28 Top Literary Agencies (For First-Time Authors)

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28 Top Literary Agencies - featured image

 

If you’re a first-time author (or even an established one), the task of releasing your book into the world may seem daunting.

 

Publishing houses act as gatekeepers to the literary world, and they’ll select only the highest quality prose simply because they receive dozens of manuscripts every month.

That’s why you need a literary agent who will back you up and guide you through the maze of the publishing world.  In this article, I share a list of 28 literary agencies (along with links to submission guidelines) for first-timers and veterans alike. 

 

Working with literary agencies

 

The task of an agent is not easy because most manuscripts go to the same publishers over and over again. Most books are presented only to 8 to 12 main publishers in the market in the first round of promotion.

That’s why you need to focus on two things – writing an excellent book, and then following the strict submission guidelines of each publishing house.

A literary agent can help you with the second task as they know the publishing industry inside out. They will help to improve your book proposal so it looks like a masterpiece. They’ll also assist you in contract negotiations and all the other stuff you don’t want to deal with if you’re just starting your writing career.

All they ask in a return is a percentage of the advance you will receive from the publisher as well as the percentage of the royalties coming from the book sales (usually 10%-20%). If you hook up with some of the best of literary agents, this is a win-win-win situation where you, the agency, and the publisher are all happy with the end result.

With this in the mind, please take a look at the following list of trustworthy literary agents who will be happy to take a look at your manuscript. It doesn’t matter if you’re based in the USA, Canada or the UK, these companies and individuals will have you covered.

 

 #1 Pro tip:  The best way to succeed is to work with new agents, who are working within a larger agency. They’re your pick because they’re hungry to build lists of published authors, but they also have access to lots of contacts and resources. Working with new, individual agents is also a good idea because most established agencies sign up just a few new authors per year.

 

 #2 Pro tip:  If you want to learn more about the publishing game, you should check out this book: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut, or check out one of the courses for new writers.

 

 

28 Top Literary Agencies Ready For Your Manuscript

 

woman inside of a bookstore

 

1. Trident Media Group

 

trident media group

 

Formed in 2000, Trident Media Group is one of the most prominent agencies located in New York City. At this point, they are representing over 1000 best selling and emerging authors in a wide array of genres.

Many of the titles they helped release had become New York Times Best Sellers and won awards such as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

They work with authors, both in the US and the UK and the titles, they release usually achieve a high volume of sales (they’re at the top in North America).

They have many great agents under their wing who specialize in both fiction and non-fiction, audiobook sales, digital publishing, and social media promotion.

You should especially try to get in touch with Mark Gottlieb, who’s their #1 agent specializing in selling first-time author manuscripts (and often securing six-figure deals in the process). Many of the books that went through him became NYT bestsellers, and later got adapted for movies and TV shows.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (212) 333 – 1511

Address: 41 Madison Avenue, Floor 36, New York, NY, 10010

Submission guidelines

 

 

2. BookEnds Literary Agency

 

Bookends

 

BookEnds are a well established literary agency that first went into business in 1999. They are representing both fiction and non-fiction authors who write books for adults as well as children.

The company started as a book packaging company, but two years after opening pivoted and became an agency. They have tons of experience in the industry and work with many talented agents.

If you’re a first-timer you should get in touch with Tracy Marchini who, after spending four years at Curtis Brown, decided it was time to pursue her own editorial career. Now with over 10 years of professional experience, she’s open to receiving manuscripts, especially in the children’s literature genre.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: Not Provided

Address: Not Provided

Submission guidelines

 

 

3. Folio Literary Management

 

foliolit

 

Folio works with fiction and non-fiction writers mainly around the US, but also in other English-speaking countries. They represent many newbie authors, some of whom reached the heights of literary success by producing best sellers and receiving literary awards.

Folio is a division of the legendary Harold Ober Associates Agency, which represented famous writers like Chinua Achebe, and William Faulkner (among others).

They adapted to the digital world and offer services in the area of marketing, website development, media training as well as promotion across many e-book and audiobook platforms.

If you have a children’s book manuscript you should check out their division called Folio Jr.

 

Contact:

Email: Check their submissions page to get in touch

Phone: 212 400 1494

Address: 630 9th Avenue, Suite 1101 New York, NY 10036

Submission guidelines

 

 

4. Foundry Literary + Media

 

foundry literary

 

Foundry is an all-in-one agency and media house. They work with clients, mostly in the American book market, but also deal with foreign publishing, merchandise, visual media, and publishing on digital platforms.

On their “about” page they claim to have represented both veterans, and first-timers, making sure each time that the manuscript is taken seriously.

Just by clicking around on their website, you can find a dozen different agents that will be happy to take a look at your work. Make sure to check their individual profiles because each one of them specializes in different markets and genres.

 

Contact:

Email: Check emails on the submissions page https://foundrymedia.com/submissions/

Phone: +1 212-929-5064

Address: 33 West 17th St. PH, New York, New York 10011

Submission guidelines

 

 

5. Waxman Literary Agency

 

waxman literary

 

If you have a powerful story to share, Waxman will be happy to connect you with some of the best publishers in the market. They work with authors of all shades including journalists, industry experts, as well as beginners able to come up with an exceptional piece of work.

The company was started by Scott Waxman, who worked with HarperCollins for many years before starting on his own. He’s an experienced agent who saw the decline of the traditional book stores which made way for huge digital platforms like Amazon. Now he’s working with co-agents from all around the world to help authors get published.

Another agent working in this agency is Ashley Lopez, who joined in 2015. She’s interested in receiving manuscripts in the genres like young adult fiction, narrative fiction, memoir, and cultural criticism.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: Not provided

Address: Not provided

Submission guidelines

 

 

6. Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents

 

brandt hochman literary

 

This is one of the oldest literary agencies in the country founded in 1913. It gradually transitioned into the digital age and now continues to be independent while releasing 40 to 50 new titles every year.

The company has a rich history. It was passed down from generation to generation and since 2001 it’s run by Gail Hochman. Right now there are around 9 agents working for the company and they each specialize in different genres and book formats.

If you want to publish an interesting memoir, you should especially get in touch with Emma Patterson, who is one of the newest additions to the agency and is hungry for work.

 

Contact:

Email: Find the addresses of their individual agents here http://brandthochman.com/agents

Phone: 212-840-5760

Address: Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc., 1501 Broadway, Suite 2310, New York, NY 10036

Submission guidelines

 

 

7. David Black Agency

 

david black agency

 

This literary agency was founded in 1989 and will help you to manage the whole lifetime of your book – from the first concept to publication and promotion. The goal of the company is to ensure that each author gets their chance and that his or her work reaches the widest possible audience.

There are nine individuals working for the company right now. If you’re a new author, you should get in touch with Matt Belford and Jenny Herrera who recently joined David Black.

At this point, they only accept queries in the form of a printed letter where you need to give details about your work. As they receive a large number of submissions you will probably need to wait up to eight weeks for a response.

 

Contact:

Email: Check the contacts to individual agents here http://www.davidblackagency.com/about/

Phone: 718/852-5500

Address: 335 Adams Street, Suite 2707, Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Submission guidelines

 

 

8. Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

 

harvey klinger literary

 

Harvey Klinger has years of experience in the publishing world. He established his agency in 1977, and since then, it grew into a small, and agile literary agency. Currently, there are 5 people working under its roof.

If you want to increase chances of getting published, you should get in touch with Rachel Ridout who’s into building her own list of writers. She’s interested in adult and young adult fiction in the genres of magic realism, contemporary western, and science fiction.

The company wants to receive manuscripts from new clients, both published and unpublished, but they sign up only a few new names each year.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: Not provided

Address: 300 W 55TH ST #11V NEW YORK, NY 10019

Submission guidelines

 

 

9. Donald Maass Literary Agency

 

donald maas literary logo

 

If you think you have a great work of fiction on your hand, this is the right agency for you. DMLA released some great titles like Dragon Pearl, Crimes Against Humanity and the Monster Baru Cormorant. As you can guess from the titles, these are mostly science fiction and fantasy books.

The company is very active in recent years, and now it represents more than 150 novelists selling over 100 novels each year to top publishing houses in the US and abroad.

One of the newest additions to the company is Caitlin McDonald, who joined DMLA in 2015. If you have anything that’s even slightly geeky and science-fiction-like, you should reach out to her.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212-727-8383

Address: 1000 Dean Street, Suite 252, Brooklyn, NY 11238, USA

Submission guidelines

 

 

10. Cooke McDermid Literary Management

 

cooke mcdermid

 

This is a new organization hungry to build up its portfolio of writers. It was established in 2017 as an amalgamate of The Cooke Agency and The McDermid Agency. One of their new agents is Chris Bucci, who will gladly take a look at your manuscript.

On their submissions page, you’ll find they welcome authors of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives. You may try them out if you have a thriller, horror, commercial suspense, speculative fiction or any other type of literary fiction (including young adult).

You’ll need to send a detailed description of your story as well as 10-15 pages of your manuscript. Please note that screenplays, stage plays, poetry and picture books are not accepted.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (647) 788-4010

Address: 320 Front St. W., Suite 1105, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3B6, Canada

Submission guidelines

 

 

11. P.S. Literary Agency

 

psliterar logo

 

P.S works in an international market, and they represent established, as well as debut authors. Right around a dozen agents work for the company accepting manuscripts in all kinds of genres. Each of the agents has a separate website and Twitter handle so it’s quite easy to find their contact info and pitch your idea for the book.

One of the agents who’s looking for new sign-ups is Carly Watters, who has been with the company for many years. She’s interested in both fiction and non-fiction, and you simply need to send her an email with your proposal.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416-907-8325 (Toronto), 212-655-9276 (New York)

Address: 2010 Winston Park Drive, 2nd Floor, Oakville, Ontario, L6H 5R7, CANADA

Submission guidelines

 

 

12. Laura Rennert Literary Agency

 

laura rennert

 

At this point, Laura is running her own agency and in her spare moments moonlights as a children’s book author. She’s working for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency (included on this list as well).

I included her because she’s one of the most experienced agents in the US, working in the publishing business since the mid-’90s.

If you want to get a children’s or a YA book published, she will be happy to take a look at your manuscript. But she doesn’t shy away from a good suspense or horror novel either. She’s working with #1 NYT bestselling authors, but she’s always on the lookout for new talent.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: not provided

Submission guidelines

 

 

13. The Gernert Company

 

gernert company

 

This is a small, yet dynamic agency based in Manhattan, NY. It was founded in 1996 by David Gernert. Right now it has six full-time agents (and a couple of part-time ones) and represents over 200 authors. On their website, they say they represent both well-known and soon-to-be, which is great if you’re new in the biz.

They accept manuscripts in all sorts of genres – fiction and non-fiction. The company is even working with journalists, essayists, and bloggers, with tentacles reaching as far as the film and TV industry.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 1.212.838.7777

Address: 136 E. 57th Street / New York, NY / 10022

Submission guidelines

 

 

14. Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency

 

meredith bernstein

 

If you are looking for a boutique agency perfect for first-time authors (as well as veterans), this should be among your top picks.

The publishing industry is changing rapidly, but the Meredith Bernstein agency is keeping up with the times by using technology and maintaining a vast array of contacts in the US and abroad.

Meredith has been in business for over 30 years and she has a great eye for spotting new talent. The manuscripts are accepted in all kinds of genres (fiction and nonfiction).

 

Contact:

Email: Contact form provided on the website

Phone: not provided

Address: 2095 Broadway – Suite 505, New York, NY 10023

Submission guidelines

 

 

15. Frances Goldin Literary Agency

 

frances goldin

 

This is one of the most established literary agencies in New York City. It’s working with many award-winning journalists, novelists, as well as graphic designers. Right now it’s representing over 150 best selling authors in a wide array of genres from fiction to investigative journalism.

The company was founded in 1977 and since the beginning, its mission was to help authors to not only get published but also to sustain their careers over the long-term.

The authors they represent won the Pulitzer Prize, The National Humanities Medal, and the National Book Award. On the website, you can find submission guidelines as well as email addresses of all their main agents.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: not provided

Submission guidelines

 

 

16. Andrea Brown Literary Agency

 

andrea brown logo

 

This company has been around since 1981 and for a change, its headquarters are based on the west coast. They are passionate about finding new voices from different parts of the country. The goal of the agency is to obtain a wider perspective and include writers from all sorts of backgrounds.

Their main office is based in San Diego but they also have a small office in New York City so they know exactly what’s going on in the publishing industry.

Their main specialization is children’s literature so feel free to submit your manuscript if you have something in that genre.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: not provided

Submission guidelines

 

 

17. Curtis Brown Literary Agency

 

curtis brown

 

This is one of the most established and leading literary agencies in the world founded in 1914. It represents a vast array of established as well as emerging authors in all sorts of genres.

It has offices both in the US and UK. The US offices are in New York and San Francisco specializing in handling film translation, radio, and digital media rights.

The London office is much bigger with over 160 people working there full time. In 2016 the company was acquired by Original Talent which helped to create a stronger presence on the TV and film market as well.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (212) 473-5400

Address: Ten Astor Place, New York, NY 10003

Submission guidelines

 

 

18. The Bent Agency

 

bent agency

 

This is a relatively new agency founded in 2009. Yet it grew fast and now has 12 agents under its roof. Together, they represent over a century of publishing experience and specialized skill sets including editorial, marketing, and subsidiary rights.

They are happy to look at manuscripts in all genres and they are reputed both among authors and publishers. With over 30 New York Times bestselling titles, they became a steamroller of the industry, while still making sure they give enough attention to the upcoming writers.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: The Bent Agency, 19 West 21st Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10010

Submission guidelines

 

 

19. The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency

 

ethan ellenberg

 

The company was established in 1984 (a good year to start a literary agency if you ask me). It’s known for working with several best-selling authors, but it’s always open to new talent. Except for representing authors it also deals with publishing rights and copyright laws.

It has partners all over the world which means that if your work becomes successful on a local market, you can count on it being translated into several different languages. They are currently looking for new clients, so all you have to do is to follow their submission guidelines on the website.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (212) 431-4554

Address: 155 SUFFOLK STREET, #2R, NEW YORK, NY 10002

Submission guidelines

 

 

20. Conville & Walsh

 

cw logo

 

This is a UK based company that champions first-time authors. To submit your manuscript you need to find the contact information of a particular agent and get in touch through email.

Each of them specializes in a particular genre so take your time and adjust your submission based on your manuscript.

There are 13 agents working at the company at the moment, and all of them are hungry for fresh literary blood. This is a great agency to pick, especially if you want to translate your work into several European languages.

 

Contact:

Email: each agent’s email provided on the website

Phone: +44 (0) 207 393 4200

Address: Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, United Kingdom

Submission guidelines

 

 

21. Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

 

dystel

 

This is a small New York-based agency started by Miriam Goderich, Jane Dystel, and Michael Bourret. Right now the trio has 10 other agents under its roof.

They make it a point of pride to allow you to submit your manuscript without too much hassle. You just need the first 25 pages if it’s a work of fiction or a proposal with a sample chapter if you’re into non-fiction.

That’s lenient because some of the agencies want you to submit the full draft of your work. So if you want to get fast feedback on your manuscript, just follow the submission guidelines and stay patient.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 212 627 9100

Address: One Union Square West | Suite 904 | New York, NY | 10003

Submission guidelines

 

 

22. Hartline Literary Agency

 

hartline literary agency

 

Based in Pittsburgh, the Hartline Agency represents over 100 years of experience in the publishing business.

And unlike many companies on this list, Hartline is a family-owned business which means that you can expect a personal approach. If they sign you up you’ll feel like a part of the extended family of authors, editors, and publishers.

In fact, it’s a full-service agency and that means they will not only help you with book proposals but also marketing and promotion. These are crucial if you want your book to become widely available in the market.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected] (you can find more addresses on the site)

Phone: 412.829.2483

Address: 123 Queenston Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15235

Submission guidelines

 

 

23. Jeff Herman Agency

 

jeff herman

 

What I like about Chris Herman is that he’s not only a successful literary agent but also a shrewd businessman and author. His motto is “If I feel I can sell it, I’ll represent it”.

He opened his agency in the mid-1980s and since then he has made almost 1,000 book deals, many of which went on to become international bestsellers.

In fact, his own book called “Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents” sold more than 500,000 copies. He works closely with his wife Deborah and they form an unstoppable team.

 

Contact:

Email: Contact form available on the website

Phone: 413-298-0077

Address: PO Box 1522, Stockbridge, MA 01262

Submission guidelines

 

 

24. New Leaf Literary & Media

 

new leaf

 

This is a full-service management and representation firm. It’s a new kid on the publishing block, but it’s growing fast. Since its inception a couple of years ago, it transformed from a boutique literary agency into an all-around creative company.

Right now they boast 37 books on the New York Times bestseller list as well as eight films produced (including American Honey which I loved).

It doesn’t matter if you need help with literary rights, a screenplay or a new manuscript you’re desperate to get published – they’ll have you covered.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 646.248.7989

Address: 110 West 40th Street, Suite 2201, New York, NY 10018

Submission guidelines

 

 

25. MacGregor & Luedeke

 

macgregor and luedeke

 

If you’re a first-time author and have a general or a Christianity-related manuscript, you should get in touch with this company. They started only in 2006 so they’re eager to sign up fresh literary talent and build their client base.

Most of the literary agencies on this list are based in New York, but this one is an exception. Its HQ is in the beautiful Manzanita, Oregon.

The greatest thing about them is that they not only care about getting the book published but also about authors as people who have to maintain their literary careers.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (503) 389-4803

Address: PO BOX 1316, Manzanita, OR 97130

Submission guidelines

 

 

26. Books & Such Literary Agency

 

books and such

 

This is a great example of a user-friendly literary agency that helps authors to develop their ideas and get the best deals for each of the books. They will help you to think strategically about your literary career and stay aware of the technological shifts that shape the industry.

These days it’s not only about publishing the book. It’s also about branding, promotion and even social media marketing. Right now the company represents over 270 clients and deals with books, mostly geared towards the Christian market.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: 52 Mission Circle, Suite 122, PMB 170, Santa Rosa, CA 95409-5370

Submission guidelines

 

 

27. Speilburg Literary Agency

 

speilburg literary

 

This is a versatile literary agency dealing in both fiction and non-fiction. They work mainly with well-established authors, but they are also happy to sign up debut writers. They will help you to polish your manuscript in a seamless way and let you manage your literary career.

The company was started by Alice Spielburg in 2012. She first worked with John Wiley and Sons which gave her tons of experience in the publishing industry.

She’s working in all kinds of genres but you can check out her manuscript wishlist to find out exactly what she’s looking for these days.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: Louisville, Kentucky 40205

Submission guidelines

 

 

28. Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

 

marsal lyon

 

Last but not least we have a small agency based in California. Their mission is to help others with the publishing process from the ideation, through a collaborative editorial process, and finishing with marketing and distribution.

Over the years they worked with many best-selling and award-winning authors. But they are eager to collaborate with first-timers and bring new and exciting projects to the market.

 

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: not provided

Address: PMB 121, 665 San Rodolfo Dr. 124, Solana Beach, CA 92075

Submission guidelines

 

 

Conclusion

 

Finding a great literary agent is not an easy task. In many developing literary markets such as India, authors usually work directly with the publishers.

But this is not the case in the US and UK. Although you can find a few dozen well-established publishing houses who will accept unsolicited manuscripts, most of the time you need to be represented by a well-reputed literary agency.

There are numerous benefits coming from this arrangement. You’ll get your manuscript edited, and shaped into a form that will be more appealing to the approval committee in any publishing house.

I hope this list is going to help you and that your manuscript will see the light of the day sooner rather than later.

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