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The Directory of Literary Agents
7 Insider Secrets to Get a Top Agent, Publisher, and Book Deal (65 minutes)
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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.
|Show Notes | Show Bio||http://illuminateliterary.com/ | Show Map ||
This literary agent represents:
NONFICTION: Business * Christian * Cultural/Social Issues * Dating/Relationship/Sex * Design * Family * Food/Drinks * Gift/Novelty * Health/Wellness * Inspiration * Lifestyle * Memoir * Religion * Self-Help/Personal Development * Spirituality *
Tawny Johnson is a literary agent with the Illuminate Literary Agency. She has learned to rely on her professional instinct to recognize books that will have a solid message and win readers’ hearts.
She first honed this ability during her years of experience in retail as a bookstore manager, regional manager, product buyer, and marketing manager for a chain of 10 successful Christian bookstores. After her career in retail, she moved into publishing at Multnomah Press, where she shared her expertise in marketing and advertising while becoming adept in negotiating international book rights. In 2014, Tawny became a literary agent with Don Jacobson and Jenni Burke at D.C. Jacobson & Associates. And most recently, Tawny has joined forces with Jenni to lead the agency to an unprecedented new level of author care and excellence under the Illuminate banner.
“My career as a literary agent is a rewarding culmination of all my past experience in the industry, coupled with my passion for exceptional writing, depth of content, and theological integrity,” she says. “I consider it a privilege to support my clients as they develop life-changing books.”
As an agent, Tawny leverages her rich history in the book industry to benefit her clients. When asked what it’s like to work with Tawny, they describe her as offering extensive…
For Tawny, It’s Personal: She actually came to Christ through reading a memoir. So she knows, first-hand, how God can use the words printed in a book to touch the heart of a searching soul.
You Can Call Her Professor: Tawny teaches a course to graduate students at Portland State University on the intricacies of the publishing industry.
Tell me a bit more: Tawny holds a BA in Bible and Theology with a minor in English Literature from Multnomah University and a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Multnomah Biblical Seminary. She is a native to Portland, Oregon who in her free time likes to travel, putter in her unruly English garden, and join her husband in his new pursuit of sailing. “I love to eat good food with my eyes closed, listen to interesting ideas, and laugh with my family and friends—preferably while in front of a fire in County Cork or watching a sunset on Nantucket,” says Tawny.
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 my answers to the 50 questions I’m asked most by authors.
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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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 (Penguin Books)
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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 (Random House)
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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)