Here are seven agents seeking clients. Most of these are established agents who have recently changed agencies. All have experience in the publishing industry. They are seeking an eclectic mix, from upmarket literary to children’s books, memoir to fantasy, and from thrillers to health and wellness.
Be sure to read the agency’s full guidelines before submitting.
About Reiko: Before joining DeFiore in early 2016, Reiko Davis was an associate agent at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency for four years.
She grew up in Kansas City, received her BA in Comparative Literature and Art History from Brown University, and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course.
What she is looking for: Reiko’s interests are varied, but she is particularly drawn to adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, and young adult and middle grade fiction. Above all, she wants to discover books that surprise and move her with their irresistible characters and language.
She loves a strong narrative voice; smart, funny heroines; narrowly located settings (especially towns in the South and Midwest); family sagas; darkly suspenseful novels; and stories of remarkable friendships or that explore the often perilous terrain of human relationships. For children’s books, she is actively looking for young adult and middle grade fiction — whether it be contemporary, historical, fantasy, or simply a story with a timeless quality and vibrant characters. For nonfiction, she is most interested in cultural, social, and literary history; fascinating tours through niche subjects; narrative science; psychology; guides on creativity; and memoir.
How to submit: Please query her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Query” in the subject line as well as the following: A brief description of your book, and a brief, relevant bio. For fiction, please include the first chapter of your book pasted in the body of your email. No attachments, please.
Molly O’Neill of Root Literary
About Molly: Prior to becoming an agent, Molly spent thirteen years working in various roles inside the children’s publishing industry: as an Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth’s YA juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; as Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and in School & Library Marketing at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books.
What she is seeking: Young Adult Fiction: Tell me a story that’s somehow never been told, particularly if it’s by a narrative voice that’s never been heard, or an authorial voice that’s been previously under-represented. I’m most compelled by big what-ifs; by a vivid and vibrant sense of place or worldbuilding; by characters making hard, even seemingly-impossible choices; by the portrayal of friendships that are as intensely meaningful as any romance; by tales of chosen family or bands-of-misfits-turned-family; and by romances that are simultaneously swoony and full of wit and spark. I’m far more interested in the ground-breaking than the well-trodden or derivative, and so am fascinated by unexpected structures, high-concept narrative frameworks and storytelling mechanisms, meldings of genres, or twists I genuinely didn’t see coming. And always, always, I want evocative, masterful writing.
Middle Grade Fiction: I’m drawn over and over to middle grades that make me feel something as a reader — whether you make me laugh, cry, curious, wondrous, or furiously indignant! My favorite middle grades explore relationships and a character’s growing awareness of their connections to the larger world around them, all while saying something fresh and meaningful about the experience of being human. Magical realism or a sense of the fantastical get big bonus points from me, as does a strong sense of place, real or imaginary, and I can never get enough of humor (though I lean more toward wit, puns, or a sense of the absurd than slapstick humor). Lyrical writing can win me over fast, but to be a book that readers return to again and again, it needs to be supported by a plot as compelling as the language is beautiful.
Illustrators & Author-Illustrators: I am NOT currently seeking standalone texts by picture book authors, but I’m very open to illustrators, and I likewise welcome illustrators who are also writers or on their way to becoming writers. My illustrator clients work on a variety of formats, from jacket/cover illustrations, to spot art, to full picture books, to early readers/chapter books, to the occasional graphic novel or graphic hybrid. I’m drawn to a wide variety of illustration styles (visit the Illustrator Gallery on my website to see examples), but what most catches my eye is art with a distinctive narrative sensibility or point of view, a knack for visual storytelling, and the intelligent use of subtle-but-impactful visual details, whether poignant, humorous, or sweet, that add to the richness and complexity of a story’s seemingly-simple layers. On a technical level, I’m open to any medium, but looking for illustrators who work equally well in full color and black/white/grayscale and dexterity with shading, line work, and composition are all important.
Nonfiction for adults, kids, or teens: My nonfiction list is eclectic, and often driven by a writer with a distinctive and well-established platform, expertise, or life experience. I’m particularly drawn to nonfiction narratives about creativity, culture, storytelling, innovation, community, connectivity, and/or friendship/love/family in all its forms; by projects that explore the intersections of unexpectedly-connected topics; and by those that underscore a universal human story, whatever the context. A good rule of thumb: if it would make for a fascinating TED talk, chances are I’ll be intrigued. As an agent, I’m eager to strategize with you about how a book/literary career might further enable the reach of your existing work, and to support you in developing authentic ways of collaborating/exchanging value with the community that already embraces you and your work.
How to submit: Please send a query letter and the first 10 pages of your manuscript in the body of an email to email@example.com. Please include Molly’s name in the subject line of your email and it will be sent direct to her.
Stacia Decker of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency
CLOSED TO QUERIES AS OF 10/23/17
About Stacia: Stacia Decker has been agenting since 2009. Previously, she worked at the Donald Maass Literary Agency and, as an editor, at Harcourt and Otto Penzler Books. She began her career as an intern and then editorial assistant at Farrar, Straus & Giroux after earning an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and an AB in Government and English from Georgetown University.
What she is looking for: She represents high-concept literary and speculative fiction, commercial thrillers, crime/mystery fiction, and sci-fi fantasy. She is partial to strong voices, fast-paced plotting, and near-future or cross-genre elements.
How to submit: Send a query letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send attachments.
Jennifer Udden of Barry Goldblatt Literary
About Jennifer: Jennifer Udden was born in Houston, TX, and spent many of her formative years hiding books under tables while she was meant to be paying attention to something else. She has a BA from Mount Holyoke College, and graduated in 2008 with a major in Politics, a minor in Chinese, and honors thesis work on anxiety in British detective fiction of the early 20th century. She has worked in fundraising for an off-Broadway theater company and joined the publishing industry in 2010 at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She is the co-host of the podcast Shipping & Handling (shippingandhandlingpodcast.com) with Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary, Inc.
What she is looking for: Speculative fiction of all stripes, especially innovative science fiction or fantasy that explores worlds we haven’t seen before; contemporary/erotic/LGBT/ paranormal/ historical romance; contemporary or speculative YA; select mysteries, thrillers, and urban fantasies. Please, do not send to Jen: any middle-grade, chapter, or picture books; nonfiction.
How to submit: E-mail queries should include the word “query” in the subject line. To query Jen Udden, e-mail queries can be sent to email@example.com. Your email query should include the following within the body of the email: your query letter, a synopsis of the book, and the first five pages of your manuscript. We will not open or respond to any e-mails that have attachments. If we like the sound of your work, we will request more material from you. Our response time is four weeks on queries, six to eight weeks on full manuscripts. If you haven’t heard from us within that time, feel free to check in via email.
About Miriam: Miriam Altshuler began her career at Russell & Volkening, where she worked with such writers as Anne Tyler, Eudora Welty, Joseph Campbell, and Bernard Malamud. In 1994 she established her own agency, which she ran for twenty-one years until she joined DeFiore and Company in early 2016.
What she is seeking: In fiction, she is most interested in family sagas, historical novels, and stories that offer a new twist or retelling of some kind. She does not work with adult romance, sci fi, or fantasy. In nonfiction, she loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, and self-help (as long as it is not too prescriptive). She particularly responds to books that have an important cultural, social, or psychological focus.
How to submit: Please send an email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Query” in the subject line. Include the following: A brief description of your book, and a brief, relevant bio. For fiction, please include the first chapter of your book pasted in the body of your email. She also really wants to know what you feel the heart of your book is, in one or two sentences. No attachments, please.
Maggie Riggs of Riggs Agency
About Maggie: The Riggs Agency was founded in 2015 by Maggie Riggs, a veteran of the NYC publishing industry. Maggie has worked as an editor at Viking, an associate agent at The Friedrich Agency, and as an independent editor with NY Book Editors.
What she is seeking: The agency specializes in literary fiction. She takes on select non-fiction projects including narrative nonfiction, essays, memoir, and food writing. She is particularly interested in works from fiction writers of color, and diverse voices of all kinds.
How to submit: Please send your query letter, bio, and the first ten pages of your manuscript in the body of your email to email@example.com. Do not send your full manuscript, or any other materials, as an attachment to your email unless requested.
Eric Myers of Myers Literary Management
About Eric: Eric Myers founded Myers Literary Management in 2017, following two years with Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret LLC and thirteen with The Spieler Agency. A graduate of UCLA and the Sorbonne, Eric entered publishing as a journalist and author. His books include Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, Forties Screen Style: A Celebration of High Pastiche in Hollywood, and Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis, all published by St. Martin’s Press. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Arts and Leisure sections, as well as Time Out, Variety, Opera News, and Art and Auction.
What he is seeking: As an agent, Eric has a strong affinity for young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as adult nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, biography, psychology, health and wellness, mind/body/spirit, and pop culture. He also loves a good thriller, and is open to memoir from authors with strong platforms.
How to submit: Email submissions are preferred, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For non-fiction queries, please include a few paragraphs on the premise of the book and about your own background. Also please include “non-fiction” in your email subject line.
For fiction queries, please also include a few paragraphs on the premise plus some background about yourself, as well as the first ten pages of your manuscript. Please paste this into your e-mail rather than sending it as an attachment.
Note: This post has gotten a tremendous response, which is an indication that many writers on Medium are seeking representation. I keep a full list of agents (all from reputable agencies) who are actively seeking clients on my website here:
Originally published at publishedtodeath.blogspot.com on February 23, 2016.
Erica Verrillo has published five books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and how to keep your spirits up on Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity.