Writer's Digest

The End Is Just the Beginning

In publishing, “The End” is just a lie. Once those words appear on the page there is celebrating to be done, for sure, but also an acknowledgment that new work is just beginning. Writers are, generally, not salespeople (although you may be surprised by how good a salesperson you someday become). Some stereotypes: introvert, quiet, humble, listens more than talks, observes, bad with numbers, cringes at obvious marketing ploys, points out their own mistakes, dreamer, more right brain than left, a bit mystified with the entire pitch process.

Maybe you’re all of those things, none of those things, or one of those things. But with “The End,” no matter how much you’d rather just write, comes the beginning of the business side of things. We’re here to make this next step a bit easier.

First, know this: Your book is worthy. Think of the hours, days, months, years you’ve spent conceptualizing your idea, writing, writing, writing, reading, sharing, editing, editing, sharing, editing, thinking about, dreaming about, dare we say, obsessing over? All of that is worthy of this next step, no matter how daunting it may seem. Your work deserves a shot at success. And while there is an unfair amount of luck in this industry, hard work, determination, and sending queries knowledgeably and correctly will separate you from the rest.

Here you’ll find 27 agents—carefully chosen after researching hundreds of them—who are actively seeking new clients. Their wants have not been copied and pasted from their websites—you can handle that. Instead, I contacted each agent and verified all the information, asking them to update their wish lists and provide extra details and tips so that you can find the perfect fit. These agents are looking for diverse works in all genres. There is someone here for (almost) everyone.

The roundtable that accompanies this roundup features five agents who, in addition to other genres, are actively seeking literary fiction. They took the time to talk about what that term means to them and share exactly what the world of publishing wants and needs when you see “literary” on a wish list.

So clink and cheer “The End” and then roll up your sleeves. You have work to do. The work you’ve already done deserves it.




FICTION INTERESTS: “Fun, witty YA contemporary, particularly sci-fi and fantasy (romance is a plus). Also, smart, sexy contemporary and historical romance.” DOES NOT WANT: Picture books, nonfiction, screenplays. RECENT SALES: Your New Best Friend by Jayne Denker (romantic comedy, Halliday). HOW TO SUBMIT: Fill out the form at querymanager.com/query/1426. TIPS FOR WRITERS: “Getting published is a long road, and though it’s easy to get discouraged, keep writing! The more you write, the more you grow as an author.”




Literary fiction, voice-driven mysteries and thrillers, upscale commercial women’s fiction. “I’m looking for something fairly elusive: confidence. I want to feel that you’re in the driver’s seat—that you’ve got a distinctive voice and know how to launch your story in the crucial first pages. I’m also looking for characters with depth. Overall, it’s important to me that writers understand the effect of their writing on readers. I look for that on every page.” Narrative nonfiction (especially by journalists), travelogues, memoirs (including graphic memoirs), social issues and trends, research-based psychology and self-help, popular culture, women’s issues, history and biography, lifestyle, careers, health and medicine, parenting, cooking and nutrition, gardening, quirky gift books. Romances, screenplays, poetry, Westerns, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, techno thrillers, spy capers, apocalyptic scenarios, self-published books, political or religious arguments. by Marisel by Margaret Leslie Davis (narrative nonfiction, TarcherPerigee); by Terry Theise (wine and spirits, Houghton Mifflin); by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. (research-based psychology/self-help, Kensington); by Michael I. Goran, Ph.D., and Emily Ventura, Ph.D. and M.P.H. (nutrition and parenting, Avery). For fiction or narrative nonfiction, embed the first three pages of your manuscript in the body of your email. For other kinds of nonfiction, embed the overview of your proposal. Send to . “Don’t be in a hurry to submit. Make sure your material is ready. I always find it reassuring to hear that an author has worked through multiple drafts.”

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