New Literary Agent Alert: Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency

He is seeking: Paul is looking for science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, and humor (both fiction and nonfiction). He’s looking for strong stories with interesting characters. Well-rounded LGBT characters and characters of color are a plus.
Author:
Publish date:

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.05.08 PM

About Paul: Paul Stevens joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2016. He has worked as an editor for 15 years, primarily at Tor Books, where he edited science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Paul has worked with authors such as Alex Bledsoe (The Hum and the Shiver), Marie Brennan (A Natural History of Dragons), Robert Brockway (The Unnoticeables), Tobias S. Buckell (Crystal Rain), Adam Christopher (Made to Kill), Hilary Davidson (The Damage Done), David Edison (The Waking Engine), Michael Livingston (The Shards of Heaven), A. Lee Martinez (Gil’s All Fright Diner), and Patrick Taylor (An Irish Country Doctor). During his time at Tor he also managed Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive. Paul is an Ohio native and a graduate of the Ohio State University. He spent a year in Chile as a high school exchange student.

(How do you get people to read your blog posts? Here are 2 tips.)

He is seeking: Paul is looking for science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, and humor (both fiction and nonfiction). He’s looking for strong stories with interesting characters. Well-rounded LGBT characters and characters of color are a plus.

Concerning Science Fiction and Fantasy: Paul would love to see stories that take tried-and-true genre tropes and turn them on their heads in an inventive way. Epic fantasy should stretch the boundaries and shake things up. For example, if your book is about a group of characters going on a quest, be sure you have an inventive take on the quest fantasy subgenre. Show us something that we’ve never seen before.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.57.50 PM

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

Concerning Mystery and Suspense: Ideally your book should have an intriguing concept that makes the reader think, “Oh, that’s a cool idea.” Paul is interested in historical mysteries (set in both the past and the future), mysteries with a speculative element (ghosts, magic, monsters), and mysteries with an unusual setting. Again, strong, memorable characters are key.

Concerning Humor: Paul is interested in humorous fiction, nonfiction, and “other.” Humor is very subjective, but if he’s inspired to rush into a coworker’s office to show them a funny passage, that’s a very good sign. Humorous fiction: Think Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and A. Lee Martinez. Humorous nonfiction: Think David Sedaris. Humorous other: Think along the lines of The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley, It’s Happy Bunny by Jim Benton, or Bent Objects by Terry Border.

Paul is not looking for poetry, memoirs, screenplays, picture books, or chapter books.

(Exclusive Requests From Literary Agents—What Are They and How Do They Work?)

How to submit: Paul only accepts email queries. Please query at query.pstevens [at] maassagency.com. Include a cover letter and a synopsis pasted in the body of the email. (If your book has a twist at the end, please don’t reveal the twist in the synopsis. Paul needs to judge how well a twist works in the actual manuscript, and it’s better to read the ending cold without spoilers.) Please also include the first 5 pages of your manuscript pasted into the email. No attachments. For humor books that include images, please send a cover letter and synopsis pasted in the body of the email and attach one or two representative images. Please make sure that the image files are low resolution so the files are of reasonable size. Response times: Query letters – up to 3 weeks; Partial manuscripts – up to 6 weeks; Full manuscripts – up to 2 months.

------------------

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying,
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

A memoir is an open window into another's life—and although the truth is of paramount importance, so too is grabbing hold of its reader. Writer Tasha Keeble offers 3 tips for writing a memoir everyone will want to read.

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Bestselling and Giller Prize-shortlisted author Zoe Whittal discusses the complexity of big life decisions in her new novel, The Spectacular.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 582

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a transition poem.