About me

Welcome to my website. I’m an Australian literary agent, editor, freelance writer, and the author of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement, a memoir, and Girls at the Piano (forthcoming in 2018). I lived for many years in Brooklyn, New York, but am for the time being living back in Sydney with my family.

I mentor writers. I help fiction and memoir writers improve their work, and I guide nonfiction writers who have professional expertise to develop their manuscripts to a publishable standard.

My clients get published.

My clients value my strong editorial background, as I know what constitutes a manuscript of publishable quality. Here is my client list and the books I have agented, developed, or edited. You can find some testimonials here.

“Your editorial advice was priceless.” — Brad Hutchins, author of Game Set Cash! (2014)

My second book (to be published next year) took me seven years, so I understand the joys and frustrations of the writing process. (I don’t recommend taking that long, but life happens and some books take as long as they take.)

“Virginia’s memoir mentoring was vital to the ultimate publication of my work. Her insights were helpful at every stage of the process – from big-picture thinking on narrative structure and focus, through to line-by-line editorial feedback at final draft. She is an expert editorial ‘curator’ and a godsend for a first-time author.” —Fiona Higgins, author, Fearless (2016), Wife on the Run (2014), The Mothers’ Group (2012) and Love in the Age of Drought (2009)

As part of my lifelong love for books and culture, I have always been a passionate volunteer with arts-related not-for-profit organizations. I grew up helping my father’s fundraising efforts for his local Rotary Club, and I guess that rubbed off on me. I am a Past President of Sydney PEN (International PEN Center) and a former Vice President of the Sydney Improvised Music Association.

A lifetime ago I completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Sydney, but did not want to be an academic. Moving into publishing, I worked as the in-house editor of the Picador list (fiction and nonfiction) at Pan Macmillan Australia, one of Australia’s largest trade publishers. Working with authors and learning the publishing business stood me in great stead when I became an independent editor and literary agent, and eventually an author myself. Here’s my LinkedIn profile.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! Please check out my services or get in touch, as I’d love to hear from you.

33 Replies to “About me”

    1. Hello Shirley, thank you for visiting my website. I’d love to keep in touch as I’ve been enjoying your blog and agree we share a lot of common ground. Australia is a long way to travel but it’s well worth it. You just need to have at least three weeks to spare to even begin to do justice to its vast distances. Perhaps after your book is published and the initial flurry of publicity calms down? All best wishes, Virginia

  1. It was delightful to find your name again as a referring source when I looked at my stats this morning. I’ve made progress since our last conversation, so I am hopeful that I will complete the book on schedule and then combine a book tour with my “bucket list.” I’ll have to get see what you are up to these days. Would love feedback from you on the new site, e-book, etc.

    All best.

    Shirley recently posted..Ubuntu: A Philosophy of Memoir Writing

  2. Hi Virginia,
    Yes, I’ve read this far (and a few other blog entries), so, as you asked, I’m leaving you a comment.

    I’m actually quite excited to read what you’ve got here. I’m 2/3 of the way in to the latest draft of my memoir (which is what I should be writing now, not googling word counts), and in the back of my mind is always the thing of what next? Who do I talk to who can critique this? How the hell do you find a literary agent in Australia? How is it stacking up memoir-wise?

    Think you’ve just answered a few of these questions. I’ve added you to my RSS feed, so I’m looking forward to reading more of your offerings in the weeks and months to come.

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Megan, thanks for saying hello. I’m thrilled you have found my content useful and I hope you’ll keep coming back. I plan on writing more about agents and critiques and memoir and so on – please feel free to ask any question, I believe there’s no such thing as a silly question. Good luck with finishing your draft. Please get in touch if you’d like me to read it. All best wishes, Virginia

  3. Hi,
    I am an Australian from Maroubra who attended Sydney Uni, lived in Brooklyn, make my home now in Baltimore and have started writing memoir. I’m glad I found you,
    All the best,

    1. Hi Carolyn, thanks for introducing yourself. Stay in touch and let me know if you have any questions about writing memoir you think I could answer in the blog. Good luck with your writing!

  4. Hi Virginia,
    I found your website while visiting a couple of the websites of people who’ve signed up for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. As an Australian (though currently living in Laos) with a memoir, Love At The Speed Of Email, coming together and set to be released in a couple of months I’ve been thinking about ways to reach out to the Australian book blogging community virtually upon release. I’ve enjoyed reading a number of your posts related to memoir writing and I’ll be adding your blog to my google reader.
    Cheers, Lisa
    Lisa McKay recently posted..Six tips for marketing self-published books

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for reading the blog and letting me know you enjoyed it. It’s always helpful to learn the ways in which people come to my site. Congratulations on your memoir! I would suggest approaching some of the book bloggers ahead of publication time – by reading and commenting on their blogs, for example – so that they are more receptive to your own book when it finally is available.
      I’ll check out your website and look forward to updates on your adventures in promoting your book.

    1. Hi Bronwyn, thanks for contacting me – I’m usually happy to have my brain picked. Send me an email at info at virginialloyd dot com and we’ll take it from there. ~V

  5. Hello Virginia,
    I have a self published fictional story called THE BLOSSOMING, approx. 110,000 words. Self promotion is a painful side of the whole publishing process. I find people contacting me saying how expensive the book is to buy through Bookpal publishers and that as it is self published, the book stores are loath to order.
    I wonder if you could advise me about ebooks? I have another 90,000 word story, EAGLE SUNRISE which is not a sequel but an off shoot stand alone addition to the original story.
    I also have a short story of approx. 6000 words dirrected more to children, although adults have expressed interest as well. It is an expose`of PEGUSUS.

    Finally, I am in the process of writing a fictionalized story based on fact. DAVID is about an adoptee, the gay son of one of Australias leading sheep raising families, and the three women who have affected his life.

    Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. With thanks and best wishes for your continued success.
    Kathryn Neale.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Thanks for contacting me. I’m not sure what I could advise you about ebooks, but if you have a specific question please email me at info at virginialloyd dot com and I’ll try to answer. Unfortunately your experience seems to be a very common story, but not the one that is reported in media outlets and on Twitter etcetera, which only like to trumpet the extremely rare ebook that sells in enormous numbers.

  6. I’m a Canadian writer with a completed fiction manuscript a large part of which is set in Australia. Are you only interested in Australian writers at this time?

    1. Hello Barbara, thanks for contacting me. Yes I am primarily interested in building a list of Australian writers, but the Australian setting of a large part of your novel interests me too. Perhaps you could look at the submission guidelines on this website and email me with more detail about your work. Best wishes, Virginia

  7. Hi Virginia

    I like your comments!

    I am a NZ writer with a real interest in writing for children and youth. I have written 23 books to date and hope to get them published. I would LOVE to have your help in that department! 🙂 It would be easy to incorporate Australian themes into the stories as most are short.

    I wanted to share that there is something about writing which is (or can be)playful. Playful imaginative and creative! My writing is best when it is the most playful!

    I believe that playfulness is a state which we as adults sometimes “forget” about. We forget playing at great cost I believe. We get serious! Then we get unhealthy – psychologically, emotionally and physically. And may I say spiritually also.
    When we use our imagination we essentially “play” and create at the same time.

    My books teach strategies to think more positively, more creatively and with more FUN! Aimed at youth and children via stories , fun and play!

    Let’s PLAY!!!
    John Rawson recently posted..Popular links for July-August

  8. Hi Virginia,
    Your website and the comments on it have given me new hope that I can muddle my way to publishing my manuscript. I originally thought writing the story was the hard part! I live in the central tablelands of NSW and my story is set there.
    Cheers Clive

    1. Hi Clive, thanks for reading the blog. Every aspect of writing and publishing has its challenges, so it’s important for writers to educate themselves about them. I wish you well with your manuscript. –Virginia

  9. Dear Ms. Lloyd
    I like your website and your friendly attitude. Would you kindly tell me when, if at all, you will be inviting authors of fiction to submit to you? I have written a book which follows actual disastrous (titanic-like) events of the 1920’s but has fictional characters interlaced with real ones. It is more like a living history book and in that sense is similar in some ways to Devil in the White City. Thank you.

    1. Hello David,
      Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate them. I’m sorry to say that I won’t be opening my books to fiction any time soon. If you’ve looked around my website, you will have seen that I do represent a few fiction writers. They have typically come about through an existing friendship or acquaintance, or through a word-of-mouth recommendation of another author client. I’m happy to stay in touch and respond to questions either here on on Twitter, where I’m reasonably active (@v11oyd). But you are better off looking for an agent who is actively seeking fiction manuscripts. It’s not an easy path, and I wish you well. –Virginia

  10. Hi Virginia,
    I am a self-published writer whose books are not selling. I was wondering if you could look at some of my work and tell me whether I’m wasting my time as a writer. I need an honest opinion. Although my novels don’t sell, I have an overwhelming passion to write as I find that to create an elegant piece of prose makes me feel better.
    Thanks, Aaron.

    1. Hi Aaron, thanks for reading and commenting. You’re not alone as a self-published writer struggling to make your work stand out online. While I am not in a position to review your work, I think you would benefit from taking a class or workshop with an established writer who could help you to review your own work more constructively than you can do alone. The important thing is that you know that writing makes you feel better. Keep the issues around publication and marketing/selling separate if you can. And good luck. –Virginia

  11. Hi Virginia

    I discovered you via an article you wrote about the changes in submission to the big publishing houses in Australia. I am a published author (non-fiction), though I have been writing a novel for too many years to admit to! Fiction writing is my truest passion and while living in Queensland, I was a member of the Queensland Writers Centre, where I received some very positive feedback about my plot, however at the time, I chose to self publish my non-fiction book, Diet Tips for Busy Chicks, (with the aim of developing a Busy Chicks series) and I was fortunate enough to be offered a publishing contract with a small publishing company in Melbourne. However, this came at a time in my life where my marriage was falling apart and my focus for my new ‘baby’ (Diet Tips for Busy Chicks) took a back step. My upcoming novel, Rock-a-Buy-Baby is what really drives me to write each and every day, keeps me awake at night with the characters I have created and devours me in the research I have conducted for in excess of ten years . I have investigated the idea of a literary agent in the past, however my novel was not complete, nor did there seem to be the opportunity here in Australia for unknown authors and my plan has been to approach overseas publishing houses. As my book spans 1950s Melbourne and London, my thoughts were to try my luck in London as well. My novel is now near completion and I would be very interested in what you had to say about literary agents, traditional publishing, self-publishing and any further comments you may have about electronic submissions.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my long-winded request.


    1. Hi Vickie,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. There are so many issues you raise with your comment that I’m not sure where to begin! I have lots ‘to say’ on all the areas you mention. So I would much prefer it if you thought of three to five questions that you’d like me to address, and I’ll respond to them in blog posts. That way hopefully more people will see your questions and my answers. I look forward to hearing from you — Virginia

  12. Hello,

    I have a great poem that was inspired by the indigenous children here in Australia and the children of Syria. I have a poem I wrote which I would like to publish as a book. This will be my first time publishing a book. I am a Juris Doctor student in QLD with an interest in protecting and enhancing children’s rights through the law. I would love to publish this book with some of the proceeds going towards an organization I would like to launch to improve and protect the rights of children, who are the future. If we can invest in them, we are investing in our future. My heart as I’ve encountered many children suffering from child soldiers, to children affected by drugs and violence in Aboriginal communities to children suffering with the loss of loved ones due to war. We are living in a critical time in the world. I believe this book when published and read to children will give them hope.


    Anita Kissi

    1. Hi Anita,
      Thanks for your message. Unfortunately due to the number of requests for expertise I receive, I now offer paid consultations for people wishing to pick my brain about getting published. My Services page outlines the ways in which I help published and unpublished writers. –Virginia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge