As I attempt to find an agency to pitch my new book, I thought it might be a good idea to list some of the agents I have contacted. At this stage, I've run into issues where companies have listed communication methods, but they don't seem to follow through. I hope that my list will save the time of others who are attempting to find representation.
Listed below are the agencies I have sent something to and/or where I stand with them. If I sent something and they responded, whether good or bad, then that's cool. However, if they don't respond, or they are having what I like to call "technical difficulties," that information will be noted. I've also added the last few on my list which I'm awaiting a response. Those are labeled as "TBA," so I will fill in as soon as I've heard something.
Where applicable, I have also listed the submission guidelines posted from each agency. Depending on your current project, some of the agents might be better fits than others. I chose agencies based on five factors: nonfiction/memoir representation, other authors represented, agency size, agency location and website capabilities. Some of you may think that having a good website isn't that big of a deal in the publishing industry. My take is that if a company cannot represent itself properly on the Internet, why should I expect that company to represent me any better?
I've been through this before, at least partially, with "The Developers." I sent inquires to a handful of agents and realized that for the most part, discussing computer technology was not something most literary agencies understood. I'm hoping that four years later, this will be different, although there is far less technology involved in the new book.
Here's a quick rundown of my contact rate to date:
1. Agents on overall list: 107
2. Contacted: 103
3. Responded: 80
4. Interested agents/agencies: 8
5. Zero or incomplete response: 27
The agencies are listed in alphabetical order by company. If the person is on his/her own, I'm listing by first name, only because the person may have a literary agency with the same name. If you are looking for a specific agency, the best way to find it on this page is by using your browser's Find command.
I've also colored some agencies green to show the decent responders who don't make you snail mail 34,526 pages for no real reason. All of the ones colored accept email queries and/or proposals.
The Abacus Group: I received an emailed response a month later, after I had forwarded my query again. If you have read my comments about the agents listed, you'll notice that I don't normally call out any for their responses. However, I must in the case of The Abacus Group. First, the man who responded, William Charles, said that he sent my message off to "a reviewer in NYC." I'm not sure what this means, but apparently, the reviewer gave this piece of advice about my title: "You have a good idea...as far as nonfiction goes. The concept would work better if fiction but that is not the case here." This is inconsistent with just about everything I've read regarding new books, that nonfiction is almost always easier to sell than fiction. Furthermore, this was just a query, not a proposal, so he's basing this off of a two-paragraph summary. Given this information, I'd advise to stay away from this agency, assuming that it even is a literary agency. (12/17/07)
About Words Agency: I communicated with agent Stephanie Dennis before the BEA as well. She was extremely quick to get back with me. I'd definitely recommend sending material to her. (8/1/07) UPDATE (10/14/08): I was doing research today and found out that Stephanie is no longer with this agency. Additionally, there's a lot of talk on AbsoluteWrite about this agency not being worth your time, and judging by its current website and information, I tend to agree.
Adkins and Phillips Agency: TBA
Adler & Robin Books, Inc.: I queried this agency only once, and after six months, I have yet to receive a response. (1/15/09)
AE Literary: I received a mailed response 12 days after sending to AE. (8/26/07)
Foundry Literary + Media: I received turnarounds within a week from both Chris Park and StÃ©phanie Abou. (7/1/09)
Andy Ross Agency: Andy responded to my email query on the same day that I sent it. He is accepting non-fiction submissions at this time. (9/9/10)
Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency: Ann responded to my snail mail query and chapters with a postcard, three weeks after I sent them in. (3/14/08)
Anne McDermid & Associates LTD.: Lise Henderson responded to my email in one day, stating that she represents only Canadian authors at this time. (5/22/08)
Barer Literary LLC: I finally received an email response, five months after my initial email query. (10/15/08)
Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises: This agency responded after I sent my second equery, which was a little more than two months after I sent the original query. (8/12/09)
BJ Robbins Literary Agency: I received an email response four days after my initial email query. (2/20/08)
The Blumer Literary Agency: It took two emails to receive a response about how to submit. Once I found out this information, and once I snail mailed a query, I received a response in 14 days. So far, this agency wins the award for Funniest Form Rejection Letter. The letter starts with "Dear Sir or Madam" and includes these great phrases "while I find your writing interesting" and "my tastes are eclectic." I think agencies would be better served by keeping a rejection letter simple and to the point, instead of making vague comments that may or may not have anything to do with the submission. (2/5/08)
BookEnds, LLC: I would recommend submitting to Jessica Faust, who replied to my email a day after I sent it to her. Originally, I emailed Kim Lionetti, who finally responded more than two months and two emails later. (11/26/07)
Castiglia Literary Agency: We have a new nominee for Most Ridiculous Agency! I originally snail-mailed a one-page query directly to agent Sally van Haitsma. I waited almost three months before emailing Sally to find out additional information. She responded a day later, stating "I'd have to assume we decided to pass on your project, otherwise we would have made contact with you. If you didn't include a SASE that might have been the problem..." Not only did I send an SASE, but in my email, I didn't mention anything about the project, which prompted me to respond with "Are you stating that you're passing on my project, even though you don't know the details about it?" Sally emailed back by stating that she responds to every query addressed to her. I love when agents make excuses for not knowing how to do their jobs. I'm not interested in an agent who knows nothing about a particular project and claims to have turned it down. (9/9/08)
Collins Literary Agency: Here's another agency you will probably want to avoid. I emailed agent Ayesha Pande twice, and after six months, I have yet to receive a response. (1/15/09)
DeFiore and Company: The only thing I received from this agency was an email auto-response, saying that someone had received my query. Unfortunately, I never heard back. After two months, I tried again, and I still haven't received a response. (7/27/08)
Diana Finch Literary Agency: Diana responded to my query in one day. (11/20/07)
Doris S. Michaels Literary Agency: You should probably skip this agency. After waiting more than two months for a response to my email query, I resent it. I've waited more than a month, and I still haven't seen a response. (5/12/08)
Donald Maass Literary Agency: Stephen Barbara responded to my email query on the same day. (11/10/08)
Dunham Literary Inc.: I received a mailed response 10 days after sending to Dunham. (8/24/07)
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management: Lauren Abramo responded to my email query in two days. (6/15/08)
Elaine Markson Literary Agency: I received a response to a mailed query letter via email four days after submission. (11/16/07)
Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell Literary Agency: Elise Proulx responded back to me in new record time ... six minutes! If every agent worked that fast, the book industry would work much more smoothly. (3/13/08)
Ellen Pepus Literary Agency: I received an emailed response three weeks after sending an email query and sample chapter. (7/3/08)
The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency: Here's another one that's not worth your time. After waiting more than two months for a response to my email query, I resent it. I've waited more than a month, and I still haven't seen a response. (5/12/08)
Felicia Eth Literary Representation: Felicia emailed me back within 24 hours. She mentioned that she doesn't represent too many authors to begin with, but it's nice to know that some agents can respond back that fast. (10/8/07)
Fifi Oscard Agency, Inc.: I submitted twice in back-to-back months, but I have yet to hear a response. The company has a web-based form, but it appears that the website hasn't been updated since 2004. To me, that's pretty pathetic. (10/25/07)
FinePrint Literary Managemen - Collen Lindsay: I received an email response one day after sending my original email query. (7/29/08)
FinePrint Literary Management - Meredith Hays: Do not bother with this particular agent ... she apparently does not check her email. I sent an equery Sept. 21, 2008, and sent her a followup email on Dec. 1 with no responses. (5/10/09)
Frances Goldin Literary Agency: I met with Sam Stoloff at BEA. He seemed like a nice guy, and after the convention, he answered my email quickly. I twice emailed Josie Schoel with Frances Goldin, and after nearly four months, she responded after seeing this agent list on my website. Josie states in an email, "I have issues with my junk mail and it appears as though your query went into junk/spam." From the way I understand it, the people with this agency can choose their own projects, so it's not a bad thing to send to specific people. (1/3/08)
Fresh Books Literary Agency: I received a response from agent Matt Wagner after about a month. I would recommend this agency for nonfiction projects. (9/20/08)
Folio Literary Management: I received an email response six weeks after I emailed my query and sample chapter. (10/20/08)
Foundry Literary + Media: I received turnarounds within a week from both Chris Park and StÃ©phanie Abou. (7/1/09)
Gina Macoby Literary Agency: In a remarkable turnaround, I heard back from this agency more than four months after I first snail mailed a query. Why did it take so long? Were they considering it? Did it get lost? Did someone read the writeup on here that said people should forget about this agency? I guess we'll never know.
Global Literary Management, LLC: TBA
Grosvenor Literary Agency: Do not waste your time with this agency. I first sent an email asking how to submit. I resent the email a month later and heard back the next day. I then emailed my query a day later. When I didn't hear anything back, I resent the query a month later ... and I still haven't received a response. (3/19/08)
Halyard Literary Agency: I received an email response four days after sending my original email query. (7/13/08)
Harold Ober Associates: TBA
Harvey Klinger: I received an email response just 14 days after my initial contact. Because there are multiple agents with this agency, I also contacted agent Sara Crowe, who responded in one day. (2/4/08)
The Irene Goodman Literary Agency: It took almost four months, but I finally received an email response from my email query. It appears that she responded to my resent query, which means the response took only a month. But I'm not sure what happened to the first one. (5/8/08)
James Fitzgerald Agency: Initially, this agency was one of the ones I ranked pretty high. However, it turned out to be an unexpected joke. The information on the website asked for a full proposal, so I sent an email to ask if I should email just a query instead. Upon resending the email, I was told to email a query. I then sent the query, waited a month after not hearing anything, sent it again, waited another month and sent it again. I still haven't heard anything more. (3/3/08)
Jane Chelius Literary Agency: I have sent an email query to this agency twice, yet I still have not heard anything back. (1/14/08)
Janet Reid: I didn't actually send her a query, because she doesn't represent narrative humor nonfiction. But she did respond to my email within a day, and if her blog is any indication, she seems pretty cool.
John Hawkins & Associates, Inc.: Not sure what happened with this one. I queried, waited two months, queried again and haven't heard anything after waiting another month. (7/27/08)
Jeff Gerecke: I think he's on his own, but he might be working with the Gina Maccoby Literary Agency. I made contact with Jeff before BEA, but apparently he had trouble understanding how the the Book Expo's social networking website worked. He requested that I send him material, but when I did, he wanted my original message from the BEA website. The site had a feature similar to "friending" someone, and I tried to explain this to Jeff. He said that was confusing. Needless to say, I don't think he could have represented any sort of technology book to begin with. (8/1/07)
Global Literary Management: Don't waste your time on this agency. I emailed agent Sandra Zane twice, and after six months, I have yet to receive a response. (1/15/09)
Jody Rein Boks: Skip this one. I mailed a simple one-page query and never heard a response. After two months, I emailed to find out the status. I still haven't heard anything. UPDATE: I received my SASE, stating that the agency is restructuring and not taking new clients at this time. The letter suggested checking the website to find out when they would begin taking new clients again. (04/21/08)
Jonathan Scott Literary Agency: Jon Malysiak responded to my email query in three days. (6/16/08)
JVNLA Inc: Even though Mollie Glick is listed on the site as an agent, I received an email stating that she is no longer with the company. I then attempted to query Alice Tasman, who apparently is so overwhelmed with spam messages that she cannot respond to my emails. I sent an equery as well as a followup email two months later. It has been five months, and I have not yet received a response. (5/10/09)
Krista Goering Literary Agency LLC: Krista responded to my email request in one day. According to the website, you should send an electronic query first, then send a proposal if requested. I received a snail mail response six weeks later. (7/12/08)
Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency: I'm really unsure what to make of this agency. I received a strange response a day after I submitted my information. On the website, the agency recommends sending a marketing strategy with nonfiction, so I did this. I received a response asking if what I was submitting was a novel, which I specifically stated in my initial query. The return email did not have a copy of what I sent, so I resent the same information again. I waited a month to hear back. Since I didn't, I sent the same information again. I received a response hours later that copied the exact same info they sent the first time. Maybe they have a robot reading queries. (3/10/08)
Laura Langlie: Laura responded to my query in one day. (11/9/08)
Levine Greenberg Literary Agency: I wasted way too much time with this agency. I spoke with Elizabeth Fisher, the rights and contract manager, at the 2007 Book Expo. I later emailed her, and she suggested that I complete the online submission form. I held off for awhile because I wanted to redo my query letter. I finally submitted Sept. 21, 2008. I never received a response. I sent questions about the query on Dec. 1 and Jan. 20, 2009, and I still haven't heard anything. (5/10/09)
Lindstrom Literary Management LLC: I sent an equery and a followup email two months later, yet I still have not received a response to either. (5/10/09)
The Literary Group International: A supposed agency with a generic name and a generic website is bound to be pretty generic. I wouldn't even qualify this one as generic, since they have info plastered all over their site that they do not even seem to follow. After sending three emails regarding whether or not they accept queries, I never received any responses. (1/25/09)
Liz Dawson Associates: I met one of the agents with this firm at the 2007 BEA, and he seemed pretty nice. I emailed Liz after BEA, and she responded within three weeks. (8/1/07)
Manus & Associates Literary Agency: More than three months later, I received an email response. It's feasible that the agency responded only because I wrote on here previously that I hadn't received a response, but oh well. (5/27/08)
March Tenth Inc: TBA
Margret McBride Literary Agency: I received a snail mail response three weeks after mailing my original one-page query. (7/24/08)
Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.: I received a mailed response a week after mailing a query with a sample chapter. I had initially sent an email regarding how to submit first, and I didn't receive a response. However, after sending another email, I received detailed instructions. (1/28/08)
Martha Jewett: I'm not sure how to classify Martha. I emailed her a question regarding another agent on my list, and she said she wasn't interested in my project, even though I hadn't told her about it. When I inquired as to why she turned it down, she said it wasn't within her genres, which from what I can tell, are business-related books. My advice is if you don't have something specific for businesses to make millions of dollars, she's probably not the agent for you. (4/6/08)
Martin Literary Management: I received an email response six days after my initial email query. (2/10/08)
Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency: Skip this one. I found very little information on Meredith, so I sent a question to the email address listed online. I did not see a response after three months, so I sent the same question again. I still have not seen a response. (10/15/08)
Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency: Forget this one. It has been more than two months, and I still haven't heard anything back. On this agency's website, it states that someone will contact you only if interested. Furthermore, there's no way to contact via email. (11/26/07)
Nancy Love Literary Agency: After inquiring how to submit (query, either via email or snail mail), she responded to my query in 10 days. (11/27/07) UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Nancy Love is now deceased. (1/28/12)
Natasha Kern Literary Agency: On one hand, this agency has a decent amount of information about how to submit. On the other, though, the guidelines say that if you haven't heard a response in a certain amount of time, then they won't represent you. It also says not to bother sending a SASE. What's even funnier is the email guidelines are similar. In this day and age, it's pretty lame that a company can't at least send an acknowledgment email and turn down a project. (12/18/07)
Nelson Literary Agency: This agency responded to my email query in one day. (4/28/08)
New Brand Agency Group: Cross this one off the list. The email listed on the submissions page will bounce your email. (2/3/08)
The New York Literary Agency: If you do a quick Google search, you'll find this agency has a pretty bad reputation. I didn't realize this before I sent an email query. I received notice that they were interested and to send my manuscript. I emailed five chapters a few days after I received an email. After a few more emails, they accepted me and wanted me to sign a contract. I decided to try to find out more about the organization, so I contacted two publishers who had worked with the agency. One refused to give a recommendation and the other never responded. I decided to turn down the offer. (3/3/08)
Nicholas Ellison Agency (Sanford J Greenberger Associates Inc.): I received a mailed response 17 days after making contact. (10/23/07)
The Park Literary Group: I sent emails twice to find out if this agency was accepting unsolicited queries, and I never received a response. I also emailed agent Amanda Cardinale directly, and after three months, I have yet to receive a response. (1/15/09)
Pelham Literary Agency: I received an email response 16 days after my initial email query. (2/5/08)
Plain Smart Publishing Agency: I received an email response four days after emailing a query. (1/24/08)
Paul Bresnick: I've tried to email this agent twice to find out the best way to submit, and I have never received a response. It's feasible that he is no longer a literary agent. (1/14/08)
Randi Murray Literary Agency: I received an emailed response two days after I submitted an e-query from the website. (9/7/08)
Regal Literary Agency: Here's another waste-of-energy agency. I mailed a simple one-page query and received a response eight months later. After two months, I emailed to find out the status, but I never heard anything at that time. (6/30/08)
Richard Curtis Associates: I did not query this agency because it is no longer accepting new clients. (6/12/08)
Richard Henshaw Group: I received an email response five days after my initial email query. He is not currently accepting new clients. (2/1/08)
Rita Rosenkranz: I received an email response to a complete snail mail submission. I guess that means there's no reason to send a SASE to her. (11/19/07)
The Rosenberg Group: I received a mailed response eight days after sending to the Rosenberg Group. (7/9/08)
Roslyn Targ Literary Agency Inc.: This agency is no longer accepting new clients. I snail mailed a query more than two months ago, but upon an email followup, I received this information. (4/29/08)
The Sagalyn Literary Agency: Just when you think you have run into the worst agent imaginable, you encounter something so unbelievable that it really makes you wonder if actual agents exist at all. I met Shannon O'Neil at a writers' conference in Baltimore. She spoke with a few individuals who were in the early stages of sending queries. She refused to give her email address out, but instead, mentioned to follow the instructions on the agency's website. I sent an equery; I waited a month and sent again; then I waited two months to ask whether or not the equery had been received. It has been four months, and I still have not heard anything from this agency. I would assume that Shannon actually got paid to come to the writers' conference, yet she provided absolutely zero new information and is apparently not even bothering to respond to emails directed to her ... utterly amazing. (5/10/09)
Salkind Agency: I received a response from agent Greg Aunapu a week after sending an equery. (9/20/08)
Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency: I received a response to my snail mailed proposal a little more than a month later. I had communicated with agent Kelly Sonnack at the 2007 Book Expo, and she was helpful in providing the proper guidelines. (2/26/08)
Sheree Bykofsky Associates: Don't waste your time here. I've sent two emails, and in three months, I haven't had a single reply. (12/17/07)
Spectrum Literary Agency: I received a mailed response one month after sending my initial query. (3/20/08)
Sterling House Publisher: For the most part, I have purposely left off any queries directly to publishers for a few reasons. First, the handful of publishing houses I have contacted are ones that accept queries from both agencies and individual authors. However, it's extremely rare, from what I've been told, that they'll accept directly from authors. Second, some of the publishers I've contacted are so specific to the region where the book takes place, or to my genre, that I'm not positive the info will help those querying agencies. I've made an exception to this, though, for Sterling House Publisher, mainly because this company isn't a true publisher to begin with. I spoke with a rep at the BookExpo and later snail mailed my manuscript to the company. Then I started reading horror stories about Cynthia Sterling and her operations, both as a publisher and agency. I immediately requested that my manuscript be destroyed, and that I was no longer interested in any services. Another rep later sent me an email saying that someone had reviewed my "no-fee submission." Hello people, submissions should always be free ... and if they aren't, you are dealing with a shady character. Do a few web searches, and you'll see why it's imperative to avoid this publisher/agency. (6/30/08)
Susan Zeckendorf Associates Inc.: I received a mailed response six days after making contact. (10/12/07)
Scott Meredith Literary Agency: This agency is not accepting new clients at this time. (11/05/07)
Strachan Literary Agency: I received an emailed response more than two months later, after I forwarded my original email to her again. In her response, she said she has been "swamped," so if you decide to query, don't expect an immediate response. (12/17/07)
Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, Inc.: Three email queries and five months later, I finally received an email response. (11/11/08)
Ted Weinstein Literary Management: Good info on what to submit for a proposal, but submit query via email first. I received a response a month and four days later, after forwarding my initial email again. (12/18/07)
3 Seas Literary Agency: This ship has sailed. I never received a response from a snail mail query and two emails. (10/12/08)
Trident Media Group, LLC: Here's another waste-of-time agency. I waited two months after my initial query, and I've waited more than a month for my second attempt. (7/27/08)
Waterside Productions Inc: I queried this agency only once, and after six months, I have yet to receive a response. (1/15/09)
Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc.: I received a mailed response nine days after making contact. I will give credit to Wendy Sherman for being extremely explicit as to what the agency expects in a submission letter, which was helpful not only for this particular one, but for others as well. (10/15/07)
William Morris Agency: I received a mailed response 20 days after making contact. This is the biggest agency I have contacted to this point, so I was pretty impressed with the response time. (10/26/07)
Writers House: I heard from agent Rebecca Sherman regarding my email query within a day. I also queried Daniel Lazar by email, and his assistant responded the next day. You can query individual agents with this agency. (4/5/08)
Zachary Shuster Harmsworth: Rachel Sussman responded to my equery in two days. (7/29/09) I also queried Colleen Rafferty once, and after six months, I have yet to receive a response. (1/15/09)
ADVICE Throughout the agent acquisition process, I've noticed a few things that should be beneficial to others who are attempting to do the same thing.
Keep it short: Maybe send a chapter, but it doesn't seem to help to send a bunch of chapters before the initial query. Not only is it a waste of paper, but there's no guarantee that anything will be read before it's tossed in the trash.
SASE: They might not write you back if you don't include this.
Internet: It seems that most agencies expect mailed letters. However, if you are like me and our focusing on some aspect of technology, it's important to have an agent that utilizes email and has a decent web presence.
Your "best" agent shouldn't be the first one you contact: It's helpful to have practice with the whole query process, so don't send stuff first to the agency you think will suit you the best. Even if you are positive an agency won't represent you, it may not hurt to send a submission. I received an interest from one agent that was near the bottom of my list. Just make sure that the agency represents what you're selling; for instance, don't send your erotic tale to a children's-only agency.
Give them what they want: More than half of the agency websites I have seen describe what they want in a query. It makes sense to write your submission so that they are receiving what they are requesting.
The "We'll contact you if we want more info" line: This is a red flag, in my book, that the agency has serious issues. This would be similar to saying, "We already have enough buyers for our products, so we can't sell you any." If an agency is decent, it should have enough manpower to contact individuals and tell them that they are unable to represent you. Let's face it: It does not take long to send an already-prepared email that says "No thanks." Most likely, these agencies rarely select unsolicited submissions, but I cannot be certain of this.