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Profile Summary

Allan is an agent at Jenny Brown Associates – Scotland’s best known literary agency. (Though Allan himself is Orcadian by birth, there are not yet any well-established agencies on the Orkney Islands.)

Allan is deeply involved in the crime scene, being both a prize-winning crime novelist in his own right and the founder of Blasted Heath, an ezine and author showcase devoted to noir and hardboiled crime fiction (roughly Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and everyone else who has since opted to write in that grand tradition.) He’s appeared as a speaker at the Bloody Scotland crime event and is well-connected with many people on the Tartan Noir scene.

While Allan is certainly going to be an automatic choice for any Scots person writing gritty crime, the agency is certainly open to writers from anywhere else, so if you write gritty crime / thrillers, Allan might well be a natural door for you to knock on.

His advice to writers is refreshingly commercial: “Write a compelling book for which there's a big market.” That certainly covers anything in the crime and thriller territory, but could easily also cover historical adventure, for example. We don’t think that Allan handles women’s fiction particularly, but he might also be a good candidate for domestic noir / psychological thrillers . . . anything in the Gone Girl / Girl on a Train / Before you Sleep type mould.

Do also note that while Allan is open to self-published work, he – like most agents – wants to see eye-popping sales figures before being confident of a broader market. He talks mentions wanting to see sales in six figures for self-pub, though we suspect that if you’ve made actual sales (rather than just free downloads) of 50,000 or more, he’d certainly want to talk to you.

Allan has a particular interest in the digital scene, having set up his own digital first publisher and making some strong comments elsewhere about the natural evolution between print and digital. Allan’s own crime fiction has been very successful, having won or been shortlisted for the Theakston's Crime Novel Of The Year, Best Novel (New Voice), CWA Debut Dagger, MWA Edgar, Anthony, Last Laugh and Gumshoe awards. If you want to read his work, Two-Way Split is probably the place to start.

Detailed data

Jenny Brown Associates
Agent since:
Short biography:

Allan Guthrie is an agent, but - unusually - also a novelist, writing dark (and sometimes comic) crime fiction. He was born in Orkney, but has lived in Edinburgh for most of his adult life. He is married to Donna and has a dog called Eddie. He is the winner of the Theakston's Crime Novel Of The Year 2007, for his debut novel, Two-Way Split. Hard Man (2007) won the inaugural Spinetingler award for Best Novel (New Voice). His novels have also been shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger, MWA Edgar, Anthony, Last Laugh and Gumshoe awards. In November 2011, he co-founded Blasted Heath, the first digital-only publisher in Scotland, with Kyle MacRae. He has worked in the book trade since 1996.

Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
General Fiction, Crime, thriller, action, Historical fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

Stacks of Enid Blyton. But when I was nine my primary school teacher told me I was too old to be reading that puerile muck and recommended Agatha Christie. I borrowed all my teacher's copies, read them back to back, and then hit the library. Went through all they had too, including all the large print editions. Don't think I understood half of what I read, but that didn't stop me. That teacher was great. She encouraged me to read more adventurously, but she also let me write in the afternoons twice a week while everybody else was drawing. I never thought about it before but she probably wasn't too happy when I turned in my novel at the end of the year (yes, I was a precocious wee shite). It was called The Fabulous Fourteen, a tad more Blyton than Christie. A particular favourite is Balzac.

Other loves & passions:

Crime, darkness, noir. Also very open to digital projects. Allan is the mastermind behind NOIR ORIGINALS - established in 2003 as an author showcase and ezine dedicated to noir and hardboiled fiction. On the digital revolution he comments, "One thing I do know is that publishers en masse are far from doomed. Some will struggle, others will adapt, others will blossom. Just as it's always been. The publishing industry survived the advent of the paperback original back in the '50s. The ebook is just the new paperback original. It's a new format that impacts on the current ones and nobody's entirely sure how that's going to play out. I don't see digital taking over entirely, but it will get bigger, rapidly, and savvy publishers will realise that they have a far safer business model if they release digital editions of their books first, with print copies to follow if the digital editions sell well, which will make the digital rise exponential. We will also see the rise of digital-only publishers, bringing their own brand of expertise."

How to make a submission:
Not always open for submissions - check under the agent's name on the agency website.
Other advice and background:

Allan's advice to authors is pretty simple: "Write a compelling book for which there's a big market." On self-pub authors wanting to make the leap to conventional publishing, he comments, "There's no doubt that if you have sales in six figures you'll have a decent chance of interesting an agent."

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Follow on Twitter:
Interesting links:
The following names represent the full agency client list: Annemarie Allan, Lin Anderson, David Barnes, Emma Barnes, Nicola Barry, Richard Bath, Alison Baverstock, Mark Beaumont, David Belbin, Jim Bilsland, Stephen Blackmore, Richard Blandford, Ned Boulting, Graeme Bowman, Sean Bridges, Neil Broadfoot, Declan Burke, Simon Burton, Angus Calder, Ewen Cameron, Neil Cocker, Jeff Connor, Linda Cracknell, Jim Crumley, Catherine de Courcy, Des Dillon, Peter Dorward, Robert Douglas, Neil Drysdale, Christopher Edge, Kim Elliott, Stephanie Ellyne, Jennie Erdal, Christa Faust, Russell Findlay, Stona Fitch, Helen Fitzgerald, Derek Flory, Donna Ford, Gavin Francis, Gill Fyffe, Nuala Gardner, Rodge Glass, Alasdair Gray, Alex Gray, Keith Gray, Martin Greig, Chas Griffin, Allan Guthrie, Gaby Halberstam, Sophie Hardach, Tim Harris, Denise Haskew, Joanna Hickson, Laura Hird, Fiona Houston, Chris Hoy, Roger Hutchinson, Ewart Hutton, Emma Huxter, Vicky Jack, Douglas Jackson, James Jauncey, Doug Johnstone, Ed Jones, Zannah Kearns, Guy Kennaway, Gary Kissick, Patrick Lambe, Tom Lappin, Sue Lawrence, Will Lawson, Tracey Lawson, Anne MacLeod, Richard Madelin, Sara Maitland, Laura Marney, Sue Martin, Graham McColl, William McIntyre, Russel D McLean, Jonatha Meres, Xa Milne, Grace Monroe, Donna Moore, Richard Moore, Janet Morgan, Carey Morning, Erica Munro, Alison Murray, Andrew Newbound, Audrey Niven, Dennis O'Donnell, Steve Parker, Stuart Paterson, Alan Pattullo, Brian Pendreigh, Dexter Petley, Robin Pilcher, Tom Pow, Danielle Ramsay, Jeff Randall, John Rector, Jonathan Rendall, Alex Renton, George Robertson, Rob Robertson, Willie Robertson, Craig Robertson, Alan Rough, Sandra Ruttan, Suhayl Saadi, Karl Sabbagh, Alastair Scott, Mike Scott, Ruth Scott, Susan Sellers, Sara Sheridan, Barrie Sherwood, Aiden Smith, Natasha Solomons, Graham Spiers, Kenneth Steven, Daniel Stuart, Gary Sutherland, Stephen Thompson, Alice Thompson, Graeme Thomson, Maria Thomson, Paul Torday, Mary Turner Thomson, Alistair Urquhart, Zoe Venditozzi, John Ward, D V Wesselmann, Mark Whitaker, Dave White, Christopher Whyte, Kevin Williamson, Jim Wilson, Esther Woolfson.
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: Jenny Brown Associates

Agency details

About the agency:
Founded in 2002, Jenny Brown Associates has quickly become one of the leading literary agencies in the UK, the biggest literary agent in Scotland and a literary agent with a worldwide reputation.
Address for submissions:
Jenny Brown Associates, 33, Argyle Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1JT
Office address:
No data
Email address:
Phone number:
0131 229 5334
Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Other - see details
Further submission info:
We prefer to receive submissions by email. You will find our individual preferences and email addresses listed on our Agents page. We read all submissions made to us in order of receipt. Please note that we will only respond to submissions if we wish to read more. If you have not heard back from us within eight weeks then you can assume that we do not feel that the work is right for our agency. If you cannot submit by e-mail, then send a hard copy to your preferred agent. We will only respond if we wish to see more. Unfortunately we are unable to return material submitted, and our policy is to recycle all materials. For fiction, send us the first 50 pages (no more) and a synopsis in a single document, with a covering letter. For non-fiction, email a proposal and short example of the proposed work - a sample chapter, for instance. Please include a short note on the competing or comparable literature stating, where possible, author, title, publisher and publication date. It would be helpful to have an overview of possible marketing outlets and a biographical note outlining your background, training and experience. For children's, we do not represent poetry or plays. If you are submitting fiction, send a covering letter together with a synopsis of your novel and the first three chapters (unless it is a picture book, in which case, please send the full story). If you are an illustrator, please e-mail a selection of JPEGs with a covering letter, and if you also write stories, please send those too. Please write a covering letter in the body of the email giving an account of the background of the book and your writing career to date. If you have been referred to us by a publishing or personal contact then make this clear. If you have had previous correspondence with one of our agents please mention this. We would appreciate knowing if your project has been sent to or is being considered by other agents or publishers.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
Member of the AAA:
Overseas offices:
No data
Accepts overseas writers:
Follow on Twitter:
Latest news:
More about the agency:
Founded in 2002, Jenny Brown Associates has quickly become one of the leading literary agencies in the UK, the biggest literary agent in Scotland and a literary agent with a worldwide reputation.

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