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With more than 1,300 practicing literary agents across the country, what’s an unagented scribe with no industry contacts to do? Where do you start? Who do you query, and how do you go about doing it? If you’re a new writer looking for representation, the submission process can certainly be daunting. Even when you assemble a list of agents who handle your particular category or genre, there’s always the possibility that some of those reps are too busy to take on new clients.
But fear not. We’ve got a special dossier to help you on your journey. Writer’s Digest has again assembled its annual short list of literary agents who’ve confirmed they’re open to reviewing queries from new and established authors alike. This means your work is going to get read and considered. And rest assured there’s an agent on this list for you, no matter what you’re writing.
So if you’ve finished your novel, memoir or book proposal (and spent some solid time revising it), you have come to the right place to find your ideal agent—the one eager to sell your work to publishers. Read on to learn who made the list this year, and to find out what they want and how they want to receive it. Your agent match might just be waiting.
Judith Ehrlich Literary Management
880 Third Ave., Eighth Floor, New York NY 10022
FICTION INTERESTS: romance, women’s fiction, historical fiction.
NONFICTION INTERESTS: narrative nonfiction, memoir, business and how-to.
ACTIVELY SEEKING: paranormal, futuristic and historical romance, and urban fantasy.
DOES NOT WANT: detective stories, spy thrillers, cozy mysteries or any novel with a dead body in the first chapter.
HOW TO CONTACT: “E-mail queries preferred. A nonfiction query should clearly describe the project and the author’s qualifications for writing it, emphasizing any platform and existing audience the author has developed for the book, and listing any professional published work. A fiction query should include the genre or category of the work, the approximate word count, a brief synopsis describing the plot and main characters, and the first chapter or first 7–10 pages of the ms. If sending by e-mail, please paste this sample after the query.”
RECENT SALES: Cooking and Screaming by Adrienne Kane; Falling Under by Danielle Younge-Ullman; Oysters & Chocolate by Jordan LaRousse and Samantha Sade.
TIPS: “It’s useful to mention any trade press books to which your work might be compared. If we are sufficiently intrigued by your project, we will ask for samples or the complete proposal or ms.”
Baker’s Mark Literary Agency
P.O. Box 8382, Portland OR 97207
SPECIALIZES IN: nonfiction and graphic novels.
NONFICTION INTERESTS: image-rich books, pop culture, light sociology and narrative nonfiction.
OTHER INTERESTS: beautifully illustrated works of non-fiction, memoir, YA fiction (especially oriented toward female readers) and contemporary literature. Agent is also willing to talk to writers who have comic scripts without art attached.
DOES NOT WANT: sci-fi, Western or children’s books.
HOW TO CONTACT: “We prefer a query before you send us your ms. Query via e-mail. Your query should be one page with no attachments and no chapters included in the body of the e-mail. Queries sent with attachments will be deleted unread. If, based on your query, we ask to see more of your work, we will request more material to be sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Work without a SASE will not be returned. Please do not submit any original materials.”
RECENT SALES: Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks; City of Spies by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, with illustrations by Faith Erin Hicks; War Is Boring by David Axe and
Matt Bors; The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple; Comic Books 101 by Chris Ryall and Scott Tipton; Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett.
Folio Literary Management
505 8th Avenue, Suite 603
New York, NY 10018
NONFICTION INTERESTS: memoir, pop culture, humor, animal/pet books, popular science and narrative nonfiction.
FICTION INTERESTS: literary and commercial fiction, including thrillers, graphic novels, select YA titles, books that capture elements of the strange and wonderful, and those that offer a unique perspective of the world.
DOES NOT WANT: cozies, romance, picture books, genre sci-fi or horror.
HOW TO CONTACT: Put "Query" in the subject line of the e-mail. “For fiction, send a query with enough information about the novel and your writing credentials for me to evaluate whether the material is going to be right for me. You are also welcome to include the first chapter. Please include information about your previous publications, awards, and conferences and workshops you have attended. For nonfiction, send a query with a clear description of the proposed book, a TOC or outline, and a sample chapter. The writer’s qualifications and credentials (such as expertise in the subject area and promotional experience) are essential to our assessment of the salability of the material. Only queries with SASEs will receive responses. Please specify whether or not the material is being considered by other agencies. I generally respond to all queries within four weeks. I now accept e-mail submissions; please include my name in the subject line.”
RECENT SALES: The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide To Craft Beer by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune; The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone; Through the Eyes of a Cat by Mieshelle Nagelschneider.
Upstart Crow Literary
NONFICTION INTERESTS: narrative nonfiction, memoir, self-help, relationships, humor, current events, women’s issues and cooking.
FICTION INTERESTS: commercial women’s fiction and multicultural fiction (with a “literary” edge), romance, paranormal romance and YA fiction for girls.
DOES NOT WANT: sci-fi/fantasy, hard-boiled mystery or thrillers.
HOW TO CONTACT: Query through e-mail.
Donald Maass Literary
FICTION INTERESTS: hard-boiled mystery and crime fiction.
HOW TO CONTACT: E-query letter with the first 5 pages pasted into the body of the e-mail. She will request more if interested.
Andrea Hurst Literary Management
P.O. Box 19010, Sacramento CA 95819
NONFICTION INTERESTS: humor/gift books, crafts, how-to (financial, house and home, health and beauty, weddings), relationships/advice, self-help, psychology, travel writing and narrative nonfiction.
FICTION INTERESTS: commercial women’s fiction; comic and cozy mysteries; literary fiction with a focus on the arts, culture and/or history.
HOW TO CONTACT: Query with a SASE by mail, or send an e-query. For fiction, submit a synopsis and two sample chapters. For nonfiction, submit the complete proposal.
RECENT SALES: Imagine Life With a Well-Behaved Dog by Julie A. Bjelland; How to Host a Killer Party by Penny Warner; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Barter and Trade Exchanges by Jerry Howell and Tom Chmielewski.
TIPS: “Do your homework. Submit a professional package.”
123 Queenston Dr., Pittsburgh PA 15235
NONFICTION INTERESTS: how-to from an “in the know” perspective, with credentials to back that up. Looking for “where the rubber meets the road” realistic solutions to life’s trying circumstances and issues with a broad base of interest (nonacademic but not in conflict with a Christian worldview). Parenting, marriage, arts and health. “Non-preachy is fine, but heavier spiritual material is welcome as well.”
FICTION INTERESTS: contemporary fiction with deep characterization and compelling, fast-paced story lines that show characters facing realistic circumstances, and sort of wrestling out their faith issues to a satisfying conclusion.
DOES NOT WANT: memoirs or biblical historical fiction. HOW TO CONTACT: E-mail submissions with a complete proposal per the guidelines on the agency’s website. Allow 60 days for a reply. For fiction, submit a package that includes your cover letter, bio, synopsis, market analysis, marketing strategies (if any) and the firstthree chapters. For nonfiction, include a query and a comprehensive book proposal with at least three sample chapters.
RECENT SALES: Love Finds You in Hershey, Pa. by Cerella Sechrist; Prevailing Love by Loree Lough; Fat to Skinny Fast and Easy! by Doug Varrieur.
Loren S. Grossman
Paul S. Levine Literary Agency
1054 Superba Ave., Venice CA 90291
NONFICTION INTERESTS: child guidance/parenting, education/academics, health/medicine, science/technology.
HOW TO CONTACT: Writers are encouraged to refer to one or more books for writers on how to query. Send a one- page, single-spaced query, preferably via e-mail (although snail mail is acceptable). Place the word “Query” in the subject line or “Re:” field of your query. No phone calls. In your query, note your target market, with a summary of specifics on how your work differs from other authors’ published work. All submissions should be free of spelling and grammatical errors. If you’re asked to submit material and you would like it returned should the agency not represent you, enclose a SASE.
Sammie L. Justesen
Northern Lights Literary Services
11248 N. Boyer Rd., Suite A, Sandpoint ID 83864
NONFICTION INTERESTS: health, biography, psychology, self-help, how-to, food, parenting, new age, medical and business.
FICTION INTERESTS: women’s, romance, mystery, Christian and suspense.
DOES NOT WANT: horror, children’s, erotica.
HOW TO CONTACT: E-queries only. For fiction, send a query, a one- or two-page synopsis of the plot, and the first few pages. Also include an author bio relating to your writing experience. Don’t send entire ms unless requested. For nonfiction, send a query and the book proposal. “We love writers who have a platform and will help market their books. Due to the overwhelming number of submissions, we cannot respond to all queries, but we do read them and will contact you if interested.”
RECENT SALES: Intuitive Parenting by Debra Snyder; Thank You for Firing Me by Candice Reed and Kitty Martini; The Never Cold Call Again Toolkit by Frank Rumbauskas, Jr.
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
FICTION INTERESTS: children’s and YA only—realistic YA and middle-grade, humor, mystery, adventure, light fantasy and YA romance.
DOES NOT WANT: adult fiction, picture books, early readers, nonfiction, high fantasy or religious stories.
HOW TO CONTACT: E-mail queries only. Put “Query” in the subject line. Send the query and the first 10 pages in the body of the e-mail.
RECENT SALES: The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner; Beautiful Yetta (The Yiddish Chicken) by Daniel Pinkwater.
TIPS: “A ‘no’ from one of our agents is a ‘no’ from the entire agency. If your work is declined, please do not resubmit the same work to another agent at our agency, as we do communicate with each other about projects under consideration.”
Alexandra H. Machinist
The Linda Chester and Associates Literary Agency
NONFICTION INTERESTS: narrative nonfiction, pop culture, popular science and travel narrative.
FICTION INTERESTS: literary fiction, literary suspense, upmarket women’s fiction, anything and everything that explores a subculture, historical, historical romance, paranormal romance and any other novel that will keep her up turning pages all night.
DOES NOT WANT: memoir, prescriptive nonfiction or chick lit.
HOW TO CONTACT: Agent responds only to submissions that follow these guidelines: “Please send a query that includes a comprehensive synopsis of the project, as well as a bio listing your writing and life credentials, to email@example.com.” If she’s interested in your work, she will respond within four weeks. Snail mail submissions will not be reviewed.
RECENT SALES: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth; The Cheater’s Diet by Marissa Lippert; Some Girls by Jillian Lauren; The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer.
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
FICTION INTERESTS: picture books that are real, storytime-ready stories (no one-joke tales or mood pieces). For the older set, she’s drawn to richly imagined fantasies that depart from old-hat heroic quests (alternate realities, magical realism and steampunk are all styles/premises to have recently caught her notice).
ACTIVELY SEEKING: dystopian fiction for middle-graders and sprawling, atmospheric tales with Dickensian twists and satisfying puzzles. But as much as high-concept novels pique her interest, the most mind-blowing premise can’t hide a flat narrative that rarely reaches for unexpected descriptions, fully fleshed characterizations or a zinging narrative voice.
DOES NOT WANT: fables and folktales.
HOW TO CONTACT: Send the query and first 10 pages via e-mail. If you haven’t heard from her within eight weeks, please assume she is passing on your project.
RECENT SALES: Party by Tom Leveen; Bobo Goes to Daycare by Gail Page; Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman.
TIPS: “A ‘no’ from one of our agents is a ‘no’ from the agency as a whole. If your work is rejected, please do not resubmit the same work to another agent at our agency. We do communicate with each other about projects.”
The August Agency
ACTIVELY SEEKING: women’s fiction, well-written melodramas (consider Gone With the Wind or The Hours) and witty comedies-of-manners (All About Eve). His other favorite areas are nonfiction subjects: political science, history, biography, self-help, health, lifestyle and the
HOW TO CONTACT: E-query with the word “query” in the subject line. Include a detailed summary of your book (one to two paragraphs only), a chapter outline (for nonfiction only), a brief paragraph explaining who you are and why you have chosen to write this particular book, and the first 1,000 words or first chapter (which must be pasted within the body of your e-mail; all unsolicited attachments will be deleted).
RECENT SALES: Clintonomics: How Bill Clinton Reengineered the Reagan Revolution by Jack Godwin; Plum Blossoms in Paris by Sarah Hina.
TIPS: “I always welcome submissions from new authors. Follow the submission guidelines on the agency website.”
Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
30 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn NY 11201
NONFICTION INTERESTS: narrative nonfiction, sports-related books, food writing, pop culture and craft.
FICTION INTERESTS: literary fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, urban fantasy, mystery, YA and middle-grade fiction.
DOES NOT WANT: epic fantasy, sci-fi or children’s picture books.
HOW TO CONTACT: Agent prefers e-mail queries, and generally responds in six to eight weeks. Send a query letter and three sample chapters.
RECENT SALES: How to Take Over Teh Wurld by Professor Happycat and icanhascheezburger.com; Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker; The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
55 Fifth Ave., 15th Floor, New York NY 10003
NONFICTION INTERESTS: practical/how-to books, self-help, pop culture, lifestyle and narrative nonfiction.
FICTION INTERESTS: historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction and kids’ books.
DOES NOT WANT: religious/spiritual titles, talking animal books, thrillers and sci-fi.
HOW TO CONTACT: “Query via e-mail. Please submit a query, book proposal or the first three chapters of the ms, a synopsis of the work and a brief bio or résumé. I generally reply to queries within six weeks.”
RECENT SALES: Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland; The 12 Days of Christmas in Georgia by Elizabeth O. Dulemba; Crazy Aunt Purl’s Home Is Where the Wine Is by Laurie Perry; Whip-Up’s Mini Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson.
Robin Mizell Ltd.
P.O. Box 1270, Athens OH 45701
NONFICTION INTERESTS: long-form narrative journalism, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, pop culture, memoir and biography.
FICTION INTERESTS: literary and commercial fiction, graphic novels, YA and book-length short-story collections.
HOW TO CONTACT: Query via e-mail with a summary of the book, the word count and an explanation of your platform, credentials and expertise. Also include the first five pages of your ms.
Tamela Hancock Murray
10383 Godwin Dr., Manassas VA 20110
NONFICTION INTERESTS: work submitted from writers with a great platform and media presence who can partner with the publisher to sell books.
FICTION INTERESTS: Christian fiction, primarily romance. Historical is of special interest at this time.
HOW TO CONTACT: E-queries only, sent to the above e-mail address. For fiction, submit a package that includes your cover letter, bio, story synopsis, market analysis, marketing strategies (if any) and the first three chapters. For nonfiction, include a query and a comprehensive book proposal with at least three sample chapters.
RECENT SALES: Hearts on the Road by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer; Columbine Trail Series: The Jewel of His Heart and Kickin’ up the Dust by Maggie Brendan; When Your Aging Parent Needs Care by Candy Arrington and Kim Atchley.
Signature Literary Agency
NONFICTION INTERESTS: narrative nonfiction, memoir, food and travel writing, pop culture and self-help.
FICTION INTERESTS: high-quality literary and commercial fiction, women’s fiction and romance, historical fiction, erotica and mysteries.
DOES NOT WANT: sci-fi, fantasy, short stories or children’s books.
HOW TO CONTACT: Send your query by e-mail. No unsolicited attachments. Responds in two to three weeks.
For fiction, send a query and the first five pages pasted into an e-mail. For nonfiction, send a query and a detailed document stating your bio and platform.
RECENT SALES: Dealing With the Others by Jess Haines.
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
200 E. 62nd St., Suite 30D, New York NY 10065
NONFICTION INTERESTS: books that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives in the categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting and fresh looks, which might be at issues, life challenges or pop culture. For compelling reads in “faction,” memoir and “femoir,” she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed.
FICTION INTERESTS: literary fiction, chick lit, commercial fiction.
HOW TO CONTACT: Send an e-query. If sending nonfiction, send the book proposal.
RECENT SALES: The SAT Word Slam by Jodi Fodor; Taxpertise by Bonnie Lee; For Better, Not Worse by Janice Green; Elvis and You: Your Guide to the Pleasures of Being an Elvis Fan by Laura Victoria Levin and John O’Hara.
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
NONFICTION INTERESTS: food memoirs, travel memoirs, Parenting, Psychology, and cookbooks
FICTION INTERESTS: women’s fiction, literary fiction, young adult
HOW TO CONTACT: Please put “Query for Jessica” at the start of the e-mail subject line to get your work read. All queries are read and considered, though she can only respond to those that interest her. “I won’t object to a few sample pages (attach them as a Word document, please): I know that writing queries is a skill separate from writing manuscripts.”
Baker’s Mark Literary Agency
P.O. Box 8382, Portland OR 97207
FICTION INTERESTS: middle-grade and YA fiction, magic(al) realism, contemporary fiction and women’s fiction. Agent is interested in anything with an urban-fantasy touch (more Mike Carey than Maurice G. Dantec), and the middle-grade and YA should have edgy, true-to-life characters and dialogue. The contemporary and women’s fiction should have a wide entry point for its audience but a strong hook that makes it stand out from the crowd.
HOW TO CONTACT: “We prefer a query before you send us your ms. Query us via e-mail. Your query should be one page with no attachments and no chapters included in the body of the e-mail. Queries sent with attachments will be deleted unread. If, based on your query, we ask to see more of your work, we will request more material to be sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Work without a SASE will not be returned. Please do not submit any original materials.”
RECENT SALES: Never After by Dan Elconin; The Choyster Generation by Amalia McGibbon, Claire Williams and Lara Vogel.
Irene Goodman Literary Agency
27 W. 24th St., Suite 700B, New York NY 10010
INTERESTS: literary fiction and narrative nonfiction that combines a love of literature with an adventurous spirit. Agent is open to all writers with an original voice, and he has a particular interest in nonfiction that focuses on cultural, historical and social issues.
HOW TO CONTACT: Send a query and the first 10 pages, along with a detailed synopsis of the book, in the body of an e-mail. Agent responds in two months. E-mail queries to personal addresses will not be answered. No snail mail queries.
RECENT SALES: Children of Disappointment by David Chura; The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman.
Ted Weinstein Literary Management
FICTION INTERESTS: None.
NONFICTION INTERESTS: All nonfiction subjects, including but not limited to: business and personal finance, politics, health, food, history and biography, popular science, and pop culture.
HOW TO CONTACT: E-queries only. Send a query or query & full, polished nonfiction book proposal. Put the words “Author Submission” in the subject line and paste materials in the e-mail, rather than as attachments (which will not be opened). Submissions e-mail available on website.
RECENT SALES: Fibonacci's Bridge of Numbers: the Medieval Genius and the Book that Launched the Modern World, by NPR's "Math Guy" Keith Devlin; Soldiers of G-d: Two Hasidic Gangs and the Battle for Brooklyn's Toughest Neighborhood, by Christian Science Monitor reporter Matt Shaer; 100 Plus: Getting Ready for the Coming Age of Longevity, by Sonia Arrison with a foreword by PayPal founder Peter Thiel; Down & Derby: The Insider's Guide To Roller Derby, by NPR host Alex "Axles of Evil" Cohen and Jennifer "Kasey Bomber" Barbee.
Book Cents Literary Agency
2011 Quarrier St., Charleston WV 25311
NONFICTION INTERESTS: women’s issues/experiences, gardening (herbs, plants, flowers), fun/quirky topics (particularly those of interest to women) and cookbooks. Agent also has a real fondness for travel and outdoor adventure.
FICTION INTERESTS: great YA/tween/teen projects, romances (contemporary, romantic comedies, paranormal, mystery/suspense), women’s lit (must have a strong hook), mainstream mystery/suspense, as well as exceptional literary fiction.
DOES NOT WANT: sci-fi, inspirational, erotica, horror/dark thrillers, short stories/novellas, poetry or screenplays.
HOW TO CONTACT: Agent accepts e-queries only. No attachments. Nonfiction queries should clearly describe the project and include the writer’s qualifications and the first chapter. Fiction queries must include the genre, word count, a clear summary of the plot and characters, any writing credentials and the first chapter in the body of the e-mail. Agent loves edgy stories and authors who think outside the box. It always helps when authors know their target market and competition.
RECENT SALES: My Unfair Lady; Beneath the Thirteen Moons; and The Talismans of Elfhame series, all by Kathryne Kennedy.
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