A compiled list of SF/Fantasy agents...

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Nateskate

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Hi everyone. I'm ready for the Shotgun Round of seek-the-agent. I'd written a Grand Fantasy, and previously sent a handful of queries and got some looks. One agent was kind enough to look twice and made some helpful suggestions. After asking a second opinion, I took her advice and made extensive changes to books one and two that seemed to take forever.

If anyone has compiled a list of the best SF/Fantasy agents that accept e-queries, and wouldn't mind pm-ing me with the lists, I'd appreciate it. I think I'm going to go with electronic queries to save time and money.

I know there are places with laundry lists of agents; but at this point if I can find a way to avoid wasting my time and focusing on fishing where the most fish are. I'd appreciate your help and do realize I will stand or fall on the basis of whether my books are worth the reading. Also, if you have a favorite agent- good hearted/fairly good to work with, that would also interest me.

Thanks,

Nate
 

Popeyesays

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Agent Query dot com will do the trick. You can search agents by genre represented. Each agent page tells whether they accept queries and if so by e-mail or not.

Regards,
Scott
 

HorrorWriter

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Nate,
Also, when you go to agentquery dot com, you may want select fantasy from the pull-down list. They have science fiction and fantasy separate on the list, and it will provide a plethora of agent info. As far as "the best" agent, well, that is really subjective; just because you contact an uber agent and receive representation, that does not mean they may necessarily give you the attention you are seeking as a new writer. You need to find the best agent for you!:e2fairy:
 

Nateskate

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HorrorWriter said:
Nate,
Also, when you go to agentquery dot com, you may want select fantasy from the pull-down list. They have science fiction and fantasy separate on the list, and it will provide a plethora of agent info. As far as "the best" agent, well, that is really subjective; just because you contact an uber agent and receive representation, that does not mean they may necessarily give you the attention you are seeking as a new writer. You need to find the best agent for you!:e2fairy:
Thanks for the advice. I know you're right about this and it's the same on down the line, in terms of publishers. I hope to hit the right combo, providing of course I hit any combo- laughs.
 

badducky

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One of the best ways to find your agent is to find out who represents the people who write the books that share your target audience.

Go to your bookshelf, and look in the acknowledgements page. Most will list their agent and their editor.
 

Nateskate

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badducky said:
One of the best ways to find your agent is to find out who represents the people who write the books that share your target audience.

Go to your bookshelf, and look in the acknowledgements page. Most will list their agent and their editor.

This is great advice. I've even gone to B&N to check out the agents of the top tier authors who aren't on my favorites list. It's a shame my two favorite authors and influences are dead- Twain and Tolkien.

More than current fantasies, I have this strange affection for ancient stories- myths, fairy tales...etc.
 

HorrorWriter

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Nate,
Another great place to check out is speculations dot com. Publisher's Marketplace dot com, and Publisher's Lunch. Subscribe for the free newsletter. It gives deals and who made them.
 

waylander

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Hey Jax.
Wasn't there a thread on the Speculations Rumormill with a big list of SF/F agents that you contributed?
 

dragonjax

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waylander said:
Hey Jax.
Wasn't there a thread on the Speculations Rumormill with a big list of SF/F agents that you contributed?

Yes indeed. But now that's sadly out of date.

The best tool, in my opinion, is agentquery.com in combination with other sources. Here's what I would do:

1. Go to http://www.agentquery.com and do a search specific for agents who represent fantasy -- and I'd further tailor this list to see who reps my particular sub-genre of fantasy. Then I'd prune this list according to who is accepting new clients.

2. Once I have that list, I'd go to Publishers Marketplace and find out what those agents' recent sales have been. NOTE: Not all agents report their sales (mine doesn't; I reported the sale, with his blessing). But this is still a good sampling of whether the agents are really concentrating on your genre or not.

3. Next stop: Preditors & Editors. Any "not recommended" tags? If so, cross those names off the list. Period. Don't try to talk yourself into querying them "just in case." They're not recommended for a reason.

4. And next: Beware and Background Check here, and Writer Beware at SFWA. Hey, just because they're not "not recommended" doesn't mean they're decent agents. ANY yahoo could hang an "agent" sign up and claim to be a literary agent. Hell, I could claim to be an agent.

5. Then I'd Google the hell out of the remaining names, find out who some of their better-known clients are and sniff out any obvious dirt.

6. Next, I'd ask my author buddies if they have any feedback on the remaining names: personal experiences, especially.

7. And then, finally, I'd send out my killer query to those remaining on my list.
 

Nateskate

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dragonjax said:
Yes indeed. But now that's sadly out of date.

The best tool, in my opinion, is agentquery.com in combination with other sources. Here's what I would do:

1. Go to http://www.agentquery.com and do a search specific for agents who represent fantasy -- and I'd further tailor this list to see who reps my particular sub-genre of fantasy. Then I'd prune this list according to who is accepting new clients.

2. Once I have that list, I'd go to Publishers Marketplace and find out what those agents' recent sales have been. NOTE: Not all agents report their sales (mine doesn't; I reported the sale, with his blessing). But this is still a good sampling of whether the agents are really concentrating on your genre or not.

3. Next stop: Preditors & Editors. Any "not recommended" tags? If so, cross those names off the list. Period. Don't try to talk yourself into querying them "just in case." They're not recommended for a reason.

4. And next: Beware and Background Check here, and Writer Beware at SFWA. Hey, just because they're not "not recommended" doesn't mean they're decent agents. ANY yahoo could hang an "agent" sign up and claim to be a literary agent. Hell, I could claim to be an agent.

5. Then I'd Google the hell out of the remaining names, find out who some of their better-known clients are and sniff out any obvious dirt.

6. Next, I'd ask my author buddies if they have any feedback on the remaining names: personal experiences, especially.

7. And then, finally, I'd send out my killer query to those remaining on my list.

That's awesome advice. Thanks for putting in so much time on this. A can't go wrong system!

Nate
 

badducky

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One thing that cannot be said enough: be sure your book is good enough.

I know we all think our book is good. But, is it, really?

Don't stop editing just because you've started querying.
 

dragonjax

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badducky said:
Don't stop editing just because you've started querying.

Ducky, I have to disagree with you here. Once it's out, I wouldn't touch it. There is such a thing as too much nitpicking. But that's just me.
 

badducky

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Well, I would keep copies of the draft you sent out aside, in case someone picks it up.

Nothing worse than getting accepted and then confessing to being in major rewrites.
 

DraperJC

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This list is two years old but it's the best I've got. It was originally compiled by Brady Boyd over at writers.net. You'll have to double check it all.

Fantasy Agents


Appleseeds Management
Ashley Grayson Literary Agency: Dan Hooker
Curtis Brown: Ellen Geiger
Donald Maass: Jennifer Jackson, Rachel Vater
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management: Jane Dystel
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Frances Collin Literary Agent
Graybill & English: Jeff Kleinman
JABberwocky Literary Agency
Kristin Nelson Literary Agency
L. Perkins Associates
Literary & Creative Artists: Muriel Nellis
Lynn Seligman, Literary Agent
Pinder Lane & Garon-Brooke Associates: Robert Thixton
Ralph Vicinanza
Ray Lincoln Literary Agent: Mrs. Ray Lincoln
Richard Henshaw Group
Rodney Pelter
Scovil Chichak & Galen: Russell Galen
Spectrum: Lucienne Diver
Sternig & Byrne: Jack Byrne
Susan Herner Rights Agency
The Evan Marshall Agency
The Gislason Agency: Deborah Sweeney
The McCarthy Agency
The Peter Rubie Literary Agency
The Zack Company
Trident Media: Scott Miller
Virginia Kidd Agency: Linn Prentis
William Morris Agency: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh
Writers House: Merrilee Heifetz, Ginger Clark

A couple of updates:
Richard Curtis is still closed to fiction submissions
Moses Cardosa from John Hawkins is no longer considering fantasy
Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber is no longer considering fantasy
BR Fleury is closed to new queries
Cherry Weiner Literary Agency is closed to new queries
Larsen Pomada may be closed to fantasy; have not received confirmation
Lazear Agency's e-mail address is not valid (e-mail bouced)
James Frenkel's e-mail address is not valid (e-mail bounced)
Barbara Bova: You can try sending fantasy (I did), but the agency reps science fiction

More agents


Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House
Ginger Clark, Writers House
Nanci McCloskey, Virginia Kidd Agency
Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Literary Agency
Matthew Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates
Cherry Weiner, Cherry Weiner Literary Agency
Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency
David Duperre, Sedgeband Literary Associates
Richard Henshaw, Richard Henshaw Group
S.A. Martin, Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency
Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
Susan Herner, Susan Herner Rights Agency
James Frenkel & Associates
Lynn Seligman, Literary Agent
Ray Lincoln, Ray Lincoln Literary Agency
Frances Collin, Frances Collin Literary Agency
Literary Department Coordinator, William Morris Agency
Maria Carvainis, Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.
Dick Duane, Pinder Lane & Garon-Brooke Associates
Michael Larsen, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency
William Reiss, John Hawkins & Associates
Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency
Barbara Gislason, The Gislason Agency
Jack Byrne, Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency
Irene Webb, Irene Webb Literary
Start here…
Muriel Nellis, Literary & Creative Artists
Martha Millard, Martha Millard Literary Agency
James Vines, The Vines Agency
Shawna McCarthy, The McCarthy Agency
Scott Miller, Trident Media Group
David Robie, BigScore Productions
Continue here
Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary Services
Ralph Vicinanza, The Ralph Vicinanza Agency
Peter Rubie, The Peter Rubie Literary Agency
Lori Perkins, L. Perkins Associates
Fifi Oscard, Fifi Oscard Agency
Evan Marshall, The Evan Marshall Agency
Metropol Literary
Whitney Lee, The Fielding Agency
Jonathon Lazear, The Lazear Agency
Ashley Grayson, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency
Elaine English, Graybill & English
Russell Galen, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency
Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary Agency
Lucienne Diver, Spectrum Literary Agency
Janet Benrey, Hartline Literary Agency
And here
Dee Mura, Dee Mura Literary
Kimberley Cameron, Reece Halsey North
Frank Weimann, The Literary Group
Marcia Amsterdam, Marcia Amsterdam Agency
B.R. Fleury Agency
Emilie Jacobson, Curtis Brown
Helen McGrath, Helen McGrath & Associates
Meredith Bernstein, Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency
Shana Cohen, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency
Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency
Jean Naggar, Jean V. Naggar Litterary Agency
Andrew Zack, The Zack Company
Tina Dubois, ICM
Miriam Goderich, Dystell Goderich Literary Management
 

waylander

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Gina Panettieri has moved away from F/SF and James Vines has closed his agency
 

dragonjax

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Thanks, DraperJC. More updates to that list:

Jeff Kleinman is now at Folio.
Rachel Vater is now at, I believe, Lowenstein Yost.
Linn Prentiss, I believe, is on her own now.
Ginger Clark is elsewhere, too -- Curtis Brown, I think.
Marlene Stringer at Barbara Bova is interested in paranormal romance and urban fantasy.
I think James Frenkel is now an editor at Tor.
If Cherry Weiner is interested in your query, she will contact you -- can't hurt to send (but I think she's snail mail only)
 

Nateskate

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dragonjax said:
Ducky, I have to disagree with you here. Once it's out, I wouldn't touch it. There is such a thing as too much nitpicking. But that's just me.

I do appreciate the wisdom of what you are saying. Let me tell you the saga of this story. I had wide open doors to be a published writer. However, I had this burning desire to write a novel. I've walked away from what were golden opportunities, people who had the power to make it happen. In a sense, you'd say I had a different dream. I actually had two Book of the month club owners promise to distribute my books if I'd published them. I also had a door to promote the books before large audiences, and I turned and went in this different direction.

One of the issues I'm facing is time. When I first started my story it was a hobby for friends to read and I had no initial thoughts of publishing a novel. But people that were reading it kept pushing me to publish. Then as I wrote it became deeper, and more about all life, pouring myself into this.

Instead of doing the smart thing, doing one book and sending to a publisher, I wrote out the entire series which took years, just to make sure I could make the whole thing work. The frame story was actually very good. The prose and such lacked. But people liked it.

Now, people were telling me to ship this as is to publish, but I knew it needed major edits and that took years.

Crazy as this was, some things weren't working for me. I had this Lord of the Rings sized book, then realized there was too much back story, and decided to write my Silmarillion and release it in order- Nuts. Absolutely insane way to go about things.

Writing a creation story without copying a creation story is very difficult. Well, I finally finished it. Someone read book one and loved it. So I did a query to an agent, she asked to see a partial, then asked to see a re-write with a quicker paced beginning. In the end she gave some compliments and said it wasn't for them. They weren't a fantasy dealership by the way.

All the same, her comments made me question whether to keep trying or get a second opinion. I got a second opinion, and wound up re-writing books one and two- my hopefully readable accounts that sets up the ultimate series. (Which I now have to edit)

Okay, I've almost got as much time invested in this that Tolkien had in LOTR, which is more than any -working for a living- person should ever have.

So, I figure at this point to try the waters. If I keep getting rejections to the point I realize I'm not a novelist, then well, I've wasted enough years.

I have no doubt it's a great story. I told the story to one famous person and she offered to connect me with a script writer friend with three Academy Awards. She loved the story as I told it and thought it would make a great movie. However the point is "Am I a good enough writer to make it translate into a well written book?" That's my goal, my dream. But it's also my bane at the moment because it's drained me.

Honestly, if I don't get published, I've concluded it isn't going to be because I didn't get a fair chance; it will be because I stink at writing novels.

Still, I thank you for what really is great advice.

N Marion
 

Nateskate

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DraperJC said:
This list is two years old but it's the best I've got. It was originally compiled by Brady Boyd over at writers.net. You'll have to double check it all.

Fantasy Agents


Appleseeds Management
Ashley Grayson Literary Agency: Dan Hooker
Curtis Brown: Ellen Geiger
Donald Maass: Jennifer Jackson, Rachel Vater
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management: Jane Dystel
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Frances Collin Literary Agent
Graybill & English: Jeff Kleinman
JABberwocky Literary Agency
Kristin Nelson Literary Agency
L. Perkins Associates
Literary & Creative Artists: Muriel Nellis
Lynn Seligman, Literary Agent
Pinder Lane & Garon-Brooke Associates: Robert Thixton
Ralph Vicinanza
Ray Lincoln Literary Agent: Mrs. Ray Lincoln
Richard Henshaw Group
Rodney Pelter
Scovil Chichak & Galen: Russell Galen
Spectrum: Lucienne Diver
Sternig & Byrne: Jack Byrne
Susan Herner Rights Agency
The Evan Marshall Agency
The Gislason Agency: Deborah Sweeney
The McCarthy Agency
The Peter Rubie Literary Agency
The Zack Company
Trident Media: Scott Miller
Virginia Kidd Agency: Linn Prentis
William Morris Agency: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh
Writers House: Merrilee Heifetz, Ginger Clark

A couple of updates:
Richard Curtis is still closed to fiction submissions
Moses Cardosa from John Hawkins is no longer considering fantasy
Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber is no longer considering fantasy
BR Fleury is closed to new queries
Cherry Weiner Literary Agency is closed to new queries
Larsen Pomada may be closed to fantasy; have not received confirmation
Lazear Agency's e-mail address is not valid (e-mail bouced)
James Frenkel's e-mail address is not valid (e-mail bounced)
Barbara Bova: You can try sending fantasy (I did), but the agency reps science fiction

More agents


Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House
Ginger Clark, Writers House
Nanci McCloskey, Virginia Kidd Agency
Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Literary Agency
Matthew Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates
Cherry Weiner, Cherry Weiner Literary Agency
Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency
David Duperre, Sedgeband Literary Associates
Richard Henshaw, Richard Henshaw Group
S.A. Martin, Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency
Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
Susan Herner, Susan Herner Rights Agency
James Frenkel & Associates
Lynn Seligman, Literary Agent
Ray Lincoln, Ray Lincoln Literary Agency
Frances Collin, Frances Collin Literary Agency
Literary Department Coordinator, William Morris Agency
Maria Carvainis, Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc.
Dick Duane, Pinder Lane & Garon-Brooke Associates
Michael Larsen, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency
William Reiss, John Hawkins & Associates
Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency
Barbara Gislason, The Gislason Agency
Jack Byrne, Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency
Irene Webb, Irene Webb Literary
Start here…
Muriel Nellis, Literary & Creative Artists
Martha Millard, Martha Millard Literary Agency
James Vines, The Vines Agency
Shawna McCarthy, The McCarthy Agency
Scott Miller, Trident Media Group
David Robie, BigScore Productions
Continue here
Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary Services
Ralph Vicinanza, The Ralph Vicinanza Agency
Peter Rubie, The Peter Rubie Literary Agency
Lori Perkins, L. Perkins Associates
Fifi Oscard, Fifi Oscard Agency
Evan Marshall, The Evan Marshall Agency
Metropol Literary
Whitney Lee, The Fielding Agency
Jonathon Lazear, The Lazear Agency
Ashley Grayson, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency
Elaine English, Graybill & English
Russell Galen, Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency
Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary Agency
Lucienne Diver, Spectrum Literary Agency
Janet Benrey, Hartline Literary Agency
And here
Dee Mura, Dee Mura Literary
Kimberley Cameron, Reece Halsey North
Frank Weimann, The Literary Group
Marcia Amsterdam, Marcia Amsterdam Agency
B.R. Fleury Agency
Emilie Jacobson, Curtis Brown
Helen McGrath, Helen McGrath & Associates
Meredith Bernstein, Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency
Shana Cohen, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency
Jane Chelius, Jane Chelius Literary Agency
Jean Naggar, Jean V. Naggar Litterary Agency
Andrew Zack, The Zack Company
Tina Dubois, ICM
Miriam Goderich, Dystell Goderich Literary Management

I just have to thank you for compiling such a list. You deserve a handclap at minimum.
 

dragonjax

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The Lazear Agency - info

From 2004:
The Lazear Agency was formed in the mid-'80s when Jonathan Lazear and his wife, Wendy, left their positions at New York publishing houses to move to Minneapolis and work with famed rehab center Hazelden to launch a series of successful recovery books. "That ran its course," recalls agent Christi Cardenas, "but in the time that they spent here, [the Lazears] realized that there were indeed literary possibilities west of the Potomac." The husband-and-wife team began working with local clients, like comedian Louie Anderson and business writer Harvey McKay, and they found almost immediate success. The agency soon grew to nearly 15 people, and they began making deals that went beyond the literary realm—deals with computer game tie-ins or with more corporate clients, such as Pillsbury, Merrill Lynch, and the Scripps network. In fact, Cardenas, who came to agenting from a banking background at Norwest Equity, was originally hired to help Lazear parse the unfamiliar corporate culture of his new clients.

At the agency's core, however, was a strong literary bent, and the agents eventually decided that smaller might be better. "We enjoyed the luxury of really working with clients that we like," says Cardenas. "Although it might sound great to say you have 50 people on active submission, most people want to have a more personal approach." So at the end of the 1990s, the agency scaled back and moved to the quiet Minneapolis-St. Paul bedroom community of Hudson, Wisconsin. Cardenas explains: "We said, 'Let's look at where are core strengths are, let's not try to do too much, and let's continue to work with those we like and keep the agents here that have the strong client relationships.'"

These days, the three primary agents are Lazear, Cardenas—who still handles many of the agency's financial responsibilities but maintains a large client list of her own—and Julie Mayo. "Julie Mayo is a dynamo," Cardenas says. "She walked in our door and we knew we had to hire her. She has a keen knack for spotting trends, and she's just a natural for this business. Plus, she has the sales mentality, because at the end of the day, that's really what we are. We're relationship-builders and we're salespeople."

Part of the agency's new mission included reinstating the New York office, so Lazear now works out of Manhattan and his wife, whose involvement with the agency is now much diminished, is an editor at Houghton Mifflin. "There's a lot of great new editors out there who are acquiring," Cardenas says—and though the Lazears grew up with people who are now at the top of the publishing biz, the agency is interested in making new connections as well. To prospective clients looking to submit to The Lazear Agency, Cardenas says: "We are an eclectic agency that has done well in the Midwest. We've been under the radar for a long time and it's worked well for us. Now that we've reinstated our New York office, it's more important than ever to let people know what we're doing, who we are, where we are, and where you actually send things—New York or this quirky town of Hudson, Wisconsin?"

Who to pitch: The answer to that last questions is: send your queries to the home office in Wisconsin. The agents operate in what they call a "pluralistic" way, and they will make sure appropriate queries find their way to Lazear in New York. Queries that come in are seen first by the agency's reader, Anne Blackstone, and anything that gets past that first filter is discussed by the agents as a group and then divided among them. Cardenas explains that it's hard to qualify the agent's preferences and peccadilloes (one exception: the agents, whose lists currently skew male, are trying to cultivate more women writers). But generally, Cardenas says, "If you're a great writer and you weave a great tale, or you put together a theory or philosophy or a commentary well, we're going to be engaged with that because we all love good writing." In fact, she says, part of the reason the agency keeps itself small is so they can afford to have great writers: "There's a difference between trying to find something that will sell and being attracted to things that are really great writing." She cites client Michael Keith, author of The Next Better Place, as a great example of this. Keith's childhood memoir, which Cardenas loved, was sent to 45 houses before it found a home at Algonquin. "Was it really going to be a huge commercial success?" she asks. "You hope so, but that's not why we took it on."

But don't be fooled into thinking the agents favor style over substance. The Lazear Agency, which represents a number of NPR hosts and commentators as well as the ubiquitous Al Franken, is known for its history of social commentary, and it's looking to continue that tradition. "We're definitely looking for people who have something to say," says Cardenas. The firm also has a strong presence in the business market.

In terms of fiction, the agents represent some literary YA and they're looking to increase their commercial and literary adult fiction lists. The agents take on some children's books, but "we have to be so bowled over by it to take it on," says Cardenas. "It's only 5 percent of what we do. There are agencies that really specialize in children's lit. The likelihood that we'll take on a children's book is slim, although when we do, they end up being highly successful because we take on so few."

What not to pitch: No romance, no horror.

Etiquette: Queries have recently begun coming in by email, but the agencies prefer the old-fashioned mail route—a "two to three page query with a self-addressed stamped envelope," Cardenas clarifies. She explains that mail queries have the advantage of not being grouped with the rest of the day's email and therefore may merit a closer read. The ideal query, addressed to the Lazear editorial board or to Anne Blackstone, explains your idea and includes any writing credits and biographical information. But most important, says Cardenas, the query must sell your project: "The query letter is the most important, hardest thing to write. If you can't write a query letter, you probably can't write a full-blown manuscript." Don't include the work itself—if the agents are interested, they'll request a longer proposal or the first few chapters of your manuscript. If the agents really love the idea, response might be immediate—and often by email—but typically you can expect a response within three weeks. If you haven't heard by then, feel free to follow up.

Contract: Standard 15 percent on domestic sales. 20 percent on foreign.

Contact info:
The Lazear Agency
431 2nd Street, Suite 300
Hudson, Wisconsin 54016
[email protected]
 

badducky

No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe.
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The list is only a very raw beginning to your research.

However, isn't it nice to know you can really get a lot of rejections before you give up.

Thus, you can probably complete a whole new book by the time you get through the list.
 

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