Paul Lucas came to Janklow & Nesbit in 2007 not as an agent, but as a paralegal who’d been working in the corporate division of a large law firm. A longtime book lover, he soon gave up legal texts for queried manuscripts, officially donning the agent hat at Janklow in 2011.
“I love projects that incorporate fantasy or make the fantastic seem possible, like Karen Russell’s Swamplandia,” Lucas says. “[Another favorite is] Ian McGuire’s book The North Water, which is about the whaling industry, insurance fraud and sociopathy. I adore any project that makes my pulse beat faster, which happens both with fiction and nonfiction.”
No matter what you’re writing—fiction or nonfiction, books for adults or children—you need a literary agent to get the best book deal possible from a traditional publisher. Guide to Literary Agents 2017 is your essential resource for finding that literary agent and getting a contract with one of the country’s top publishers. Along with listing information for more than 1,000 agents who represent writers and their books, this updated edition of GLA includes:
- A one-year subscription to the literary agent content on WritersMarket.com.
- The secrets of query-writing success: Learn 5 common mistakes that make an agent stop reading—and how to avoid them.
- “New Agent Spotlights”: Get targeted profiles of literary reps who are actively building their client lists right now.
- Informative articles on writing a synopsis, pitching your work online, utilizing writing peers, and much more.
“I would love more nonfiction, especially a transformative history or biography (but not memoir!). I’m always looking for a wide range of fiction. If the writing is wonderful and the book tells a story, it could be for me.”
Paul is actively looking for upmarket commercial fiction, specifically historical, thrillers, science fiction, and fantasy. on the literary side, he likes reading narratives about immigration ostracization, class, family, and race. For nonfiction, he is drawn to narratives, learning about new things, and the occasional humor project.
“Don’t disguise your autobiography as a novel—your life probably isn’t unique enough … to justify it. Go out and learn about other people and things.”
“Always get feedback from unrelated third parties, like writing groups or professional writers, rather than close friends or family.”
“Understand that patience is an important virtue in the publishing world.”
“Practice! It’s frustrating to [have to] learn different styles of pitching, but you need to tailor the pitch to the specific medium. If it’s an email, keep the agent’s esoteric wish list/criterion in mind. In person, have a one-, three- or five-minute version ready, depending on the conference or opportunity.”
HOW TO QUERY:
For fiction submissions: send an informative cover letter, a brief synopsis, and the first ten pages. If you are sending an email submission, include the sample pages in the body of the email below your query.
For nonfiction submissions: send an informative cover letter, a full outline, and the first ten pages of the manuscript. If you are sending an email submission, please include the sample pages in the body of the email below your query.
Address your submission to Paul. Include your email address or a return envelope with sufficient postage if you would like your material sent back to you.
Janklow & Nesbit Associates
285 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
For email submissions, send your material to email@example.com.
Query Pet Peeves
“My true pet peeves are the very obvious ones—misspelling my name/misidentifying my gender; cc’ing me with other agents; sending projects that I do not or, in the case of screenwriting, cannot represent.”
Wallace King, author of Edenland (Lake Union Publishing, 2016)
Edward Ashton, author of Three Days in April (Harper Voyager Impulse, 2015)
Katherine Arden, author of The Bear and the Nightingale (Del Ray, 2017)
Life in a Nutshell
“Son, brother, friend.”
“I ride a motorcycle, cook a lot and work at a standing desk.”
Drink: “A rye Manhattan, served up in a tumbler”
Book-Related Blog: Read to Write Stories (readtowritestories.com)
Living Author: “To avoid using one of my own (since I love them all), I will say that recently I truly loved Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy.”
Dead Author: Joseph Heller
Poetry Collection:Tin Roof by Michael Ondaatje
Place: “The beach on Fire Island in the summer; Sugarbush in the winter”
“Our general counsel once suggested doing the little things first. It always helped to feel like I was making progress throughout my day.”
Why He Does What He Does
“In an ideal world, I make a living from reading books. The world’s not always ideal, so I also read and write a lot of emails, talk on the phone and have a lot of administrative tasks. But, at its core, my job lets me read books and that is pretty cool.”
If you're an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Cris Freese at firstname.lastname@example.org.