Tuesday, February 23, 2016

4 Established Agents Looking for Writers - Literary fiction, Memoir, MG, YA, Fantasy, Romance and more

Updated 3/13/23

Here are four agents seeking clients. These are established agents with experience in the publishing industry and good track records. They are seeking an eclectic mix, from upmarket literary to children's books, memoir to fantasy, and from thrillers to health and wellness.

Be sure to read their agency's full guidelines before submitting. Agents may switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements may change.

NOTEDon't submit to more than one agent at the same agency simultaneously. If one rejects you, you may then submit to another. (Some small agencies share. Be alert to a notice that "a no from one is a no from all.")

If these agents do not suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


About Reiko: Before joining DeFiore in early 2016, Reiko Davis was an associate agent at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency for four years. She grew up in Kansas City, received her BA in Comparative Literature and Art History from Brown University, and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course.

What she is looking for: Reiko’s interests are varied, but she is particularly drawn to adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, and young adult and middle grade fiction. Above all, she wants to discover books that surprise and move her with their irresistible characters and language.

She loves a strong narrative voice; smart, funny heroines; narrowly located settings (especially towns in the South and Midwest); family sagas; darkly suspenseful novels; and stories of remarkable friendships or that explore the often perilous terrain of human relationships. For children’s books, she is actively looking for young adult and middle grade fiction—whether it be contemporary, historical, fantasy, or simply a story with a timeless quality and vibrant characters. For nonfiction, she is most interested in cultural, social, and literary history; fascinating tours through niche subjects; narrative science; psychology; guides on creativity; and memoir.

How to submit: Please query her at reiko@defliterary.com with “Query” in the subject line as well as the following: A brief description of your book, and a brief, relevant bio. For fiction, please include the first chapter of your book pasted in the body of your email. No attachments, please.


Molly O'Neill of  Root Literary

About Molly: Prior to becoming an agent, Molly spent thirteen years working in various roles inside the children’s publishing industry: as an Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth's YA juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; as Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and in School & Library Marketing at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books.

What she is seeking: Young Adult Fiction: Tell me a story that's somehow never been told, particularly if it's by a narrative voice that's never been heard, or an authorial voice that's been previously under-represented. I'm most compelled by big what-ifs; by a vivid and vibrant sense of place or worldbuilding; by characters making hard, even seemingly-impossible choices; by the portrayal of friendships that are as intensely meaningful as any romance; by tales of chosen family or bands-of-misfits-turned-family; and by romances that are simultaneously swoony and full of wit and spark. I'm far more interested in the ground-breaking than the well-trodden or derivative, and so am fascinated by unexpected structures, high-concept narrative frameworks and storytelling mechanisms, meldings of genres, or twists I genuinely didn't see coming. And always, always, I want evocative, masterful writing.

Middle Grade Fiction: I'm drawn over and over to middle grades that make me feel something as a reader—whether you make me laugh, cry, curious, wondrous, or furiously indignant! My favorite middle grades explore relationships and a character's growing awareness of their connections to the larger world around them, all while saying something fresh and meaningful about the experience of being human. Fabulism, magical realism, or a sense of the fantastical get big bonus points from me, as does a strong sense of place, real or imaginary, and I can never get enough of humor (though I lean more toward wit, puns, or a sense of the absurd than slapstick humor). Lyrical writing can win me over fast, but to be a book that readers return to again and again, it needs to be supported by a plot as compelling as the language is beautiful.

Illustrators, Author-Illustrators & Cartoonist/Graphic novelists: I am NOT currently seeking standalone texts by picture book authors, but I welcome illustrators, and illustrators who are also writers or on their way to becoming writers. My illustrator clients work on a variety of formats, from jacket/cover illustrations, to spot art, to full picture books, to early readers/chapter books, to graphic novels and graphic hybrids. I'm drawn to a wide variety of illustration styles (visit the Illustrator Gallery on my website to see examples), but what most catches my eye is art with a distinctive narrative sensibility or point of view, the capturing of energy and movement and a creative use of panels and pages, a knack for visual storytelling, and the intelligent use of subtle-but-impactful visual details, whether poignant, humorous, or sweet, that add to the richness and complexity of a story's seemingly-simple layers. On a technical level, I'm open to any medium (traditional to digital to combos thereof), but am most keenly looking for illustrators whose art works well in both full color, and black/white/grayscale, as different bookmaking opportunities call for different palettes. Dexterity with shading, line work, and composition are all important, as is the ability to create vivid, specific characters with just a few lines, and I am always drawn to illustrators who have a knack for striking portrayals of light (and darkness).

Other categories: My nonfiction list is small, eclectic, and highly selective. While I have found many of my kids/MG/YA clients through general submissions, for adult fiction and nonfiction, I'm most likely to sign clients who I have pursued based on their existing, distinctive, well-established platform, expertise, or life experience. I'm particularly drawn to nonfiction narratives about creativity, culture, storytelling, innovation, community, connectivity, and/or friendship/love/family in all its forms; by projects that explore the intersections of unexpectedly-connected topics; and by those that underscore a universal human story, whatever the context. A good rule of thumb: if it would make for a fascinating TED talk, you're in a wheelhouse that might intrigue me. 

How to submit: Use her query manager HERE.


About Miriam: Miriam Altshuler began her career at Russell & Volkening, where she worked for twelve years with such writers as Anne Tyler, Eudora Welty, Joseph Campbell, Nadine Gordimer, and Bernard Malamud.  In 1994 she established her own agency, which she ran for twenty-one years until she joined DeFiore and Company in early 2016.

What she is seeking: In fiction, she is most interested in family sagas, historical novels, and stories that offer a new twist or retelling of some kind. She does not work with adult romance, sci fi, or fantasy. In nonfiction, she loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, and self-help (as long as it is not too prescriptive). She particularly responds to books that have an important cultural, social, or psychological focus.

How to submit: Please send an email to her at querymiriam@defliterary.com with “Query” in the subject line. Include the following: A brief description of your book, and a brief, relevant bio. For fiction, please include the first chapter of your book pasted in the body of your email. She also really wants to know what you feel the heart of your book is, in one or two sentences. No attachments, please.


About Eric: Eric Myers founded Myers Literary Management in 2017, following two years with Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret LLC and thirteen with The Spieler Agency. A graduate of UCLA and the Sorbonne, Eric entered publishing as a journalist and author. His books include Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, Forties Screen Style: A Celebration of High Pastiche in Hollywood, and Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis, all published by St. Martin’s Press. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Arts and Leisure sections, as well as Time Out, Variety, Opera News, and Art and Auction.

What he is seeking: As an agent, Eric represents adult nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, biography, psychology, health and wellness, mind/body/spirit, and pop culture. He also is open to memoir from authors with strong platforms.

How to submit: Send query to eric@myersliterary.com For non-fiction queries, please include a few paragraphs on the premise of the book and about your own background.  


  1. Thanks for these posts! I've sent many a query based on them. If you don't mind me asking, where do you discover that these agents are seeking submissions? Do they contact you? I'm asking to see if mentioning their inclusion on this site would be appropriate in a query letter.


  2. Hello Eric, got these agents from Publishers Weekly. PW has free online newsletters where they post the latest publishing news, including job changes. (That includes agents switching agencies, retiring, opening new agencies, etc.) Writers Digest is where I get most of my new agent listings. (Their online newsletter is also free.) For my larger lists of agents, I do a search through Agent Query and genre-specific sites. Mentioning this site, or any other, will not be particularly useful in a query letter. However, referring to an interview of theirs, or to their agency bio is always a good idea.

    1. Thanks for the insight. I appreciate it, and the work you do for this site!

  3. I appreciate your effort on our behalf but I have sent out over 500 query letters to publishers and as men letters to literary agents and all have been rejected without showing the slightest interest in looking at one of my books. After writing 29 books including 4 series that have garnered 18 awards and readers around the world seem to like, I can't interest one agent to even look at one of my books. I have lost faith in agents or finding a legitimate publisher. My problem is I'm running out of time,.

    1. Hello Joe, I see you won an Eric Hoffer award, among many others. Your books have certainly stood on their own two feet! The problem with agents (and publishers) is that their decisions are based on what they, often erroneously, believe they can sell. As a consequence, they frequently guess wrong. (For example, my editor at Random House turned down the Harry Potter books, because they were too long and "nobody would read them.") And in many respects, agents are an even harder sell than editors, because agents live off their commissions, whereas editors earn a salary. It's a very difficult business. I know you have tried just about everyone, but have you considered approaching agents/publishers outside the US?

    2. I just had another thought. How about the European market? Germany is in love with Westerns. I am currently using Babelcube to translate one of my books into Spanish, Italian, and Dutch. You pay nothing to have the book translated, and you only get 30% of the sales price on the first couple thousand books, but after that there is an escalator. It may be worth it if your books take off. (Also, it's really fun seeing your book in other languages!)


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