The publishing industry is an intense, competitive market.
If you are a struggling writer or a dreamer with a story in your mind, you have to find the right tools that will enable you to achieve your dream and goal.
A literary agent is the mediator who has the contacts, the experience and the skill to know which story should be submitted to which publisher.
A literary agent also knows which publisher is looking for a particular genre or story. Your agent will be your champion, your guide and your partner. They will ensure your book gets the best deal.
New writers or amateur authors in the US have the benefit of having talented literary agents spread across the country just looking to find the next bestselling author.
To help you achieve your dream, we have created a list of the 21 Top US literary agents accepting submissions.
1. Peter H. McGuigan
The co-founder of the popular Foundry Literary + Media Agency in New York, Peter has studied writing and journalism giving him an insider’s perspective to writing. Constantly on the lookout for unconventional, challenging subjects, Peter’s previous authors have been fresh new voices and one of them has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt). He believes in working in close collaboration with writers to enable them to give their best to their book and create a stellar proposal. Seeking fiction and non-fiction, you can contact Peter via email. You can also read submission guidelines here.
2. Allison Hunter
Working at one of the most esteemed literary agencies in the world, Janklow & Nesbitt in New York; Allison Hunter has a varied clientele as a literary agent. With a career spanning nearly 13 years, Allison has consciously worked with authors looking to make a mark by having unique stories to tell and share. Her authors include strong women and interesting authors who have made a mark by writing memoirs, novels and stories. Some of her authors include Jen Silverman, Georgia Clark and Kelsey Miller. Currently she is interested in narrative fiction, non-fiction, culture and funny female writers. You can contact Allison via post after reading the submission guidelines. Or you can write to her at Twitter- @AllisonSHunter.
3. Caryn Wiseman
An agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2003 in Northern California, Caryn has 15 years of experience working with authors and finding talents that stand out. Choosing to work only with authors of young adult, children’s fiction, middle grade fiction and picture books for children, Caryn is interested in great storytelling. The essence is to avoid trends or genres such as fantasy, zombie and horror. Having sold over 400 books, Caryn has previously worked with Cece Bell, Nate Evans and Debbie Levy among others. Most of her authors have been bestsellers or award winners so you are in good company. You can contact her on Twitter- @carynwiseman. Read the submissions guidelines carefully before sending your proposal and mention the agent’s name in the email.
4. Cameron McClure
Cameron McClure has been at the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York since 2004. If you are a writer exploring the edgier subcultures, ideas and genres, you should approach Cameron. There is no specific genre she fancies but aim for fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thriller and international themes. She encourages authors to balance genre and plot pace with good writing. Her clients include names like Steve Bein, Amy Alkon and Molly Tanzer. She only accepts queries via email with the query letter and first 5 pages of your story pasted in the body of the e-mail. The submission guidelines have been explained on this page. Expect anywhere between 4-8 weeks to get a response.
5. Jeff Kleinman
A founding partner at Folio Literary Management based in Manhattan, Jeff Kleinman combines the experience and sales ability of a big agency with the heart and passion of a small team. Having 18 years of experience seeking writers and stories that would make a difference, Jeff is still a passionate agent and champion for every writer that works with him. Before you consider approaching Jeff, he requests you familiarize yourself with the kind of content he is interested in. He generally looks for upbeat, positive stories about life and relationships, stories that can be summed up in few lines but are unbelievable and crazy, books about history, animals, mystery and suspense set in interesting timelines. He does not accept science fiction, depressing memoirs or stories about terrorists or organizations wanting to take over countries, young adult and poetry. Jeff accepts submissions only via email. Be clear that it is a submission and you want him to review your proposal. Paste your cover letter and the first page of your manuscript in the email as he doesn’t review attachments.
6. Stephen Barbara
Currently working at Inkwell Management in New York since 2015, Stephen Barbara has previously worked at Foundry Literary + Media and Donald Maass Literary Agency. Having worked as a writer, Stephen is aware of the creative process and has worked with bestselling authors in his career. Some of his clients include Lisa Graff, Paul Tremblay and Ricardo Cortes. Writers of fiction, non-fiction in all genres can consider submitting a proposal to Stephen. Paste a query letter and a short writing sample of 1-2 chapters in the body of an email. They do not review or accept large attachments. They request you to give them 8 weeks to respond. Queries can be sent to this email.
7. Lorin Rees
An agent at Rees Literary Agency, one of the first literary agencies in Boston, Lorin Rees is looking for new voices and authors. Lorin believes that a successful agent-writer relationship is about partnership and trust. He is interested in fiction, non-fiction, literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, self-help and memoirs. Fiction submissions should include a query letter and first three chapters while non-fiction should include a query letter and a proposal, Mail your queries here or send them via post.
8. Christopher Vyce
Founder and agent at The Brattle Agency LLC in Cambridge, Christopher Vyce has worked at every aspect of publishing right down to selling books at an antique book store. By learning how books are sold and marketed, he acquired a deeper understanding of what the audience and readers want. He does not limit himself to any particular genre but prefers graphic novels, music, culture, art, sports, history, European history and politics. Read the submission guidelines carefully before submitting your query. They are currently not accepting fiction in any genres.
9. Margaret Bail
Margaret Bail is a part of the eclectic hybrid literary agency Fuse Literary in Silicon Valley. Her extensive education and years of editing manuscripts has enabled her to gauge fresh talents and ideas consistently. She does not work on topics like young adult, middle grade, children’s books, screenplays, poetry or chick lit. Margaret is interested in genres such as mystery, thrillers, science fiction, action, historical fiction, memoirs and cookbooks. You can send a query letter, synopsis and first 10 pages of your manuscript to her via email.
10. Danielle Egan-Miller
At Browne & Miller Literary Associates in Chicago, Danielle Egan-Miller is the president and an agent with an impeccable record. Presiding over the agency since 2003, Danielle has represented authors who have won awards such as the Edgar Award, the Colorado Book Award, the Western Spur Award and many more. Danielle is seeking writers of adult fiction and commercial fiction. Please read the submission guidelines carefully before sending your query.
11. Andrea Cirillo
Working at The Jane Rotrosen Agency since 1980, Andrea Cirillo has established herself as an expert in commercial fiction. The agency is renowned in New York for its ability to negotiate great deals for its writers and their relentless dedication to getting work published. Writers of suspense, thrillers, women’s fiction and fiction can consider approaching Andrea. Read the submission guidelines before sending a query to Andrea. You can send a query to Andrea via email.
12. Elizabeth Wales
Elizabeth Wales established Wales Literary Agency in 1990 in Seattle to find the best of writing talent in the region and promote it. She is a member of the Author’s Guild and has guided the agency in finding and working with bestselling authors and award winners. Their clients have won accolades such as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, American Book Awards, Washington State Book Awards, Lambda Literary Awards, PEN Awards and many more. Elizabeth is interested in topics such as fiction, literary fiction, graphic novels, culture, art, food, politics and narrative non-fiction. She only accepts digital submissions so contact her via email. The query needs to be only one page, explaining who you are, your book and why there is a market for your book.
13. Sara Crowe
A senior agent at Pippin Properties, Inc, Sara Crowe has managed to turn her passion into a living. An agent needs to do more than just get work printed or published and Sara nurtures new writers by supporting them and guiding them through the intense world of publishing in New York. The entire team at Pippin holds regular networking events to showcase their talent and commit to maintaining professionals relationships. Writers of young adult, middle-grade and illustrated children’s books can write to Sara. The submission must be double spaced and in a size 12 font. You should paste the first chapter of your manuscript in the body of the email and short synopsis or if it’s a picture book, then paste the entire book. Sara does not accept or review any attachments. You can contact her via email.
14. Amy Levenson
An agent at the boutique Blue Heron Literary in Seattle, Amy Levenson pursues unrecognized talent and authors. Understanding that the big traditional agencies are not always approachable, Amy urges first time authors to contact her. You can send your submissions via email. She is interested in mainstream fiction, young adult, humor and contemporary fiction. In non-fiction, she is looking for memoirs and narrative non-fiction. Writers can find the submission guidelines outlined on this page.
15. Jill Corcoran
Jill Corcoran established Jill Corcoran Literary Agency in California in 2014. While it may be a newly formed agency, Jill has years of experience working in the publishing industry and representing award winning authors and writers. Having been a teacher, a writer and a marketer, Jill has combined all those skills and elements to guide, push and sell her writers. She is seeking edgy concepts and ideas in young adult, middle grade, graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction. Writers can fill out this form to submit to Jill.
16. Jim Hart
Part of the full service Hartline agency in Pittsburgh, Jim Hart has years of experience representing new and published authors. The agency was previously focused only on Christian genres but has expanded to general topics and genres. A fair and dedicated agent, Jim Hart is interested in Christian non-fiction, living, business, leadership, social issues and self-help. In fiction, he prefers action, suspense, science fiction and women’s fiction. Jim only accepts submissions via email. The submission guidelines for fiction and non-fiction have been outlined extensively on this page.
17. Mark Gottlieb
A literary agent at the reputed Trident Media Group in New York, Mark Gottlieb has a reputation of closing maximum deals and getting the best contracts for his writers. Energetic and enthusiastic, Mark is building his own solid list of authors. He welcomes first time writers and previously published authors with the same enthusiasm. Understanding that stories can be shared via any medium, Mark has negotiated many book to TV and book to film deals. He is seeking submissions in all genres. You can contact Mark via email. Writers should fill this form to submit a query letter and wait for Mark to respond.
18. Jack Scovil
A partner at the Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Jack Scovil is one of the reasons the agency is a name to reckon with in New York. Open to different genres and ideas, Jack has worked with famous authors and bestsellers, and has enabled books to be turned into movies and television series. He is persistent and a clever negotiator who fights on behalf of his clients. You can send a query by pasting it in the body of your email as Jack does not review or accept attachments. Send your query to Jack by email.
19. Kristin Nelson
The founder of Nelson Literary Agency in Denver, Kristin Nelson understands the troubles writers go through. She formed the agency in 2002 to provide better deals and payments for writers and authors so they can make a sole living from writing. A gritty negotiator and passionate reader, Kristin has represented nearly forty New York Times bestsellers. She is looking for strong stories with driven characters in any genre, young adult, middle grade, women’s fiction, thrillers and action. You can contact Kristin via email. In the body of your email, paste a query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript. Write the subject as ‘QUERY’ so it doesn’t go to spam or get ignored.
20. Paul Rodeen
Paul Rodeen started Rodeen Literary Agency in Chicago in 2008. He has nearly 17 years of experience as an agent. Representing many authors and writers over the years, Paul now focuses on children’s books, young adult, middle grade and illustrated books. You can send your submission via email. Writers should read the guidelines explained on this page before sending your submission.
21. Cori Deyoe
A published writer and author, Cori Deyoe is an agent at 3 Seas Literary Agency in Wisconsin since 2006. The advantage of having a writer as your agent is they know the intricacies involved in writing a book and can guide new writers and amateurs effortlessly. Cori is currently looking for topics such as women’s fiction, non-fiction, romance, young adult, thrillers, action and mysteries. Contact details and submission guidelines can be found on this page.
So, that’s our list of 21 top US literary agents accepting submissions. Before you approach any agent, you should be aware of how to write a good query letter. The correct query letter is crucial to getting your book noticed. Once you have managed to contact the agent, be confident in your material and yourself. Accept their professional advice but also stand up for your book and story when needed. As we have mentioned, a great agent will be your mentor, your support system, your marketing genius and your critic. This is a relationship based on trust, encouragement and honesty so select the right agent and your dreams will come true in no time.
Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.