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  • Guide to Literary Agents

Mystery Agents

Literary agents for writers of new & debut mystery novels: cozy, hard-boiled, crime, suspense, police procedural, and more.

“How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent” — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Awesome Critique Starts March 24, 2014

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How do you hook an agent right away, keep them hooked, and make the most of your new publishing relationship? In this all-new March 2014 Boot Camp, “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent,” you’ll learn how to get a literary agent’s attention through a great submission, and also how to navigate the process of working successfully with an agent. After hearing instruction from the agents at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, you’ll also work with an agent online to review and refine your all-important query letter and the first five pages of your novel with the agents. Read more

Literary Agent Spotlight: Rena Rossner of The Deborah Harris Agency

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Rena is seeking: “I am most interested in representing Fantasy and Science Fiction in all its permutations – Adult, Middle Grade, Young Adult etc. I also look for Middle Grade and Young Adult contemporary stories and I’d be open to MG/YA mysteries and thrillers as well. I represent quite a few picture books and I’m always looking for those. In terms of adult books, I look for Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, multicultural books, and I’d also consider adult mysteries, thrillers and psychological suspense, but not cozy mysteries. I specifically look for literary work (in any genre,) and books with elements of magical realism and the fantastic. You will steal my heart for sure if it’s set in the Middle East, in Israel or if it has Jewish or Israeli themes and characters, but I’m open to all themes, settings and characters. You’ve got to have a really good reason to send me non-fiction, or cookbooks, but if you have a reason that seems to fit with who I am and what I’m looking for, I’ll take a look.” Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Nadeen Gayle of Serendipity Literary Agency

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Nadeen is seeking: romance, memoir, pop culture, inspirational/religious, women’s fiction, parenting, young adult, mystery and political thrillers, and all forms of nonfiction.

About Nadeen: After representing clients in law for over 7 years, Nadeen Gayle brings her zeal for representation and championing voices to book publishing. Prior to graduating from Hofstra law school, Nadeen majored in English with a Mass Communications minor at Clark Atlanta University and was a very active participant in the English department’s annual Writers Conference. After receiving her BA in English, Nadeen taught briefly in the Atlanta public school system. Her short stint with students and parents in Atlanta shaped her focus with connecting to both children and adults after which she worked as counsel for Administration for Children Services. As a parent herself, Nadeen’s work with children and parents shapes her dual interest in both YA and Adult titles. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Beth Phelan of Bent Literary

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About Beth: “After graduating from New York University, I found my footing as an intern with the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. Since then, I’ve held positions at Waxman Leavell Literary and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.”

She is seeking: Beth Phelan represents fiction for young adults and middle grade readers, select commercial and literary adult fiction, and nonfiction by way of lifestyle, cooking/food writing, humor, pop culture, LGBT and pets/animals. For adult fiction, she leans toward new adult, suspense, thriller, and mystery. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Steph Cha, Author of FOLLOW HER HOME

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Steph Cha, author of FOLLOW HER HOME, a mystery. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

This column is written by Steph Cha, author of the 2013 mystery debut FOLLOW HER HOME (Minotaur). Steph’s agent is Ethan Bassoff of Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. Read more

Agent Anna Olswanger Puts Out a Call For New Submissions

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About Anna: Anna Olswanger has been an agent with Liza Dawson Associates for eight years. In addition to being a literary agent, Anna is the author two children’s books: Shlemiel Crooks, a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book, and Greenhorn, an illustrated novel for middle grade readers. In 2011, a family musical based on Shlemiel Crooks premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Anna lives in the New York metropolitan area. You can read more about her at her website www.olswanger.com. You can also find her on Twitter.

She is seeking: She focuses on adult nonfiction and children’s books from picture books to YAs, and especially enjoys working with author-illustrators. Although she rarely takes on novels, she’s intrigued by historical fiction (especially mysteries), stories with animals as the protagonists, Southern settings, Judaica and Israel. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron & Associates

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She is seeking: She enjoys literary and upmarket fiction of all types in addition to commercial—including well-researched historical and well-told women’s fiction. She also loves a page-turning mystery, suspense, or thriller with sharp wit and unexpected twists and turns. She has a soft spot for distinctive, strong, contemporary characters set in small towns. Amy always looks for an unexpected story arc, a suitable pace, and a compelling protagonist.

She is interested in narrative nonfiction when the plot and characters are immersed in a culture, lifestyle, discipline, or industry. She will also consider a travel or adventure memoir. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Beth Campbell of BookEnds, LLC

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About Beth: After an undergraduate career filled with publishing internships, Beth Campbell joined BookEnds as a literary assistant in September 2012. She is currently working on building her list. In addition to working as an assistant, Beth is also the company’s rights coordinator. She works with BookEnds’ authors to sell the foreign, audio, and performance rights for our available titles. Beth graduated from Dickinson College in May 2012 with a BA and honors in English Literature. She is happy to be living in her native New Jersey and thrilled to be working in an industry she loves. She is an avid reader of fantasy, YA, and sci-fi novels and also enjoys drawing, cooking, and spending far too much time on the Internet. Beth currently lives with her fiancé and a handful of cats. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Susan Spann, Author of the Mystery CLAWS OF THE CAT

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Today’s debut author spotlight is with Susan Spann, author of the July 2013 historical mystery, CLAWS OF THE CAT. Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Death in the Floating City, said of Susan’s book: “Susan Spann skillfully transports the reader to Samurai Japan and serves up a feast of intrigue and suspense in a well-drawn exotic and unforgettable world. Claws of the Cat is a delicious adventure and a remarkable debut.” Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Maryann Karinch of The Rudy Agency

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This installment features Maryann Karinch of The Rudy Agency. In addition to the 18 books she has written, Maryann has also ghostwritten books and done a lot of editing. She is also the founder of The Rudy Agency and serves as a literary agent in several categories. Recently, she has founded an ebook publishing company called GamePlan Press.

She is seeking: Maryann is looking for non-fiction, primarily in these categories: health/medicine, business, culture/values, history/current events, biography/memoir, science/technology, and military/intelligence. In regards to fiction, she’s particularly interested in historical, thriller, mystery/crime. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Berta Treitl of Grosvenor Literary Agency

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She is seeking: “Berta is selectively building her nonfiction list in these areas: science and technology; current events, law and politics, biography, business and marketing; and art, design, cooking, health, and lifestyle.

“In fiction, she’s interested in historical and high-quality mysteries. Berta focuses on projects that present a counterintuitive or fresh viewpoint and that feature unusual communities, travel and foreign locales, and female main characters.” Read more

David Carnoy: Read an Interview With the Author of KNIFE MUSIC and THE BIG EXIT

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What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

I was a little bit surprised by how publishers are dealing with e-book pricing. As an “unknown” author, it’s very difficult to sell e-books for over $9.99 (it’s hard even at $9.99). I know a lot about the e-book industry because I cover it as part of my day job. So I’ve been very vocal about offering affordable pricing for the digital versions of my books and to his credit, Peter Mayer, the founder of Overlook and former head of Penguin for many years, has listened to me… Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Jane Myers Perrine

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5. Don’t stick to that same old familiar novel you’ve been working on for years. Writing a novel is like dating. When I was dating, every time I broke up with a guy, I’d think, “Oh, no. I have to start all over.” We’re afraid if we break up—either a relationship or leaving a book behind to start another–nothing better will come along. For that reason, we cling to what isn’t working. Yes, you love the characters you created. They are so clever and the chemistry or suspense is so strong—but they aren’t real. You’ll find your true love but you must keep learning. That won’t happen in a book you’ve written and rewritten. At some time, you have to move on and find a new love. Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary

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This installment features Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC. After graduating from Ithaca College with a BA in English and minors in writing and theater, she completed a six-month internship with Sourcebooks before joining Talcott Notch. She also Tweets.

She is seeking: In fiction, she accepts young adult and middle grade, women’s fiction, romance, paranormal, and mysteries. She also considers nonfiction, with a strong interest in the arts. Read more

Debut Author Interview: Anna Loan-Wilsey, Author of A LACK OF TEMPERANCE

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It’s time to meet another debut author and see how they found their literary agent and got published. These interviews are a great opportunity to see what debut writers did right on their journey as well as what they wished they did different. Today, we meet novelist Anna Loan-Wilsey, author of the historical mystery A LACK OF TEMPERANCE. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Jamie Bodnar Drowley of Inklings Literary

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Jamie is seeking: In Adult, New Adult and Young Adult fiction, Jamie is seeking fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, historical, contemporary, horror, light sci-fi and thrillers. In MG, she loves stories that make her laugh and are imaginative with a clear voice. She loves strong characters with distinct voices and unique story lines that stay with her long after she is finished reading. Read more

Agent Advice: Shira Hoffman of McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

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This interview features Shira Hoffman of McIntosh & Otis, Inc. Shira began her career in publishing as an intern at Tor Books and has been with M&O since 2007. In 2013, she took over as Director of Subsidiary Rights. She also Tweets @ShiraSHoffman.

She is seeking: mainstream commercial fiction, mystery, literary fiction, women’s fiction, romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction, horror and dystopian. Read more

Literary Agent Kimiko Nakamura Seeks New Clients

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I’m not considering this a true New Agent Alert because literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (of Dee Mura Literary) is not new. That said, this post resembles an Alert in that Kimiko did tell me recently how she is actively looking to build her client list right now — and that is something writers should be happy to know. All details below for those interested in querying her!

She is seeking: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller/Mystery, Women’s Lit, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Cookbooks, and Memoir. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Barbara Poelle and “Untold Damage” (Mystery)

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This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked.

The 60th installment in this series is with agent Barbara Poelle (Irene Goodman Literary) for Robert Lewis’s 2013 debut mystery, UNTOLD DAMAGE (Midnight Ink, April 2013). The author, Bay Area resident Robert K. Lewis, is a contributor to Macmillan’s crime fiction fansite, Criminal Element. Lewis is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers Association. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Trident Media Group

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MacKenzie is seeking: In her own words, “I am actively seeking to build her client list and is particularly interested in women’s fiction. I accept queries from new and emerging writers. What I look for in every genre is a good story, well told.” It sounds like she generally accepts literary fiction, women’s fiction and commercial/genre fiction. Looking through her client list, I can see that she reps multiple romance writers, a mystery writer, and an adventure writer.” Read more

New Agent Alert: David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.

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About David: David Haviland is the fiction agent for the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in London. As well as being a literary agent, he is an experienced writer, ghost writer, and editor who has written bestselling books for major publishers including Harper Collins, Penguin, Piatkus and Little, Brown. His recent books include ‘How to Remove a Brain’, an amusing history of medical science, and a collection of myth-busting stories from history called ‘The Not-So-Nude Ride of Lady Godiva’. David lives in London, and his favourite writers include Robert B.Parker, David Mamet, Magnus Mills, Denise Mina and Michael Lewis. He seeks writers in the US and the UK.

He is seeking: all genres of fiction, but I’m particularly interested in crime, thrillers, and historical fiction. Read more

Agent Advice: Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC

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This installment features Sara D’Emic of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC. The Emerson College grad has been an editorial/PR intern for Last Light Studio and an editorial intern for Hanging Loose Press, and she’s excited to be extending her client base. She also Tweets.

She is seeking: In fiction, she accepts adult and YA fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, and mainstream fiction. She is also interested in nonfiction science and technology. Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates

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She is seeking: literary and commercial fiction, science fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, horror and thrillers. For nonfiction, she accepts biography, memoir, food & lifestyle, science, technology, medical, health & fitness, how-to, religion & spirituality, dating & relationships, pop culture, entertainment, travel, history and military. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Steve Kasdin of Curtis Brown Ltd.

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He is seeking: “The most important thing I’ve learned in over twenty years in publishing is also the simplest: plot sells. And the definition of what makes a great plot is also very simple: interesting, well-drawn characters thrown into unpredictable situations. I’m looking for: commercial fiction, including Mysteries/Thrillers, Romantic Suspense (emphasis on the suspense), and Historical Fiction); Narrative Nonfiction, including Biography, History and Current Affairs; and Young Adult Fiction, particularly if it has adult crossover appeal. I am NOT interested in SF/Fantasy, Memoirs, Vampires and writers trying to capitalize on trends.” Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency

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This interview features Michelle L. Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency. She is a literary agent, the founder of Inklings Literary Agency (formerly of the Corvisiero Literary Agency), and she has a business administration background in addition to a lifetime of working with books (sales, editing, and writing) and authors (marketing, promoting, event planning). She is also a script/story consultant for an independent film under production in Halifax, NS.

She is seeking: contemporary, steamy romance, suspense, thriller, mystery, horror, fantasy, paranormal and supernatural elements in adult, new adult and young adult fiction. Her nonfiction interests include memoir and true crime. Read more

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