If you’re currently going through the non-fiction book publishing process, you’ve probably completed your manuscript, or are on the way to doing so.
Of course, you want make sure you’ve had your book well edited before sending it to a non-fiction publisher. However, you’ll also want to ensure your manuscript is well written and polished before submitting it to a literary agent, if you plan on getting help in getting a publishing contract.
And if you are on the look out for an agent to represent you, continue reading to learn about 19 top non-fiction literary agents.
1. Julia Kardon
With degrees in Slavic Languages and Literature, and in Comparative Literature, Julia Kardon is a resident of New York City. From shelving books at Strand Bookstore to eventually becoming an agent, Julia has worked through all aspects of publishing. Her record proves that as she has bestselling authors on her client list, such as John Freeman Gill or Brit Bennett. She joined HG Literary in 2018, and is interested in working with talented writers whose works are in literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, memoir, history, and journalism, to give some examples. If you would like to work with Julia, feel free to send her your manuscript’s first 5 pages and a query letter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, keep in mind not to upload any attachments. Since she is a popular choice among authors, Julia only responds to those she wants to collaborate with.
2. Caitie Flum
Since 2014, Caitie Flum has been working as a literary agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she collaborates with clients such as Ronica Davis (author of When the Stars Lead to You) and Caryn Lix (author of Sanctuary). She has a B.A. in English with a focus on Publishing Studies, editing experience, and has completed internships at both Writers House and Hachette Book Group Caitie’s genres of choice are historical fiction, science fiction, romance, and non-fiction, to give a few examples. Women’s issues, pop culture, humor, theater, current events, and history are some of her favorite subjects. Feminist and LGBTQ+ projects are at the top of her list as well, but not exclusively – click here to see more of what she’s looking for. Although she is currently closed to submissions, you can still occasionally check her page to see when she becomes available again.
This librarian turned agent has a lot of experience on her side. 20 years as a librarian sparked her interest in helping writers achieve their dreams of getting published. She joined Dunham Literary in 2016, and is steadily making a reputation as an agent who cares about her authors. With sharp negotiation skills and a degree in English, Leslie knows how to make publishers see the best parts of a book. She is also a writer, and that makes her perfectly aware of what authors feel while approaching agents. Right now, Leslie is interested in authors of young adult novels, historical fiction, upmarket romance, picture books, and narrative non-fiction. Paste the first 5 pages of your manuscript and a query letter in the body of an email when you write to her. You can send your email to this address.
4. Dara Kaye
Specialized in both English Language & Literature and in Renaissance Literature, Dara Kaye is passionate about diversity. She is a Foreign Rights Manager at Ross Yoon Agency in Washington. Dealing with publishers and companies in nearly 50 countries has allowed her to fight for her authors and to get them the best deals possible. Dara wants to build her own client base and is eagerly seeking non-fiction authors whose works involve varied writing styles, topics, as well as unknown histories. If you’re interested in working with her, make sure to check the submission guidelines displayed here.
Getting published is a challenge. And if you’re a person of color, particularly if you’re disabled, trans, or you’re a part of another underrepresented community, it is even more complicated. As an agent at Transatlantic Agency, Leonicka is trying to change this. A young agent, she is creating a new client list to encourage and support authors wanting to get a break in the publishing industry. She will work along with senior agents at the agency, so that authors get varied perspectives and more attention. Leonicka is interested in adult and YA fiction, children’s books, and non-fiction. Unfortunately, she is not accepting any submissions at present, but you can try to email her to see when she’ll be available again.
One of the most experienced agents at the prolific literary agency Writers House, Johanna has worked with several bestselling authors. Having over 18 years of experience as an agent means she has faced changing landscapes in the industry, and kept on progressing. She counts authors like Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, Rachael Ray, and Javier Sierra in her client list. Johanna wants authors and writers who she can guide editorially and collaborate with creatively over long projects. She is mainly looking for fiction, and non-fiction – the latter includes lifestyle, narrative non-fiction, and cooking, to give a few examples. If you want to send her your work, please include the first 5 pages of your project and a query letter in the body of your email, and submit it to email@example.com.
7. Nicola Barr
It is always better to have an agent who was a wider range of opinion and experiences. Nicola Barr has worked as an editor, foreign rights agent and now is a literary agent building her client base. She has studied English literature which adds to her repertoire and gives her a writer’s view on things. Editing professionally also led to a nuanced eye that helped her write book reviews for the Guardian and the Observer. Right now, Nicola is an agent at The Bent Agency and is interested in fiction and non-fiction. Submit your query to her via email by sending your bio and the first 10 pages of your email pasted in the body.
A former editor of The Columbia Review, Lindsay Edgecombe has that knack for finding fresh, new voices, and for leading them to become published. Even if you only have an idea, Lindsay is eager and helpful enough to build, create, and shape it so it turns into a story. Her clients have topped bestselling lists, appeared on multiple TV shows, and written for many popular American publications. Lindsay’s list is full of names of bestselling authors, bloggers, Instagram celebrities, journalists, and debut writers. She is now an agent at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency and pursuing authors in literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, lifestyle & health, memoir, and illustrated books. The agency has extensive instructions on how to submit your manuscript or book proposal. Whether you complete the form or you send your query via email, make sure to send them 50 pages at most.
The newest member at Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners, Penelope Burns is building her portfolio as a literary agent. With a degree in publishing, Penelope is learning the ropes and using her enthusiasm and youth to find the next bestseller. The agency is around 3 decades old and has worked with many award-winning authors and writers. Authors can expect a full service agency when they approach Penelope to guide them in the process of getting published. She is passionate about fiction, non-fiction, middle grade, and young adult books. Unfortunately, she isn’t accepting any new projects at present – if you’d like to work with Penelope, you can check her availability here or on Twitter.
10. Nancy Yost
The founder and agent of Nancy Yost Literary Agency, Nancy Yost has worked for big publishing houses, such as Random House, before starting her own company. With over20 years of experience as a literary agent, she has represented authors such as Linda Castillo, Stephanie Laurens, Beverly Jenkins, and Jeaniene Frost. Since books are her passion, she also has experience in editing. She is interested in genres such as non-fiction (especially when it comes to natural science and social history), women’s fiction, crime, mystery, and historical suspense, to give a few examples. Interested in working with her? You can send a query through the agency’s Submission Manager system after reading the guidelines displayed here.
11. Nick Mullendore
Nick Mullendore is a literary agent who gained vast knowledge of the publishing field during his time working at HarperBusiness and at Loretta Barrett Books, Inc. In 2016, he decided to establish Vertical Ink Agency. Mark Nepo, Jack Kelly, and Chaz Bono are just a few of the authors he has collaborated with so far. In terms of titles, HAPPY TOGETHER: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts, by Suzanne Pileggi, M.A.P.P and James Pawelski, Ph.D, and How to Create a Mind, by Ray Kurzweil are on his list. Nick’s specialties are health & wellness, inspiration & motivation, fiction, and business & leadership, to give a few examples. Interested in submitting your work? Make sure to include a concise chapter outline/overview of the book, as well as a short query. Click here to find the complete guidelines.
After gaining experience as an associate agent and a counsel, Jennifer Tran started working at Bradford Literary in 2017. With a B.A. in English Literature and a Juris Doctor degree, she excels in her field because of her publishing knowledge and negotiation skills. A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide, by Jamey Stegmaier, and The Peached Tortilla Cookbook, by Eric Silverstein are two titles you will find on her list. In terms of genres, Jennifer is passionate about narrative non-fiction, lifestyle, parenting, business, and women’s fiction, to give some examples. If you want to send her a proposal, make sure to include a sample chapter and a query letter. Also, keep in mind that authors from underrepresented groups are of great interest to her.
13. Brian Defiore
Brian Defiore has been in the publishing industry for about 40 years. Working as an editor, publisher, and then to starting his own literary agency Defiore & Company in 1999, he has done it all. His years in publishing have taught him how to spot the great novel and the next big author. As he has worked on all sides of the table, he prefers strong storytelling and voice mastery in all genres. He is currently looking for fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. In terms of non-fiction, pop science, memoir, cooking, lifestyle, and humor are some of his favorite topics. Writers can query Brian by sending him an email describing your book, its contents, and a short bio.
The Karpfinger Agency was launched by Barney Karpfinger in 1985 to fervently build, support and promote the careers of new or previously unpublished writers and authors. Barney has worked to keep the agency and his list small, so he can choose quality over quantity and allot his time and commitment to the clients he believes in. In 30 years, Barney has managed to find and champion many successful, interesting and revolutionary authors and books. He is presently seeking fiction and non-fiction works. He does not accept queries or submissions via email. You can send your proposal via post after reading the guidelines specified on this page.
15. Matt Bialer
An agent at Greenburger Associates since 2003, Matt Bialer has been a literary agent since 1985. Over his career, he has represented both previously published and new authors. Every author and every book is different, and Matt tackles each project with a fresh attitude and a positive feeling. He has built an eclectic client and book list with books in fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and mystery. New or debut writers need not hesitate before approaching Matt as he welcomes them with open arms. Writers of non-fiction should have a well tailored book proposal ready for him. Some of his favorite topics are sports, popular culture, race, and history. Send your query letter in the body of your email and attach the complete book proposal along with it.
16. Annie Bomke
Founder of Annie Bomke Literary Agency, this agent started her journey in the publishing field as an editorial assistant at Zoetrope: All-Story. As she was also a technical writer and a bookstore manager, Annie has gained enough knowledge about books to know precisely what publishers are looking for. Two notable titles on her list are the Poppy McAllister series, by Libby Klein, and Dodging and Burning, by John Copenhaver. Her interests vary widely – upmarket fiction, women’s fiction, literary/psychological horror, memoir, business, self-help, and current events are just some of her favorite genres. To submit your non-fiction work, make sure to include a proposal and a query letter. You can find out more about the guidelines here.
17. David Dunton
A senior agent at the Harvey Klinger Literary Agency since 1996, David Dunton has worked with several popular and successful authors. His finely honed opinions give an author the opportunity to take their book from an average novel to a bestseller. He is a fan of non-fiction particularly when it comes to media, memoirs, music, television, film, pop culture, and biography, to give a few examples. David also worked in the editorial department at Simon & Schuster. Submit your query via email to David. Paste a short synopsis of your work, a bio, and the first 5 pages of your book in the body of the email.
18. Alexander Slater
Alexander Slater is a literary agent at the famous Trident Media Group. He has previously worked as a Foreign Rights Agent and represented the country all over the world at book fairs and events. Experiencing new cultures and the global literature scene gave Alexander an edge to become a literary agent. Aware of what else is already out there, he is confident of what works and what doesn’t. Authors and writers need a gentle yet firm hand in the form of their literary agent, and they can find it in Alexander. He is your fiercest critic and strongest supporter all rolled in one. Alexander is particularly interested in fiction and non-fiction for middle grade and young adult readers, in narrative non-fiction, and in graphic novels, to give a few examples. Use the agency’s online form to submit a query letter to Alexander.
19. Peter Rubie
Former editor, teacher, and journalist, Peter Rubie is now the CEO of FinePrint Literary Management, where he provides services as a literary agent. An esteemed professional in the publishing industry, Peter has decades of experience in writing, editing, and publishing, and it surely helps him excel at being an agent. Nothing gives him more joy than finding a good manuscript and working on it along with the writer to polish and perfect it. Peter loves to read fiction works, such as thrillers, science fiction, and fantasy. When it comes to non-fiction, he prefers spirituality, popular science, history, music, and self help, to name a few topics. Send a query letter and bio to Peter via email.
Are you aware of any other non-fiction literary agents we should know about? Please tell us about them in the comments box below!
Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.