Skip to main content

Literary Agent Interview: Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary Agency

“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary Agency) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This series has more than 170 interviews so far with reps from great literary agencies. This collection of interviews is a great place to start if you are just starting your research on literary agents.


What are you seeking?

Nonfiction projects in the pop culture, geek culture, pop psychology, design, and lifestyle categories; young adult (any genre), middle grade (any genre), and illustrated picture books; literary and commercial fiction (including fiction with a touch of genre). You can view her up-to-date manuscript wish list here.

How did you become an agent?

I started as an intern, first with literary agent Bree Ogden and then at P.S. Literary Agency, before joining PSLA as an associate agent. As for my educational background, I have a B.A. in English Literature, a B. Ed., and a post-grad publishing certificate.

Tell us about something you sold that just came out or comes out soon?

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs (Quirk Books) comes out May 12. We are all very excited about this handbook for ladies living a nerdy life; it’s a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom.

What are you specifically looking for in the slush pile right now and not getting?

Middle Grade manuscripts! I am hoping to add some incredible middle grade writers to my list this year. I’m looking for middle grade books in all sorts of genres, but mainly contemporary, horror, and fantasy.

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.

What are you tired of seeing by way of submissions?

There is an upswing in contemporary young adult queries (which is fantastic because I love contemporary YA), but the majority of them don’t focus on what makes their book stand apart. With so many realistic stories about teenagers in high school, your manuscript really needs to have a great hook! I’ve also been noticing quite a few manuscripts about pirates… and the pirate’s life is really not for me.

What are the websites you try and visit every day?

Oh, this is fun! An alphabetized list: Comics Alliance; Feedly (for my daily dose of the wonderful blogs I follow); The Mary Sue; Pub(lishing) Crawl; Publishers Marketplace; Quill & Quire; Tumblr (both my personal website and my fandom blog); Twitter; Women Write About Comics. I also subscribe to many e-newsletters and podcasts that I read/listen to on a daily basis.

What is the best way for writers to submit work to you?

Send a query letter, addressed to me, to You can read the P.S. Literary Agency submission guidelines here.

What’s on your nightstand to read? Or what recent releases have blown you away?

My next few books will be: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, and Ms. Marvel. Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona. Books from last year (2014) that I really, really loved: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, and How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran.

And finally, you run a standing feature on your website, #ASKMAR—what kinds of questions do you answer there and what gave you the idea?

I'll answer questions about anything, but most are related to publishing, querying, writing, agenting, etc. It’s like #AskAgent on Twitter, which many agents do (and I do too, on occasion), but I added the feature to my website because it allows me to answer questions in more detail (I don’t have a character limit), and those asking have the option to do so anonymously—an important feature for those who hated raising their hands in class.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 6.07.16 PM

This interview conducted by Gail Werner, a freelance writer
and committee member of the Midwest Writers Workshop.
You can visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:

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.

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Critically acclaimed novelist Katrina Leno discusses the process of bringing her childhood memories to magical life in her new young adult novel, Sometime in Summer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, "Your Story" Prompt, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our latest episode of "Writer's Digest Presents," the new "Your Story" prompt, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.