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.
Stephen Barbara was a new name in the publishing industry back in the mid-2000s. From HarperCollins, his workplace switched to Donald Maass Agency and Foundry Media over the following years. Today, he offers his excellent agenting skills at InkWell Management on 5th Avenue, New York City.
For the past seven years, Stephen’s client list has grown to include noteworthy names across genres and reader demographics. One such figure is Laura Amy Schlitz, the acclaimed and widely revered author of children’s fiction like Splendors and Glooms and The Hired Girl. Stephen also manages Eleanor Herman, writer of both fiction (Legacy of Kings) and nonfiction (Mistress of the Vatican).
Interested writers can send their submissions to Stephen online. Your email query must include a letter and a sample of your work.
Interestingly, Rebecca Matte was working as a lawyer in New York City before she became interested in agenting. After her stint at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, she moved to the Bradford Literary Agency in San Diego, California.
Rebecca is primarily looking for romance, sci-fi, and fantasy fiction for adult and YA readers. She admires well-written and multi-layered characters and dynamics. Amusingly, Rebecca is fine with genre tropes as long as they’re utilized refreshingly.
For her QueryManager link, go to her agent page and click on “Submit Query” below her profile photo.
Lauren Albury entered the publishing industry with a bachelor’s degree in English. From her internship at the New York-based FinePrint Literary Agency, she transferred to Holloway Literary and fulfilled assistant duties. Today, she’s one of the company’s associate agents and resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In terms of fiction, Lauren’s preferences range from historical fiction and upmarket titles to literary books and women’s novels. She’s searching for detailed character writing, romantic elements, and well-written worldbuilding that involves rich cultures and locations.
While the company’s two other agents are closed to submissions, Lauren is open to queries from fiction authors.
Have you heard of Emerald City Literary Agency? Located in Seattle, Washington, it’s the business Mandy Hubbard founded seven years ago. Before this, she was already a literary agent and published novelist. In fact, she now has 11 titles published under big publishing companies.
Mandy’s list specializes in both fiction and nonfiction for a young audience. However, this doesn’t include picture books because she specifically caters to middle-grade and YA readers. One of her prolific clients is Kathryn Sommerlot, author of the historical novel Roanoke and The Life Siphon series.
Do you have a novel or narrative nonfiction that you know she’ll like? If so, head over to her about page and click on her QueryManager link.
Based in Sacramento, California, Gordon Warnock is one of the two founders of Fuse Literary, an agency with operations in cities like San Diego and Dallas. He went to California State University, Sacramento to study writing. As for his career in the industry, he’s handled not just agenting but also editing, marketing, and even coaching roles.
This agent covers fiction (literary fiction, suspense, graphic novels) and nonfiction (comedy, pop culture, memoir, essay collection, business). No matter the genre, Gordon yearns to help his clients build lasting careers. Speaking of clients, he represents the likes of Lorrie Kim (Snape: A Definitive Reading) and Nan DeMars (You’ve Got to Be Kidding!).
Writers can contact Gordon for possible representation over at his agent page.
6. Dana Newman
With her literary agency in Los Angeles, California, celebrating 12 years in the business, Dana Newman has solidified her status as one of the industry’s finest professionals. After all, not every agent can claim they have a law degree. Thus, she can tackle copyright laws and licensing matters while helping authors land their next publishing deal.
Dana accepts different topics in nonfiction: technology, well-being, memoir, business, and pop culture, among others. Some examples from her clients are Mike Smith’s The Native Advertising Advantage and Ally Hamilton’s Yoga’s Healing Power. Additionally, she’s open to book club fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction.
Online query submissions can be sent through email. The full guidelines are listed on the submissions page.
Danielle Egan-Miller has a historied relationship with Browne & Miller Literary Associates. Prior to being one of the partners alongside Jane Jordan Browne two decades ago, she was the latter’s assistant. Today, she is the head of the company in Chicago, Illinois.
Commercial fiction for adult readers is Danielle’s specialty. This year, her specific interests include smart rom-com stories about Generation Y and Z characters and book club fiction with Gothic, contemporary, or historical elements. Just two of her most renowned clients are Megan Chance (A Splendid Ruin) and the award-winning William Kent Kreuger (Ordinary Grace).
To learn about submissions via email, visit the queries page.
8. Jim Donovan
For nearly 30 years, Jim Donovan has successfully developed his titular agency into what it is now. Based in Dallas Texas, he has a clear understanding of the publishing industry, which is explained in part by his relevant experiences as a published author and former editor.
Jim has brought hundreds of fiction and nonfiction projects to the biggest publishing companies in New York. These titles range from narrative nonfiction, sports, and history to literary novels, and commercial fiction. He represents novelists Ron Faust (Split Image and Jackstraw) and Tim Washburn (Powerless).
Kelly Peterson currently works at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston, Massachusetts. Before she was one of the team’s five premier agents, Kelly familiarized herself with the role by serving as a junior agent at a different company.
Her client list is filled with fiction writers serving both young and adult readers. Across YA, middle-grade, and adult divisions, Kelly is on the lookout for science fiction and fantasy. She also wants more romance novels for adults and contemporary titles for teens and kids.
Kelly’s requirements for query submissions are fairly simple. However, be careful with where you send your proposal. She will only entertain proposals from QueryManager — not to her email or any other communication channel.
10. Steve Laube
Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Steve Laube was already in the publishing industry way back in the 1980s. Over the years, he would be recognized for his outstanding performance as a bookshop manager, editor, and literary agent.
As the president of his own literary agency, Steve has a never-ending interest in both Christian fiction and nonfiction. Except for children’s literature and cookbooks, he’s open to all other genres. Thus, interested writers can send Amish fiction, contemporary YA novels, and nonfiction books about theology, Christian families, and philosophy.
Authors can submit their proposals online or by mail. The guidelines and other essential details are on the contact page.
11. Katie Kotchman
If you’ve heard about Don Congdon Associates in New York City, you know that Katie Kotchman has been one of its pillars since 2008. Three years after learning the fundamentals of agenting at the Denise Marcil Literary Agency, she transferred to this company and now holds a governing position at the Association of American Literary Agents as well.
Authors of fiction (literary novels and women’s fiction) and nonfiction are welcome to join her client list. Katie especially appreciates works illustrating characters contending with clashing beliefs and shocking truths. Furthermore, she likes business books and stories that dwell on intriguing family mysteries.
To learn more about the genres she’s actively seeking in fiction and nonfiction, check her QueryManager link on the agent page.
12. Bonnie Nadell
Bonnie Nadell is the head of the Hill Nadell Literary Agency, a company that originated in San Francisco more than 40 years ago and resides today in Los Angeles, California. She represents an impressive list of veteran and young authors, many of whom are recipients and nominees of the Kirkus Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and other accolades.
In her mind, there will always be fresh ideas and priceless wisdom to learn and share with others. Thus, Bonnie loves narrative nonfiction that delves into contemporary affairs, biographies, and nature. To add, she prefers literary novels, cerebral thrillers, and any type of fiction that melds a wide array of genres.
Are you eager to send a query? Visit the submissions page for details on online and snail mail options.
13. Paul Rodeen
Located in Chicago, Illinois, Paul Rodeen is the owner of Rodeen Literary Management. He has a degree in creative writing from Knox College and built his professional connections and skillset at Sterling Lord Litersitic for about seven years.
Paul’s agency specializes in children’s books from picture books all the way up to graphic novels and YA nonfiction. His clients make not only widely appealing stories but also acclaimed books, one of which is Victoria Jameson’s Roller Girl. He also manages Edward Hemingway (Tough Cookie) and Matt Davies (Ben Rides On).
Children’s literature is always welcome for submission. Once you have the requirements ready, you can send your proposal via email.
14. Howard Yoon
As principal, Howard Yoon is one of the top figures today at the Ross Yoon Agency in Washington, DC. However, his position wasn’t handed out on a silver platter; Howard worked his way up the ladder and was initially an assistant three decades ago.
Howard focuses on nonfiction, especially on projects that offer one-of-a-kind stories and equally distinct storytelling. In particular, he likes political writing, history, and pop culture. He doesn’t mind whether his client has zero or 30 years of experience — he can help writers in every stage of their career.
For the complete query details, head to the contact page.
15. Andy Ross
Residing in Oakland, California, Andy Ross launched his eponymous literary agency 14 years ago. Before that, he already excelled in business management because he was a bookshop owner. For three decades, his store welcomed prominent figures like Salman Rushdie and Jimmy Carter.
As an agent, Andy covers three branches of fiction: YA, literary, and commercial titles. On the other hand, his nonfiction interests include current affairs, historical events, and narrative nonfiction. Two acclaimed works from his clients are Tawni Waters’s Beauty of the Broken and David Sedlak’s Water 4.0.
Andy is willing to review other genres that he hasn’t mentioned. However, there are categories that he explicitly won’t accept. Visit the page for query submissions to know more.
16. Frances Coady
Frances Coady is one of the three agents at Aragi Inc., a relatively small literary agency that’s developing its own following in the business-crowded and highly competitive New York City. Along with him are the titular Nicole Aragi and Duvall Osteen.
This agent’s list is rich in prestige, intellect, and creativity. From broadcasters and reporters to artists and photographers, Frances’s clients like Rebecca Solnit (River of Shadows) and Anders Nilsen (The End) bring priceless stories and experiences across fiction and nonfiction for the old and young alike.
Do you want to send a query? Visit the agent page and scroll all the way down to find the relevant email address and guidelines.
17. Katherine Boyle
With offices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Veritas Literary Agency is undoubtedly one of the most noteworthy agencies in California. Its founder is Katherine Boyle, an industry veteran who’s versed in negotiating with publishing companies of all shapes and sizes.
Katherine is searching for titles brimming with authenticity and new perspectives about how people see themselves and the world around them. She loves historical novels and literary titles. Consequently, this agent accepts children’s literature and all sorts of nonfiction like narrative nonfiction and pop culture.
The query guidelines and full list of genres she’s actively looking for are written on the submissions page.
18. Lori Kilkelly
Lori Kilkelly’s path to becoming the owner and founder of a Chicago-based literary agency for children’s literature is no accident. Prior to establishing LK Literary Agency four years ago, she already had a solid reputation at Rodeen Literary Management. So when she created her company, her clients happily made the big leap as well.
As of writing, Lori has already negotiated over a hundred titles with the biggest publishing companies in the industry. All her clients strive to inspire and entertain young readers through words and illustrations. For example, Camille Andros (From a Small Seed) and Zanni Louise (We Are All People) are acclaimed and successful picture book authors.
Before you send anything to Lori and her agency, you should thoroughly read the submission guidelines.
19. Elena Giovinazzo
Based in The Big Apple that is New York City, Elena Giovinazzo wasn’t initially interested in the publishing industry; she originally hoped to educate kids about English. Thankfully for Pippin Properties Inc., Elena’s passion for books motivated her to carve a career path in publishing instead. She is now the company VP and one of its senior agents.
While she accepts adult fiction, Elena specializes in children’s literature from nonfiction picture books to fantasy graphic novels for young adults. She’s open to working with authors, illustrators, and people who are both. Her list includes the acclaimed Katherine Applegate (Willodeen) and best-selling author Cassie Beasley (The Bootlace Magician).
Elena hopes to represent more distinct storytellers who can introduce new experiences and perspectives to readers. Interested writers can send a digital query.
20. BJ Robbins
It has been exactly 20 years since BJ Robbins established her own literary agency. Headquartered in the heart of Los Angeles, California, her business has grown to include a wide-ranging list of nonfiction and fiction writers.
Whether they’re mass-appeal novels or high-caliber literary titles, BJ’s preferences in fiction must always adhere to certain standards. Two of her best novelists are Renee Swindle and Laura Catherine Brown, the authors of Shake Down the Stars and Quickening, respectively. In nonfiction, BJ loves different categories: well-being, memoir, and adventure, to name a few.
To learn more about BJ and her query guidelines, read the submission page.
21. Margret McBride
Situated in San Diego, California, Margret McBride has spent decades building her legacy. After her first publishing stint at Random House, she launched her agency in 1980. Since then, Margret has negotiated with major book companies to publish more than 300 titles from her ever-growing client list.
Margret’s general preferences in nonfiction include self-help, economics, business, memoirs, and literary nonfiction. In addition, her go-to books in fiction are historical novels, courtroom thrillers, and titles that will appeal to the general audience.
The submission process begins with sending your proposal to QueryManager. Don’t forget to read the guidelines since there are requirements for fiction and nonfiction projects.
Shikha Pandey is a creative, content and script writer based in Mumbai, India.