Home » Directory of Literary Agents – USA Literary Agents
The Directory of Literary Agents
7 Insider Secrets to Get a Top Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal
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Literary Agent Directory
Important: Visit each agent’s website (links in their listings below) to see if they’re open to submissions before querying.
Claire Draper is a literary agent with The Bent Agency. Claire says: “I fell in love with books later than some, when my high school best friend dragged me to the theater to see Twilight. I became a book fanatic after that. There was not a time you could catch me without a book on my person or fanfiction open on my phone. I read every YA novel available and quickly moved on to the adult romance section, which was decently larger at the local Borders. I decided I wanted to be involved in books any way I could. I ended up moving from California to New York to try and get a degree and weasel my way into book publishing.
After studying Queer Diversity in Children’s Literature at New York University’s Gallatin School and pursuing multiple internships, in 2016 I spent a fantastic (if short-lived) two weeks working as a bookseller for the Strand, before joining InkWell Management as a receptionist and agents’ assistant. In early 2019, I moved to the Bent Agency to start building my list with a collection of very queer books for kids of all ages, including graphic novels, picture books, middle-grade, and young adult. And then I embarked on books for adults, when I decided to return to my favorites with particularly queer memoir, queer romance novels, and select adult nonfiction.
For all the books I work with, I prefer to work with queer creators and BIPOC creators, and strongly encourage those creators to send me their work. Regardless of genre, age, or subject, I like lighthearted, emotional, hopeful, adventurous reads. I am largely genre-agnostic, but I do prefer books with a fast pace, high stakes, and strong emotional development for the main character(s). I do not want to see books from authors writing identity-based books not of their own identity.
For graphic novels, I like a diverse cast of characters, in nearly any genre or location. I love art that challenges traditional styles and is easily recognizable as belonging to a particular artist. I like stories for all ages, fiction and nonfiction, but especially love when a book has strong themes of love and/or friendship, and is extra queer.
For illustrator portfolios, I like to see a decent sampling of your work, including anything from character design, to fan art, to sequentials (any paneled work, webcomic, zine, etc., will suffice). Please let me know whether you are exclusively an illustrator or author/illustrator.
For YA and middle-grade contemporary, I love fiction where the main character has average, everyday challenges and we see how they overcome them. I love books that are lighthearted and emotionally poignant. I am especially interested in queer, disabled, and BIPOC protagonists, especially when the books are not issue-driven.
For YA and middle-grade genre, I love fast pacing and high stakes. I am generally not preferential to any specific genre (fantasy, horror, sci-fi, etc.) as long as the rules of the genre are respected and understood. Much like with contemporary, I am especially interested in queer, disabled, and BIPOC protagonists, especially when the books are not issue-driven. But above all, give me a good, page-turning adventure.
For queer adult romance novels, I want books with queer protagonists that have distinct personalities and a fast pace. I love nearly any genre, but require that the story is queer, feminist, and body-positive. I can’t bear to read dated ideals of partnership, relationships, femininity, and masculinity. I DO NOT want books where the characters participate in sexual acts without consent and/or while heavily intoxicated. Consent is key and a non-negotiable. Sweep me off my feet, please! I’ve been reading romance novels since I was a teenager, so make sure to respect the rules of HEA and give me some good trope-filled romance. To reiterate, I love a wide range of sub-genres in this space, so send it all.
For memoir, I am particularly interested in queer authors writing about their queerness and the intersections of their identity. I love books with humor and interesting perspectives, and enjoy a big personality or narration to go with the contents of the memoir. I do not want conservative or conservative-leaning memoirs.
For select adult nonfiction, I love creators with a fun and interesting platform, who are the experts in their field, and have something interesting and crucial to say. Subjects for this may include but are not limited to: plants, crafting, DIY, cleaning, homemaking, cooking, art, feminism, queer theory, parenting, and media criticism.”
This literary agent represents:
FICTION: Children’s Fiction * Gay/Lesbian Fiction * Graphic Novel * Middle Grade Fiction * New Adult * Romance * Young Adult Fiction *
NONFICTION: Cultural/Social Issues * Design * Film/Entertainment * Food/Drinks * Gardening * Gay/Lesbian * How-To * Juvenile * Memoir * Parenting/Child Guidance * Pop Culture * Women’s Issues *
Submit a Question or Comment
If you have a question or comment, click on the red button below and you’ll be able to post it. You’ll also be able to see answers to the questions I’m asked most.
Use the drop-down menu on the left to search for agents by genre, gender, location, longevity, or AAR Status. To find a specific agent or agency, enter the agent’s name or the name of the agency into the search box.
Important: If you use the search box, you must remove the search term by pressing the “Clear Search” link before you look for more agents using the drop-down menu (or you won’t see the proper results). Click on the “Show Notes” and “Show Bio” links underneath each agent for more information about that agent.
Have a question or need support? Post a comment or question by clicking on the red button at the bottom of the page.
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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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Author Coaching Testimonials
“Mark, finding you has been both a treat and a treasure—I just signed a contract with my new literary agent!
My career has spanned publishing, TV, and feature film. I’ve served as Creative Dir. for the Magazine Group, TIME Inc.; Dir. of Time World News Service, a Founding Dir. of TIME-Life Films; Exec. Prod. for both the CBS and NBC TV Networks; Prod./Dir.: Movies of the Week: CBS Cinema Center Films and Universal MCA.
In today’s publishing marketplace, agents come and go. They also very often seem to just want an easy pathway to make a buck. Many authors are let go by their agents because their last book didn’t do well enough and the agent doesn’t want to devote the time to help the author. That’s not what you’re about Mark. Even established authors need this type of support in today’s marketplace.”
Author of ten fiction and nonfiction books
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“I’m psyched to have this be official. After getting five different offers for representation from top literary agents, I signed with Stephanie Tade who got me a 6-figure book deal with Penguin!
Getting multiple agents interested in my work was really important to me. I’ve dealt with agents before and gotten screwed on things contractually so I wanted to do it differently this time. I wanted choices.
Having you help me create that, and navigate my options, was really helpful. I heard other authors talk about their great relationships with their agents and it made me want the same thing. Now I have that.”
Author of Woman on Fire
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“After sending out the query Mark revised for me, I had the opportunity 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 and, a short time later I had a publishing contract with Berkley Books, which recently published my book in hardcover.
Before that, I sent my query letter out on my own to 30 or 40 agents and got a lot of rejections. I then found Mark online while I was researching agents. I was surprised that he offered so much during his initial consultation—for a very modest amount of money.
I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t worked with Mark. I can’t even imagine that now though, because of the grief and detours I experienced before we worked together. It was a time-consuming pain in the neck. If you want to get the attention of top literary agents and publishers, there is no substitute for working with an insider. You can’t beat experience. And having Mark on your side is incredibly valuable.”
Author of Single Handed
(Berkley Books, a Division of Penguin Random House)
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“AHHH! OMG, it happened! I got three offers of representation for my children’s picture book in the United States, even though I live abroad! When I woke up and found the first offer for representation in my email in box, I wanted to scream. But my family was still asleep so I couldn’t. 🙂
Just 8 minutes after I sent a query letter to one of my favorite agents, she replied and asked to see my manuscript. A short time later we had a lovely conversation. She was interested in representing me and sounded very positive and enthusiastic about my book. Since I also got offers from two other agents, I had to turn two of them down. One of them was upset and it felt like I was breaking her heart, but you just have to do it. I kept reminding myself that this is a good problem to have!”
Author/Illustrator of Lon-Lon’s Big Night
and many other children’s books
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“Mark, after you helped me land a top literary agent, I got publishing offers from THREE well-known publishers: Amacom, Palgrave Macmillan, and McGraw-Hill (they’re publishing my book in hardcover)!
I was at Disneyworld with my family, in the Haunted Mansion, when I got the call. I went outside and listened to the voicemail message from my agent. A huge smile came over my face. It was a fantastic feeling. For a moment I felt like life was perfect and the angels were singing.
You’re filling an important need so I’ll say this to every other author reading this testimonial. Mark showed me that getting a top literary agent is a science. If you’ve written a book, or you’re in the process, you’ve already invested a lot—a lot more than money. Don’t stop yourself from getting out there to fulfill your purpose and dreams. Thank you so, so much, Mark!!!”
Author of Customer Focused Process Innovation (McGraw Hill)
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“I got a book deal! After I started sending out my new query letter I had 6 literary agents request my manuscript in a short amount of time, which is awesome. Then, within 2 weeks of my agent starting to pitch my story to publishers, we had an offer. I signed a book contract yesterday. A little while later my agent told me that a TV co-producer asked for more info about my book.
By the way, the acquiring editor that fell in love with the manuscript jumped in with both feet and we just worked out our timeline for publication. She’s as passionate about getting my book out as I am, and that means everything. She read the manuscript in two days and said she couldn’t put it down. And the book is going to be published as a hardcover!”
Author of A Chick in the Cockpit
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“Thank you Mark! After you helped me get a well-known agent with Hartline Literary Agency (for my previously self-published murder mystery), he got me a deal with an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) approved publisher. I’m hard-pressed to find anything that I had an expectation for that you didn’t deliver on.
Before I worked with you I sent out queries, but no one ever requested my complete manuscript. Comparing your new version of my query to the one I wrote before, I can see a vast difference.
I’ve been in business for 35 years so I’m not just saying this… what you’re doing is phenomenal. There are other people offering similar services, but the difference is your success. Others might say they do similar things but, if you research them, they don’t have your background or track record.”
Author of The Rector
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“Mark, you’re a miracle worker. Thanks to your help with my book, query letter, and synopsis… I now have a legitimate publisher who described my book as ‘Powerful Magic’ and it’s now available in bookstores and online!
I’m a lifelong academic writer who one day found myself writing inspired short stories that came to me in dreams and I began thinking of them as novels. That’s when I had a momentous conversation, an introductory coaching call with Mark Malatesta, the American creative writing coach, or rather, to be precise, a how-to-sell-yourself-and-your-work adviser. It was the best-spent money of my life apart (possibly) for my wedding ring.”
Author of The Black Inked Pearl
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“Within 4 minutes of sending out my query letter, a top literary called me on the phone (the #1 agent on my wish list). Less than 30 days later I had three major publishers making offers. A few days after that, I signed a deal with Random House. Mark, your query letter did that.
My agent talked about the query letter you helped me create for a long, long time. When he first called me on the phone, he hadn’t seen any of my sample chapters. It was just the query letter that did it. Communicating the right thing is so important. You are a wonderful medium helping authors find their voice and elevate their writing from just a hobby to a real business… a source from which they can both learn and earn.”
Author of Lights Out
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“MARK, MARK, MARK!!!!!!! Holy smokes… I just signed my book deal. First, two well-known literary agents asked to represent me. One of them responded to my query letter in less than 4 minutes!!
Then THREE different publishers wanted my book and started talking about making offers. The publisher I chose is perfect for me because they produce titles for the trade, educational, and scientific markets. And they agreed to publish my book as a hardcover!!!
When I met you, Mark, it was a pivotal time. I was under the belief that I could self-publish my book with a vanity press and then seek a publisher. I didn’t know what a literary agent was, why I needed one, or how to get one. I was wandering in the dark. You guided me in the right direction and gave me a solid plan.”
Author of Intestinal Health
(Rowman & Littlefield)
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“Boom!!! I just signed a contract with Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins for (what I’ve been told by several people) is a very large advance for a first-time author.
Before working with Mark I submitted my book to agents but didn’t get any interest. This time around I got a top NY literary agency (Fine Print Lit). What cloud is higher than 9?
I had several agencies interested before deciding to go with Fine Print. And, to be honest, all of the attention didn’t surprise me. The query letter and proposal that Mark helped me develop were incredible. Agents actually said things to me like: ‘Scott, I read your proposal and I’m just blown away by it!’ Mark is extremely talented at what he does. If you have the opportunity to work with him, take advantage of it.”
Author of The Unbreakable Boy
(Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson)