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Best Literary Agents – The Top 100 Book Agents of All Time

Photo of best literary agentsBest literary agents – Who are the best book agents on our list of literary agents and how can you submit your book(s) to them? This article (just updated on 7/22/17) lists the Top 100 Literary Agents and it provides access to their contact information so you can query them. It also shows the top category for each agent. For example, the best fiction literary agents include Robert Gottlieb withTrident Media Group, Marly Rusoff with Marly Rusoff & Associates, and Russell Galen with Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. The best nonfiction literary agents include Celeste Fine with Sterling Lord Literistic, Larry Weissman  with Larry Weissman Literary, and Frank Weimann with Folio Literary Management. And the best book agents representing books for younger readers include Stephen Barbara with Inkwell Management for young adult, Daniel Lazar with Writers House for middle grade, and Holly McGhee with Pippin Properties. Scroll below now to see the top 100 literary agents so you can get a top book agent, publisher, and book deal. And, click here if you want to see the Top Literary Agencies.

But first…

Best Literary Agents – Who Are They?

The best literary agents and literary agencies aren’t easy to identify. That’s because there are many skills that make a top literary agent: a good education, experience in the publishing industry, the ability to spot talented authors, book development, publicity, and general people skills. But there’s skill that’s more important than any other for authors who want to get a top publisher and a big book deal.

And that is… sales ability.

It doesn’t matter how good your agent is at anything else if he or she isn’t a good salesperson.

So, who are the best literary agents based on sales?

I’m not talking about the number of book deals that an agent has closed, either. I’m talking about the number of six-figure (and beyond) book deals that an agent has closed. In other words, who are the best literary agents who’ve gotten the biggest advances and promotional budgets for their clients, allowing them to make the biggest difference in the world?

You’ll get different opinions depending on who you ask, but most publishing insiders will agree that the agents listed below in our Top 100 list deserve to be there. That’s because this list of top dealmakers is based purely on performance. These are the 100 Best Literary Agents based on the most reported six-figure or better deals since January 2004 for all book categories (fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books).

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Best Literary Agents – The Top 100

Enter your info to the right for complete profiles, 
including contact information, for all these agents.

Best Literary Agents (1-10)

  1. Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media Group) / Top category: Fiction: Thriller
  2. Marly Rusoff (Marly Rusoff & Associates) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  3. Russell Galen (Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  4. Kimberly Whalen (The Whalen Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  5. Celeste Fine (Sterling Lord Literistic) / Top category: Nonfiction: Health
  6. Jenny Bent (The Bent Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  7. Scott Miller (Trident Media Group) / Top category: Fiction: Thriller
  8. Larry Weissman (Larry Weissman Literary) / Top category: Nonfiction: Narrative
  9. Frank Weimann (Folio Literary Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: Memoir
  10. Stephen Hanselman (LevelFiveMedia) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance

Best Literary Agents (11-20)

  1. Daniel Lazar (Writers House) / Top category: Children’s: Middle Grade
  2. Andrew Stuart (The Stuart Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  3. Stephen Barbara (Inkwell Management) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  4. Holly McGhee (Pippin Properties) / Top category: Children’s: Picture Book
  5. Steven Axelrod (The Axelrod Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  6. Victoria Sanders (Victoria Sanders & Associates) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  7. Jim Hornfischer (Hornfischer Literary Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  8. Deidre Knight (The Knight Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  9. Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown Literary Agency) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  10. Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult

Best Literary Agents (21-30)

  1. Christy Fletcher (Fletcher & Company) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance
  2. Jane Dystel (Dystel, Goderich & Bourret) / Top category: Fiction: New Adult
  3. Kevan Lyon (Marsal Lyon Literary Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  4. Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary Agency) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  5. Scott Waxman (Waxman Leavell Literary Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: Sports
  6. Rosemary Stimola (Stimola Literary Studio) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  7. Al Zuckerman (Writers House) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance
  8. Sara Crowe (Pippin Properties) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  9. Tracey Adams (Adams Literary) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  10. Josh Adams (Adams Literary) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult

Best Literary Agents (31-40)

  1. Steve Laube (Steve Laube Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Inspirational
  2. Janis Donnaud (Janis A. Donnaud & Associates) / Top category: Nonfiction: Cooking
  3. Rob McQuilkin (Massie & McQuilkin) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  4. Zoe Pagnamenta (Zoe Pagnamenta Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: General/Other
  5. Chris Ferebee (Christopher Ferebee) / Top category: Nonfiction: Religion/Spirituality
  6. Richard Abate (3 Arts Entertainment) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  7. Emily van Beek (Folio Literary Management) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  8. Dorian Karchmar (William Morris Endeavor) / Top category: Fiction: Debut
  9. Helen Breitwieser (Cornerstone Literary) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  10. Elizabeth Sheinkman (William Morris Endeavor) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other

Best Literary Agents (41-50)

  1. Susan Golomb (Writers House) / Top category: Fiction: Debut
  2. Suzie Townsend (New Leaf Literary & Media) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  3. Curtis Yates (Yates & Yates) / Top category: Nonfiction: Religion/Spirituality
  4. Nancy Yost (Nancy Yost Literary Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  5. Dan Conaway (Writers House) / Top category: Fiction: Thriller
  6. Kim Witherspoon (Inkwell Management) / Top category: Fiction: Debut
  7. Joseph Veltre (Gersh Agency) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  8. Liza Dawson (Liza Dawson Associates) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  9. Simon Lipskar (Writers House) / Top category: Fiction: Thriller
  10. John Maas (Sterling Lord Literistic) / Top category: Nonfiction: Health

Best Literary Agents (51-60)

  1. Elisabeth Weed (The Book Group) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  2. Steve Troha (Folio Literary Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: Health
  3. Doug Abrams (Idea Architects) / Top category: Nonfiction: Health
  4. David Vigliano (AGI Vigliano) / Top category: Nonfiction: Pop Culture
  5. Melissa Flashman (Janklow & Nesbit) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance
  6. Gail Ross (Ross Yoon Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  7. Eileen Cope (Mark Creative Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: Health
  8. Alexandra Machinist (ICM) / Top category: Fiction: Debut
  9. Suzanne Gluck (William Morris Endeavor) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  10. Karen Solem (Spencerhill Associates) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance

Best Literary Agents (61-70)

  1. Deborah Schneider (Gelfman Schneider/ICM) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  2. Stacey Glick (Dystel, Goderich & Bourret) / Top category: Nonfiction: Cooking
  3. Peter McGuigan (Foundry Literary + Media) / Top category: Nonfiction: Memoir
  4. Todd Shuster (Aevitas Creative Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  5. Bonnie Solow (Solow Literary Enterprises) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance
  6. Elyse Cheney (The Cheney Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: Narrative
  7. Fredrica Friedman (Fredrica S. Friedman and Company) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  8. Alison Fargis (Stonesong) / Top category: Nonfiction: Cooking
  9. Meg Thompson (Thompson Literary Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: Cooking
  10. Lucienne Diver (The Knight Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Best Literary Agents (71-80)

  1. Esther Newberg (ICM) / Top category: Nonfiction: Sports
  2. Meg Ruley (Jane Rotrosen Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  3. Alex Glass (Glass Literary Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: Diet
  4. Barry Goldblatt (Barry Goldblatt Literary) / Top category: Children’s: Middle Grade
  5. Robert Barnett (Williams & Connolly) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  6. Lisa Bankoff (Bankoff Collaborative) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  7. Bill Clegg (The Clegg Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Debut
  8. Kathleen Anderson (Anderson Literary Management) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  9. Ted Weinstein (Ted Weinstein Literary Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance
  10. Lisa DiMona (Writers House) / Top category: Nonfiction: Business/Investing/Finance

Best Literary Agents (81-90)

  1. Meredith Bernstein (Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  2. Peter Steinberg (Foundry Literary + Media) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  3. Caitlin Blasdell (Liza Dawson Associates) / Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  4. David Fugate (LaunchBooks Literary Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  5. Eric Simonoff (William Morris Endeavor) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  6. Danielle Egan-Miller (Browne & Miller Literary Associates) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  7. Sealy Yates (Yates & Yates) / Top category: Nonfiction: Religion/Spirituality
  8. Stephanie Tade (Stephanie Tade Agency) / Top category: Nonfiction: Health
  9. Andrea Barzvi (Empire Literary) / Top category: Nonfiction: Diet
  10. Steven Malk (Writers House) / Top category: Children’s: Middle Grade

Best Literary Agents (91-100)

  1. Jennifer Jackson (Donald Maass Literary Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  2. Erica Spellman Silverman (Trident Media Group) / Top category: Fiction: Women’s/Romance
  3. Cathy Hemming (Cathy D. Hemming Literary Agency) / Top category: Children’s: Picture Book
  4. Marc Gerald (UTA) / Top category: Nonfiction: Memoir
  5. Alan Nevins (Renaissance) / Top category: Nonfiction: Memoir
  6. Ted Malawer (Upstart Crow Literary) / Top category: Children’s: Young Adult
  7. David McCormick (McCormick Literary) / Top category: Nonfiction: Narrative
  8. Grainne Fox (Fletcher & Company) / Top category: Fiction: General/Other
  9. David Kuhn (Aevitas Creative Management) / Top category: Nonfiction: History/Politics/Current Affairs
  10. Amy Rennert (Amy Rennert Agency) / Top category: Fiction: Mystery/Crime

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Best Literary Agents – Additional Information & Resources

Before you start submitting your work to literary agents, there are two more things you need to know. First, this list of the best literary agents is based on deals that have been “self-reported” by the agents to a website called Publishers Marketplace. That means there are a lot of other book agents making six-figure deals that don’t report them. In other words, there are a lot more great agents (hundreds of them) that didn’t make this list.

Click here now to learn about our FREE Literary Agent Directory
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Author Success Story: Memoir/Christian  
Author Picture

"Before I decided to work with Mark, I submitted my book to literary agents but didn’t get any interest. After I revised my query letter and book proposal, I got several agencies interested and decided to sign with Fine Print Lit, a top literary agency in New York. They got publishers bidding against each other and I ended up signing a contract with Thomas Nelson (an imprint of Harper Collins) for what I’ve been told by several people is a very large advance. What cloud is higher than 9?" [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Eleven Fiction and Nonfiction Titles  
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"Finding Mark has been both a treat and a treasure. I now have two different agents for my work, and a book deal with Sky Horse Publishing. I’ve served as Creative Director of the TIME Incorporated Magazine Group; Director of Time World News Service, a Founding Director of TIME-Life Films; Executive Producer for both the CBS and NBC Television Networks; and Producer/ Director: Movies of the Week: CBS Cinema Center Films and Universal MCA. You just can’t do it alone today as an author." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Memoir  
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"I got the number one agent on my wish list thanks to Mark. He’s done more than 100 deals in just two year and has a long list of accolades, including being talked about in the New York Times. Within 4 minutes of sending out my revised query letter, my literary agent called me on the phone. Less than 30 days later I had three major publishers making offers. And, a few days after that, I signed a deal with Random House. Mark’s query letter did that." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Self-Help  
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"Mark helped me get five different offers for representation from top literary agents. I signed with Stephanie Tade who got me a 6-figure book deal with Penguin Books, which published my book in hardcover! When Stephanie first contacted me, she was very excited and said, ‘I can’t get your book proposal out of my head. It’s brilliant – I mean, really, it’s fantastic. Editors should be salivating by the time they get to the chapter outline.’ Working with Mark was completely worth it." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller  
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"Ballantine Books published my first two novels in hardcover and paperback after Mark Malatesta helped create an auction and bidding war for my books, resulting in a six-figure offer. Mark is one of the rare and genuine good guys, but he also has incredible information (even his ideas have ideas). One of the most important keys to success as an author is good information and support." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Fiction  
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"Before I revised my query letter with Mark, I got no responses. When I sent out my new query, I got four requests for more material within 24 hours The support Mark provides is fantastic. His suggestions changed my original query significantly, but they also helped me see that I had something to offer. Now I have a top agent! Mark is smart and reliable and working with him has made all the difference." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Fiction/Young Adult  
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"When I got the phone call about my publishing offer with Harcourt, I was in my office with three other people. I slammed down the phone, ran into the secretary’s office, threw myself down on the floor and said, ‘I got a deal!’ They sat there and held my hand. I was speechless. I’ve never ever been that happy in my life. On my wedding day I wasn’t that happy! Getting married and having children are wonderful experiences, but I didn’t ‘work’ to get my children!" [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Business  
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"Not long after Mark helped me land a top literary agent, I got a call from my agent letting me know that I had three different publishing offers from well-known publishers: Amacom, Palgrave Macmillan, and McGraw-Hill who recently published my book in hardcover! It was a fantastic feeling and a huge smile came over my face. For a moment I felt like life was perfect and the angels were singing." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Narrative Nonfiction  
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"Berkley Books recently published my book in hardcover after Mark helped me get multiple agents interested in my work. I was able to speak with literary agents from top agencies such as Janklow & Nesbit, Trident Media, Anderson Lit, and Folio. I signed with Don Fehr at Trident Media and a short time later I had a publishing contract! Having Mark on your side is incredibly valuable." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author Success Story: Fiction  
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"It has been an awfully long and bloody road towards publication but I’m finally on my way. Hard work, struggle, disappointments, and perseverance are important. So is following the advice of publishing industry experts like Mark. He helped me get a top literary agent and now my novel, The Wrong Hand is being published by Penguin Books and their prestigious Michael Joseph imprint, which is ‘principally interested in publishing Top Ten Bestsellers’. It’s hard not to be excited." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]


About Mark Malatesta

MARK MALATESTA is a former literary agent turned author coach. Mark now helps authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children's books) get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals through his company Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author. Mark's authors have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the NYT bestseller list, and published with houses such as Random House, Scholastic, and Thomas Nelson. Click here to learn more about Mark Malatesta and click here for Reviews of Mark Malatesta.
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