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 a degree in Language and Literature, Julia Kardon has had an avid interest in reading and publishing. From shelving books at Strand Bookstore to eventually becoming an agent, Julia has worked through all aspects of publishing. She is a good negotiator and has a keen eye for seeking talent. Her record proves that as she has bestselling authors among her client list. She joined Hannigan Salky Geltzer Agency in 2018 and is interested in building her base. Presently Julia wants writers of fiction or narrative non-fiction and journalism. You can send a query letter and the first 5 pages of your manuscript to Julia via email. Please paste the pages within the body of your email as she will not open any attachments.
2. Lara Lea Allen
A good agent is someone who can guide authors in improving rather than changing their style. Lara Lea Allen is one of the great agents with her experience and knowledge. Currently an agent at The Lotts Agency she has worked with the big names in publishing such as HarperCollins. With her skills and experience, she is a perfect fit at a small agency because of her dedication to her clients and honesty. Right now Lara is looking for fiction, young adult, non-fiction and graphic novels. Send a query including a description of the book and your bio along with 5-10 pages of your manuscript in the body of the email. Do not send any attachments. Remember to mention your name and book title in the subject line of your email to get considered.
3. Leslie Zampetti
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. She worked for organizations during her tenure as a librarian which explains her sharp negotiation skills with publishers for her authors. Leslie is also a writer and that makes her understand what amateur and struggling writers undergo while approaching agents. Right now, Leslie is interested in authors of fiction, young adult, historical fiction, picture books and non-fiction. Paste the first 5 pages of your manuscript in the body of an email and a query letter when you write to her. You can send your email to this address.
4. Dara Kaye
Dara Kaye is a Fulbright scholar and holds degrees in language and history, giving her the perfect edge over other agents. She is 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 get them the best deals possible. Dara wants to build her own client base and is eagerly seeking authors in non-fiction with intriguing storylines and writing styles. Write a query letter or a book proposal with an outline, media strategy and 1-3 chapters as attachments to this email address.
5. Leonicka Valcius
Getting published is a challenge. And getting published if you’re a woman or woman of color is even more complicated. As an agent at Transatlantic Agency, Leonicka is trying to change it. A fresh 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 fiction, young adult, children’s books and non-fiction including self-help and business books. Send a query, bio and a 20 page excerpt and synopsis via email.
6. Johanna Castillo
One of the most experienced agents at the prolific literary agency Writers House, Johanna has worked with several bestselling authors. 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 looking for fiction, narrative non-fiction and non-fiction. Writers can email her a query letter and the first 10 pages of your manuscript or your first chapter (till the end).
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.
8. Lindsay Edgecombe
A former editor of The Columbia Review, Lindsay Edgecombe has that knack for finding fresh, new voices and leading them to become published. Even if you 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. The list is full of names of bestselling authors, businessmen, celebrities, journalists and debut writers. She is now an agent at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency and pursuing authors in fiction, non-fiction and illustrated books. The agency has extensive instructions to submit your manuscript or book proposal. Please read carefully before sending them your manuscript via email or using their form on this page.
9. Penelope Burns
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 nearly 3 decades old and has worked with many award winning authors and writers. Authors can expect a full service agency when they approach Gelfman and Penelope to guide them in the process of getting published. She is presently acquiring authors of fiction and non-fiction. You can submit your query via email. Find the instructions listed on this page.
10. Nancy Yost
The founder and agent of Nancy Yost Literary Agency, Nancy Yost has worked with big publishing houses such as Random House before starting her own company. With almost 20 years of experience as a literary agent, she has represented authors such as Linda Castillo, Stephanie Laurens, Beverly Jenkins and Jeaniene Frost. As a successful agent, Nancy has developed her tastes and choices which enable authors to work towards writing a bestseller. She wants genres such as women’s fiction, fiction, romance, mysteries, suspense and non-fiction. You can send a query through the agency’s Submission Manager system after reading the guidelines here.
11. Mary South
Mary South has worked with prestigious companies and publishers such as Random House, Penguin, New Yorker and Google. She is now an agent at Lowenstein Associates. A foreign rights manager, she is starting to find her clients and build a reputable and enviable list of names. The small and boutique agency is perfect for debut and amateur authors or writers who want personalized attention and the ability to collaborate creatively with their agents. In the business since 1976, you can expect their intense negotiation and management skills to land you the best contracts and deals. Mary is interested in fiction and non-fiction in various genres. Writers of non-fiction should send a one page query letter, table of contents and a proposal pasted in the body of the email. You are also requested to put ‘QUERY’ and the title of your book in the subject of your email.
12. Jillian Manus
Jillian Manus is a multi-tasking businesswoman, marketer, speaker and literary agent. Besides running a communications, branding and marketing company she is also a founder and agent at Manus & Associates. Her work has led her to explore all facets of media including television, film, corporate communications and publishing. This has enriched her knowledge as a literary agent and given her the savvy required to pick out the right project. Authors and writers who work with Jillian are given an insider’s view of how the industry works and how to build your brand and idea along with writing your novel or book. All the instructions to submit your proposal can be found on this page along with Jillian’s email address.
13. Brian Defiore
Brian Defiore has been in the publishing industry for almost 35 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 memorable characters in all genres. Write something disruptive, intuitive and challenging if you want to impress Brian. He is currently looking for fiction, non-fiction and young adult. Writers can query Brian by sending him an email describing your book, its contents and a short bio about you and your life.
14. Barney Karpfinger
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 previously published and new authors. Every author and book is different and Matt tackles each project with a fresh attitude and 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. Send your query letter in the body of your email and attach the complete book proposal along with it.
16. Blair Wilson
A good agent has to be a great negotiator. Blair Wilson is both of those things and slowly becoming even better. Negotiating publishing agreements for Park Literary & Media in Eastern Europe and South Korea, she is creating her client list as a literary agent. You will not find a stronger advocate for your rights and career than Blair. She is eagerly seeking new, unheard voices in literature and publishing. Writers who push the boundary and use non-fiction to discuss issues about culture, society and sexuality are of special interest to her. Send your non-fiction query via email to the agency. In the subject line of your email specify ‘’Blair Wilson-Adult Nonfiction.’’ Paste a query letter, proposal and sample chapters in the body of the email.
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. A fan of non-fiction particularly in media, memoirs, music, television, film, pop culture and biography, 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 manuscript 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 interested in fiction and non-fiction. Use the agency’s online form to submit a query letter to Alexander.
19. Peter Rubie
Editor, teacher, journalist, writer and literary agent, Peter Rubie is also the CEO of FinePrint Literary Management. An esteemed professional in the publishing industry, Peter has decades of experience in writing, editing and publishing that make him an excellent literary agent. He holds regular writing workshops and is dedicated to educating and inspiring writers. 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, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction and self help. 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.