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Profile Summary

Michael established himself in the world of publishing working with Oxford University Press, Aurum Press, Macmillan, and Boxtree before setting out on his own. Michael Alcock Management was founded in 1997 and focused on Michael's first love: non-fiction. In 2003, he joined with John Johnson's Authors' Agents, themselves focusing primarily on fiction work, to form Johnson & Alcock Literary Agency.

Non-fiction remains the main focus for Michael's list, with particular emphasis on current affairs, history, health, memoir/biography, psychology, popular science, and lifestyle. The agency's website does not break down clients by agent, so it is difficult to pin down Michael's interests more specifically. While he does look after a handful of fiction authors as well, he rarely takes on new clients in that area. If you are looking to submit fiction, it is suggested you try another agent at Johnson & Alcock instead. 

Michael has no personal online presence and rarely does interviews, so more information is hard to come by. Unusually for non-fiction submissions, he asks for the same content as a fiction submission: synopsis and the first three chapters, rather than the more common 'proposal'. In such a synopsis, Michael looks for a clear narrative arc for the book and have it detailed in 'un-hyperbolic' terms. In other words, don't exaggerate to get his attention. Potential clients should be aware of market trends and where their work would fit amongst similar titles. 

Detailed data

Johnson and Alcock
Agent since:
Short biography:
Michael Alcock read Classics at the University of Bristol. He began his publishing career at Oxford University Press, and was publishing director at Macmillan, Aurum Press and Boxtree before founding his own literary agency in 1997. Michael Alcock Management merged with the John Johnson Agency in 2003 to form Johnson & Alcock.
Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Travel, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Religion, Mind, Body, Spirit, Memoir and autobiography, Food and Cookery, History, Historical fiction, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:
Michael's client list covers non-fiction mainly in the fields of history and biography, current affairs, memoir, food, lifestyle and culture, as well as general fiction.
Other loves & passions:
No data
How to make a submission:
Agency standard. By post, to Johnson & Alcock Ltd, Clerkenwell House,45-47 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0HT. By email, to agent email address.
Other advice and background:

Our Q&A with Michael

Q. What books/authors do you love in literary/historical/book group fiction? Examples and reasons, please!

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
HHHH by Laurence Binet
Dominion by C J Sansom
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Q. How about sci-fi/horror/fantasy/paranormal/YA dystopian/erotic? What would you be interested in, and what’s a big no?

A few favourites are:High Rise by J G BallardCloud Atlas by David MitchellThe Handmaid’s tale by Margaret AtwoodWe by Yevgeny Zamyatin 

Q. On the non-fiction side, are there particular areas that interest you? Does your non-fiction list have a particular slant to it?

Bigger history, all periods and especially 20th C for the general reader
Documentary and current affairs
Rural and wild natural history
Memoir and biography
Health and popular psychology
Performing arts

Q. What (very roughly) is the balance of your list between literary fiction / commercial fiction / non-fiction?

90% non-fiction, 10% fiction 

Q. What’s your biggest turn-off in a covering letter? What would you really hope to see?

The word “peruse”.
I look for a brief and spirited (but unhyperbolic) encapsulation of the context and arc of the work, and its probable kind of reader.

Q. Would you take on an author who had self-published? What kind of self-pub sales would make you sit up?

Large followings, reviews and sales that are still building. 

Q. What single piece of advice would you most want to give writers?

Pare away the unnecessary and let the narrative flow!  

Q. How many submissions do you see annually? And how many of those submissions will end up on your list?

Very few of the many. 

Q. Do you look for social media and online presence? Do you care?

Yes, if they are used intelligently to build interest in the author’s work or mission   

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Follow on Twitter:
Does not Tweet
Interesting links:
This list represents all the agency's clients. They do not produce an individual agent client list: Vivien Alcock, Michael Alexander, Patrick Alexander, Candace Allen, Antony Alpers, Zoe Anderson, David Austin, Dame Beryl Bainbridge, Cara Black, Thomas Blaikie, Tamsin Blanchard, Michael Bloch , Dr Ronald Blythe, Lauren Booth, Douglas Botting, Dr. Marjorie Boulton, John Broderick, Vincent Caldey's, Philip Callow, Ian Cameron, Patricia Carlon, Mike Carlson, Chantal Coady, Joan Collin, Barbara Comyns, Judy Cornwell, Elaine Crowley, Dr. C. W. Cunnington, Dr. P. E. Cunnington, Adrian and Michael Daniel, D. M. Devine, Dr Thomas Dixon, Tom Dixon, Marcia Douglas, Jonty Driver, Elaine Dundy, Kate Dunton, Richard Dyer, Richard Ehrlich, Gillian Stead Eilersen, Max Fatchen, Kate Fenton, Christopher Fildes, Peter Fleming, Clare Francis, Dick Francis, Felix Francis, Rivkie Fried, Alexander Fullerton, Leon Garfield, Dr Yehudi Gordon, Sandra Greaves, Mark Griffiths, Joanna Hall, Michael Hamburger, James Hamilton-Paterson, Joseph Hansen, Michael Hastings, Elizabeth Hawksley, Dr. David Boyd Haycock, Bessie Head, Thomas Hinde, Ben Hinshaw, Ursula Holden, Clarissa Hyman, Martin Jensen, Jenny Joseph, Gabriel Josipovici, MRC Kasasian, Eric Kaufmann, Jessie Kesson, Rohan Kriwaczek, Chris d'Lacey, Dr. Jordan Lancaster, Charlie Lee-Potter, Peter Levi, David Luke, Jonathan Lunn, Alastair Macaulay, Thom Madley, David Magarshack, Sara Manuelli, Marcella Evaristi, Kathryn Marsden, James Vance Marshall, Richard Masson, Christina McGhee, Claire McGowan, Graham McInnes, Patricia Meehan, Martin Miller, Raynes Minns, Roger Mortimore, Eileen Mulligan, Courttia Newland, Andrea Newman, Barbara Newman, Wilfrid Noyce, Michael Ormiston, Charles Osborne, Paul Overy, Claire Heafford, Louise Hall, Donald Payne, Julie Peakman, Delores Phillips, Alison Plowden, David Pownall, Alex Preston, William Radice, Forrest Reid, Susan Richards, Phil Rickman, Gillian Riley, Ian Robertson, Gail Robinson, John Martin Robinson, Lynne Robinson, A. L. Rowse, Lawrence Scott, Karen Smith, Gordon Snell, Charles Spencer, Colin Spencer, Ali Spritzler, Adrian Stewart, Louie Stowell, Alan Strachan, Arthur Swinson, Elizabeth Taylor, Philip Temple, D. M. Thomas, Grace Thompson, William Trevor, Barry Turner, Lowri Turner, Peter Underwood, Warris Vianni, Philip Walling, Geoffrey Wansell, Fran Warde, Merlin Waterson, Daniel Weissbort, Martin Vander Weyer, Hugh Ross Williamson, Henry Wilson, James Wilson, Stephen Wiltshire, Jacqueline Winspear, Trevor Wright, Qiu Xiaolong, Victoria Young, Jessica Ziebland.
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: Johnson and Alcock

Agency details

About the agency:
Johnson and Alcock are a boutique literary agency based in leafy Clerkenwell, representing a diverse selection of prestigious writers of fiction and non-fiction. They represent a list of writers who appeal right across the commercial and literary ranges, served by the most reputable subagents around the world. Clients include, Beryl Bainbridge and Joan Collins.
Address for submissions:
Clerkenwell House, 45-47 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0HT
Office address:
No data
Email address:
Phone number:
020 7251 0125
Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
If you would like the agency to consider representing you for your work, please contact them by post or by email at For works of fiction submit a synopsis and three chapters. For non-fiction please supply a full outline and chapter breakdown along with at least 30 pages of the text. All submissions should be double spaced and on A4 paper. Remember to include a covering letter with your biographical details and relevant experience, and a stamped addressed envelope either for the return of the manuscript or for their reply. If you submit via email you will only receive a reply if they are interested in discussing representation. If possible, do note the name of your preferred agent in the subject line. Children's or YA submissions should also be clearly marked. Do not accept poetry, screenplays, children's books 0-7, and board or picture books.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
6 days
Agency Transparency Index:
Member of the AAA:
Overseas offices:
Accepts overseas writers:
Follow on Twitter:
Latest news:
More about the agency:
Johnson and Alcock are a boutique literary agency based in leafy Clerkenwell, representing a diverse selection of prestigious writers of fiction and non-fiction. They represent a list of writers who appeal right across the commercial and literary ranges, served by the most reputable subagents around the world. Clients include, Beryl Bainbridge and Joan Collins.

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