New Literary Agent Alert: Anna Sproul-Latimer of The Ross Yoon Agency

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Anna Sproul-Latimer of The Ross Yoon Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


About Anna: “Like Howard Yoon before me, I’ve been working for Gail Ross my entire professional life. (It all started with a Google search for ‘literary agent internship DC’ my sophomore year of college.) However, I’ve managed to get a tour of all aspects of the industry along the way: slinging customer service at Barnes and Noble in my teens; mailing press releases at an NYC house in college; and today, in my spare time, editing and ghostwriting books already sold for publication.

“In addition to scouting, editing, and producing book proposals, I’ve spent the past four years managing our agency’s foreign rights list. One particular strength I bring to the domestic rights game, therefore, is my understanding of international markets: how and whether your book will sell around the world. I have a BA from Columbia and a master’s degree from Oxford, both in English literature.”

(What to write in the BIO section of your queries.)

She is seeking: “In two words, adult nonfiction. In six: nonfiction by and for the curious. I represent authors who explore new frontiers, uncover hidden histories, and embed themselves in unusual places. Their energy is so contagious, and their ideas so important, that they’ve already begun to attract media coverage and a national audience.

“Whether they’re journalists, top bloggers, performers, theologians, or scientists, my clients are sharply observant and often LOL-funny, but never cynical. A good example is my client Caitlin Doughty, creator of the “Ask a Mortician” series, whose book I recently sold in an eight-way auction to W.W. Norton.

(The term “platform” defined — learn how to sell more books.)

“Whether an agent chooses to work with an author—or doesn’t—often boils down to the personality match. All of us agents try to acquire for a range of different readers, but if something is of personal interest, we’re excited before we even turn the page. Therefore, here’s me in some alphabetically-organized keywords: airplanes, Americana, Bill Bryson, death, England, Gene Weingarten, Jezebel, Jim Henson, @LongReads, Mary Roach, Mervyn Peake, New York magazine, Pitcairn Island, pop culture, psychology, rock music, the Simpsons, Sloane Crosley, weird, William Langewiesche.”

Does not want: Fiction or children’s books.

“I also do not want self-help that’s more about the messenger than the message. (If your work makes use of either of these phrases—’patented method,’ ‘paradigm shift’—we probably won’t get along.) Political screeds, liberal and conservative. Authors who don’t understand the value of collaborative editorial process: at one extreme, those who want to ‘build their brand’ with a book, any book; at the other, artistes. Finally, ‘everything you know is wrong’ Gladwelly-type books about mind, brain, and behavior. There might be room left in the market for these, but I’m tired of reading them.”

How to submit: “Please e-mail me a short pitch, detailing who you are and what you’d like to write, along with a chapter outline and a couple of sample chapters (if you have them). If you’re an expert with an idea but no sample material yet, that’s fine too; just be ready to explain your idea in some detail. I do read every submission I receive carefully, although I might not be able to respond to you in detail. anna [at]”


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