Even the most experienced and successful authors find it difficult to get their new titles published. Literary agents are essential in this process, as they help to shape your manuscript and make it more appealing to publishing houses.
With so many submissions flooding in on a daily basis, it can be difficult for your work to stand out from the rest. However, with the help of a literary agent, you can increase your chances of getting your book published.
- Kim Lionetti from BookEnds Literary Agency
- Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency
- Dado Derviskadic from Folio Literary Management
- Susan Canavan of Waxman Literary Agency
- Sandra Dijkstra of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
- Susan Raihofer of David Black Agency
- Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.
- Caitlin McDonald of Donald Maass Literary Agency
- Meredith Bernstein
- Bibi Lewis of Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Here are 10 of the best literary agents for new authors:
Kim Lionetti from BookEnds Literary Agency
If you are looking for a reputable agent, you can't go wrong with any of the available ones from BookEnds. This well-established agency has been in the business since 1999. Its agents have represented authors who write books for both adults and kids. But first-time authors would benefit greatly from working with Kim Lionetti.
She is one of the more experienced agents from the company, being a Senior Literary Agent. She worked for eight years in Berkley Publishing before moving to BookEnds. She has more than twenty-five years of experience in the field and has helped developed a number of best sellers and award winners in various genres.
Before you contact Kim Lionetti, it is crucial that you learn as much as possible about the company’s query process. You can visit the website, read the company’s blog, and watch the videos on its YouTube channel to familiarize yourself with its expectations.
If you are not sure about Kim, you can also get to know the other agents from the roster. Check the agent's current client list to find one who’s published work similar to yours. Read the agent’s wishlist so you can see if your work will match what they are currently looking for.
Query Kim Lionetti or your chosen agent via the company’s QueryManager form. Follow the instructions and upload your query and request for more information using the prescribed format. The response time is 6 weeks for queries and up to 12 weeks for other requests.
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency
The Bent Agency is fairly new in the game, having only been founded in 2009. However, its 12 agents really know how to work hard when it comes to acquiring works. They collectively represent hundreds of authors and have helped launch over 30 New York Times bestselling titles.
Gemma Cooper herself has an impressive client list consisting of nearly fifty authors. Gemma had her hand in publishing Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers. Some of the books were recipients of the Edgar Award, Waterstone Children's Book Prize, the Booktrust Blue Peter Book Award, and many more.
She loves working with newcomers that write chapter books, young adult and middle-grade fiction, and nonfiction. She is also interested in webcomic adaptations. If your work has the potential for dramatic adaptation, then you will surely catch her attention.
The first thing you need to do if you want to submit your work to this agency is to go over their list of agents. Once you’ve chosen one, send your query letter directly to that agent. Do not use email@example.com because the agency will not reply. You can also use the assigned QueryManager link.
Do not send query letters to multiple agents. Include a short description of who you are and what your work is about. Paste the first ten pages of the book in the email’s body. Attachments will not be opened so do not bother attaching a copy of your work. Include your project’s title in the email’s subject line.
For picture book submissions, paste the complete text of the work. Add a few copies of your other works in JPEG or PDF form. If you are submitting a graphic novel, make sure to paste ten pages of the script along with the first five pages of the dummy. You should also add a link to your portfolio so the agent sees what you can do.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dado Derviskadic from Folio Literary Management
Folio is a well-known agency that deals with non-fiction and fiction works of writers from English-speaking countries. The company represents newbie authors that are now literary award recipients and whose works belong to multiple best sellers lists.
If you are a newbie with a book about business, history, and current affairs, Folio’s Dado Derviskadic is a good match for you. He started his publishing career in China in 2009. He helped his company acquire over a hundred titles per year. His client list includes George W. Bush, Walter Isaacson, and Henry Kissinger.
If you check his wishlist, he mentions that he is looking for works focused on cultural history and biography, globe-trotting memoirs, pop science, pop culture, and more. This means if you have a motivational self-help book or a cookbook containing healthy food hacks, you’re more likely to catch his attention.
If you want to send Dado Derviskadic a query, you will need to email him your letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript. You can also include a book proposal in your email. Don’t forget to use QUERY on the subject line so he doesn’t miss it. His response time is around four weeks.
Susan Canavan of Waxman Literary Agency
Susan Canavan is a newbie at Waxman, only having started at the agency in 2019, but she has years of experience helping authors get books published. She previously worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as one of its senior executive editors and has acquired dozens of New York Times bestsellers.
Her body of work is eclectic, focusing on pop culture, parenting, health, memoir, journalism, nature, adventure, history, and more. She has an MFA in Creative Writing. So if you’re new in the game, you can be assured that Susan has the skills and knowledge to help you polish your first book.
To submit your work, email your query letter to Susan. Don’t forget to include the first ten pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. You will receive an acknowledgment email in response to this. Do not send your manuscript via snail mail. The company doesn’t entertain that as well as phone call pitches.
Sandra Dijkstra of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
Despite having an intimidating client list, Sandra Dijkstra and her host of agents are known to be very accommodating when it comes to assisting new talents. Sandra already represents Pulizer Prize winners like Leon Litwack, Stephen Hahn, and Eric Foner, but she is still passionate about helping newcomers get their books out.
Her agency accepts fiction and nonfiction works in different genres such as suspense, sci-fi, romance, science, business, religion, young adults, children, and more. So if you want to work with the person who assisted Kate White, Amy Tan, Dianne Mott Davidson, and Mo Yan, you should send her a query letter.
Before submitting anything, the agency recommends that authors get to know the individual agents. Sandra may not be the one for you, so it would pay for you to check out the other agents’ bios. Once you have decided on the agent that you wish to work with, send an email using the right QueryMe link indicated on the website.
For fiction works, submit your query letter along with a 1-page synopsis, and a brief description of your publishing history. You also need to submit the first ten to fifteen pages of the manuscript.
For non-fiction works, submit a book proposal along with the query letter. The proposal should have an overview, your bio, proposed length and delivery date, and at least five key selling points of your book. You’d also need to submit at least five comparative titles including the reasons why the titles were successful.
Note that if an agent believes that your project has merits but cannot work with you for whatever reason, he or she will invite you to submit it to another SDLA agent. Do not resubmit the same project to another agent without that invitation.
QueryMe link: QueryMe.Online/DijkstraCapron
Susan Raihofer of David Black Agency
The David Black Agency is a well-known literary agency founded in 1989. It boasts of providing all the services required to get a book published, from establishing concepts to promoting the finished material. The company is composed of just nine individuals and one of the agents that newbies should contact is Susan Raihofer.
She has been with the agency since 1993 and deals mostly with commercial fiction and non-fiction. Her clients’ works mostly revolve around pop culture, thrillers, music, inspirational, and some literary fiction. She likes working on materials that have both a soul and an edge.
The agency only accepts printed letters that contain the details of your work. You may send your questions or requests for more information via email though. Note that due to the large volume of submissions that the agency receives, it could take up to eight weeks for Susan or any of the other agents to send back a response.
Phone number: 718/852-5542
Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.
Brandth & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. is one of the oldest independent literary agencies in the US. It was founded in 1913 and has continued its successful streak even now that it is transitioning to the digital age. This agency has consistently released over forty titles annually.
One of their newest agents is Emma Patterson. She represents various forms of fiction such as upmarket, historical, dark, and literary novels. She also helped release narrative non-fiction like popular history, investigative journalism, and memoirs.
Being one of the newest members of the agency, Emma is definitely hungry to get some titles published under her name. So, if your work contains suspenseful plots, unforgettable characters, and emotional narratives, it will likely attract her attention.
To contact Emma you need to send your query letter to her via email. The agency used to accept queries via regular mail but stopped doing so because of the Covid-19 restrictions. The letter must be no more than two pages and should contain an overview of the project.
Don’t forget to include your details and your writing credits if there are any. Make sure to mention that you are submitting a query letter in the subject line so that she doesn’t miss your email. Do not call their office for query inquiries.
Phone number: 212-840-5760
Caitlin McDonald of Donald Maass Literary Agency
If you are a fantasy or science fiction writer interested in getting your first book published, you cannot go wrong with choosing an agent from the Donald Maass Literary Agency. This company is responsible for the release of titles like the Monster Baru Cormorant, Crimes Against Humanity, and Dragon Pearl.
DMLA represents over one hundred fifty novelists and releases over a hundred titles annually. And if you are hungry to get a book deal, you have to go with an agent who is equally hungry to handle new writers. That’s Caitlin McDonald. She has been with DMLA since 2015 but spent five years at Sterling Lord Literistic before that.
She deals mostly with young adult and adult speculative fiction. The genres she favors are fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. Her wishlist includes graphic novels from the mentioned genres.
While fairly new at DMLA, she has already developed an amazing roster of clients including Caitlin Starling, Lara Elena Donnelly, C.L. Polk, Emma Mieko Candon, and A.J. Hackwith.
Caitlin is currently looking for adult and young adult science-fiction works. If your work centers on a secondary world fantasy, is a genre-bending fiction, or features diversity, you may catch her attention. Fill out the form found on her QueryMe link and attach your query letter and synopsis.
Remember to include the first twenty pages of your novel. Caitlin has an FAQ page on her blog that details her requirements for querying. It is best that you go over it before sending her your work.
Agent’s Blog: https://literallycait.tumblr.com/query
QueryMe link: http://QueryMe.Online/cmcdonald
Boutique agencies are always a great choice for new authors. These companies take on only a few clients so the agents can ensure that they are provided with the best assistance. The Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency is a well-known boutique agency with ties in the US and abroad.
Its owner, Meredith, has been in the publishing business for more than 30 years and this experience has helped her hone her eye for spotting great talent. She accepts manuscripts in all kinds of genres, both fiction and nonfiction.
Before becoming an agent. Meredith worked as a film story editor. So, if you are looking to break into this industry, she is the best option for you. She has worked with clients who delve into young adult fiction, romance, mysteries and thrillers, and more.
Hard copy submissions via standard mail must be sent single-sided and double-spaced. You need to include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) for the agent’s response. Make sure that you have enough postage for materials you want to be returned.
For works of fiction, querying can be done via the contact form on the website. For works of fiction, a one-page query letter should suffice. Do not send any attachments as they will simply go unopened.
For non-fiction, a one-page query letter must also be submitted along with a table of contents for the material as well as the author’s bio proving why he or she is an expert in that particular field.
Contact form: http://meredithbernsteinliteraryagency.com/contact/
Address: 2095 Broadway – Suite 505, New York, NY 10023
Bibi Lewis of Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency started helping authors get their works published in 1984. In just over three decades of operation, the company has cultivated an impressive client list including several bestselling authors.
The agency has close partnerships all around the globe. This means if your work fares well in the local market, you can expect it to be translated into various languages and marketed globally. The agency is currently looking for newcomers so it is a great time for you to send in your work.
If your first work is a picture book for kids or anything targeting young adults, you should send your query letter to Bibi Lewis. She has been with the agency since 2014 and is working to build her client list. She is particularly interested in innovative non-fiction and thrillers for young readers.
She is also on the lookout for book club fiction, true crime novels, historical romances, and women’s fiction. Make sure to craft fully realized characters and quick-paced prose to catch her attention.
All submissions must be done electronically. All the agents share the same email so it is a must to indicate which agent you want to query. Indicate his or her name on the subject line along with your work’s title and genre.
The materials you plan on submitting must be pasted onto the email’s body. Do not attach any files as the agent will not open them. For fictional work, you must submit a query letter along with a synopsis (maximum of 2 pages). You also need to paste the first fifty pages of your manuscript.
For non-fiction, besides your query letter, you also need to paste your proposed outline together with up to fifty pages of your sample chapter. The agency’s response time is eight weeks as it receives a considerable volume of submissions.
Email Address: email@example.com