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  • Guide to Literary Agents

Thriller Agents

A list of literary agents to query for thriller novels: legal, technothrillers, political, spy, erotic, and crime thriller.

“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

New Literary Agent Alert: Holly Lorincz of MacGregor Literary


New agent Holly Lorincz of MacGregor Literary is seeking: “I am currently only accepting general market submissions in these areas: historical romance, literary or classic westerns, political or conspiracy thrillers, women’s fiction, or literary fiction.” Read more

6 Rules for Writing a Medical Thriller


So you’ve decided to write a medical thriller. Your hopes are high. If Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Tess Gerritsen could do it, why can’t you? The answer is: you can. Medical thrillers appeal to a wide audience, and many literary agents and editors are looking for the next fresh voice in the genre. So go for it! See if you’ve got what it takes. But first, here are six helpful rules to keep in mind…

GIVEAWAY: John is excited to give away 2 free copies of his novel to random commenters. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: carolee1968 won.) Read more

Literary Agent Spotlight: Rena Rossner of The Deborah Harris Agency


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: Katie Reed of Andrea Hurst & Associates


About Katie: Katie obtained her Bachelor’s in English from California State University, Sacramento, but the most enlightening part of her college career was her internship with Andrea Hurst & Associates. There she discovered her passion for being part of the process that connects compelling stories with book-hungry readers. Katie resides in the small town of Durham, California with her incredible husband, her joyful son, and Snoodles, her loyal cat. Besides her addiction to reading, she is also a diehard Miami Heat fan and obsessed with all things Disney. She is seeking young adult fiction, many areas of adult fiction (including sci-fi and fantasy), and many areas of nonfiction (including memoir). Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Beth Phelan of Bent Literary


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

New Literary Agent Alert: Connor Goldsmith of Foreword Literary


He is seeking: He is interested in a wide range of fiction, and is looking for literary fiction, speculative fiction (scifi/fantasy), and psychological thrillers. Under the umbrella of speculative fiction he is especially interested in urban fantasy, urban science fiction, and magical realism. He is particularly looking for fiction from LGBT and racial minority perspectives. In nonfiction, he is looking for books by recognized experts with broad, established platforms. Subjects of interest include cinema, television, theater, mass media, historical biography, and progressive politics. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Sarah Davies and “The Rules For Disappearing”


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 63rd installment in this series is with agent Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary) for Ashley Elston’s young adult thriller, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING (Disney-Hyperion, May 2013). Find Ashley on Twitter here. Read more

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


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

Writing the Thriller: The Secrets to Keeping Readers Up All Night — Aug. 8 Webinar by James Scott Bell


Thrillers are enormously popular today, constantly appearing on bestseller lists every week. To write them successfully you need more than a penchant for action—you must understand the foundations of what makes the best thrillers work every time. So why not get advice from a published thriller author who also teaches on writing and structure?

The result is the new webinar, “Writing the Thriller: The Secrets to Keeping Readers Up All Night,” at 4 p.m., EST, Thursday, Aug. 8. 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. By the time this webinar is over, attendees will understand what keeps readers turning the pages, common writing pitfalls in the genre, and how to attract the interest of thriller agents & editors. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Lori Roy


“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Lori Roy, author of BENT ROAD and UNTIL SHE COMES AROUND. 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.

Lori Roy is an award-winning novelist who signed with literary agent Jenny Bent of Bent Literary. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Peter Knapp of Park Literary Group

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About Peter: Peter Knapp joined the Park Literary Group in July 2011. He provides support for all of the agency’s initiatives, and is building his client list. Prior to joining Park Literary, he was the story editor at Floren Shieh Productions, where he consulted on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based film and TV entities. He graduated from New York University with a B.A. in art history.

He is seeking: He is building his client list with a focus on middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as suspense and thrillers for all ages. He does not represent picture books or nonfiction. Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Jessica Negron of Talcott Notch Literary


About Jessica: “I attended University of New Haven, where I initially studied Forensic Science. After two years I came to the realization that, despite my love for titrations (and saying “phenolphthalein”), I could not possibly spend the rest of my life staring at the color pink (the most vile color in all the world) and I would much rather read The Crucible than ever have to handle one again. I made my escape to the English department, where waiting for me were a plethora of musty tomes and a comforting absence of fire. For five years I interned with various local publications in both an editorial and design capacity until finally I found a place with Talcott Notch.” You can follow Jessica on Twitter at @loladeee.

She is seeking: “I’m interested in all kinds of YA and Adult fiction, but lean toward science fiction and fantasy (and all the little sub-genres), romance (the steamier, the better), and thrillers.” Read more

Literary Agent Interview: Maryann Karinch of The Rudy Agency


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

5 Keys on Writing a Great Thriller


2. Suspects are the main characters. Not everyone will agree with this idea, but for me it’s quite important. Usually crime novels have a hero– a main character in charge of the investigation (like a policeman, a journalist, a lawyer or an anonymous person interested in solving the mystery). That hero will probably have their own problems, weaknesses and strengths. But what we call secondary characters—the ones who have a relationship with the victim, the ones who may have committed the murder—must be portrayed as complex human beings. In other words, in real life they would not be secondary characters so give them your attention. Additionally, we lie both in real life and in fiction, so keep that in mind when writing dialogue. Lies can be meaningful for suspense-building, After all, nobody tells the complete truth. Never. Read more

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


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

Debut Author Interview: Orest Stelmach, Author of THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4


This installment of Debut Author Interviews is with writer Orest Stelmach, whose debut thriller, THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4, released on March 19, 2013 from Thomas & Mercer. Neil McMahon, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Silver, called Stelmach’s book “a top-notch, fast-moving thriller with gripping authenticity from Stelmach’s knowledge of politics, history, and crime in Eastern Europe and America.” Read more

New Literary Agent Alert: Jamie Bodnar Drowley of Inklings Literary


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

Literary Agent Kimiko Nakamura Seeks New Clients


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

Debut Author Interview: J. Michael Major, Author of the Thriller ONE MAN’S CASTLE


It’s time for another author interview with a writer celebrating the release of their first book. Today we meet J. Michael Major, author of the debut thriller ONE MAN’S CASTLE (Five Star, April 2013.)

J. Michael Major is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association. His stories have appeared in the anthologies DeathGrip 3: It Came From the Cinema and New Traditions in Terror, and such magazines as Hardboiled, Bare Bone, Pirate Writings, Into the Darkness, Outer Darkness, and The Sterling Web. He lives with his family outside of Chicago. One Man’s Castle is his first novel. Visit his website at jmichaelmajor.com. Read more

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


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


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

The 9 Ingredients of Character Development


1. Communication style: How does your character talk? Does she favor certain words or phrases that make her distinct and interesting? What about the sound of her voice? Much of our personality comes through our speech, so think about the way your character is going to talk. Her style of communication should be distinctive and unique.

GIVEAWAY: Tom is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: KarenLange won.) Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by A.J. Colucci


1. High Concept is easier to sell. Within three years of writing fiction, I had a couple of books, a few partials and had a lot of story ideas in my head, but agents kept telling me that The Colony was my best shot at getting published. They said the premise was high concept: When a supercolony of one trillion ants attack Manhattan, two divorced entomologists are brought together to stop the invasion before the president nukes the city. A high concept novel can be summed up in one sentence that instantly gets the listener excited and paints a visual image of what the book is about. It should have broad appeal and a killer title, like Jurassic Park, The Godfather, or Jaws. It’s easier to sell because it’s pitch-driven, not sold on execution. Considering how hard it is to publish a first novel, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.

GIVEAWAY: AJ is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: missnelso04 won.) Read more

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