tom Lodge, one of the people behind The Frontlist, the agents are all reputable (i.e. are listed in the W&A Yearbook) and have been engaged in the process since the beginning. If an agent likes an author’s work, the author is free to pursue the relationship. The Frontlist doesn’t ask for an ‘introduction fee’; it’s also free to upload your work.

What’s the catch, I (also) hear you cry? Well, in order to upload your own stuff (synopsis and sample chapters) you must review the work of other authors. Such reviews are quite detailed and, if you’d like to see what people have been writing about your own stuff, The Frontlist will supply them for a small fee. That’s how they make their money.

I think this site is definitely worth a go. Bear in mind that, at the moment, there are few pieces on the site. That means you’ve got a better chance of being the best-rated in a particular genre at the end of the month.

Perhaps I should finish by saying that I’m not involved with this site (though I’ve upload some stuff to it).

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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