When it comes to finding a literary agent, especially if you want to write for TV, Los Angeles is a hub of talented agents. If you dream of writing scripts for TV or screenplays for film and you don’t live in the City of Angels, it’s time to pack-up and move. Connections are crucial in this industry, but this is the city to make those connections and to ensure your dreams of literary stardom come to fruition.
Literary agents in Los Angeles are often open to working with new writers. The problem is that it’s much harder for them to earn money because even if you are extremely talented, your first screenplay will only go for between $30,000 and $130,000. And even then, it may take several years to sell it. Since agents typically get 10-13% commission, they’d rather work with established writers who garner more income quickly and require less effort to polish and manage.
Because working with new writers takes so much more work and is not as financially lucrative, if you want to secure one of the literary agents in Los Angeles, you’re going to have to get your ducks in a row and make sure you are ready to be represented.
Literary agents in Los Angeles represent scripted TV writers and reality TV producers as well as screenwriters.
Resources to Find Literary Agents in Los Angeles
Stand Out and Get Noticed
If you’re a new writer determined to attract literary agents in Los Angeles, gather your resources, whatever those may be, and find a way to stand out from the crowd. Write, produce, or publish something and market it well so that literary agents in Los Angeles will sit up and take notice. Self-publish or publish a bestselling book, produce a music video, or rent your local theater and stage an original play. Do what it takes.
Make Friends or Get a Job in the Industry
Selling your writing is always about getting it in front of the right people at the right time, and this is even more true on the West Coast. Now that you’ve moved to Los Angeles get employed in the industry and make as many connections and friends as you can. The more connected you are within the entertainment and publishing industry, the better you look to literary agents in LA.
Below are just a few of the literary agents in LA for your consideration:
Wendy Goldham Rohm of the Rohm Literary Agency. Founded in 2002, this agency looks to represent emerging authors. Wendy Goldham is a New York Times bestselling author and TEDx speaker. She has taught and lectured at many organizations and universities across the globe.
Wendy brings more than two decades of experience on both sides of the publishing desk. Her client list includes representation of media products for clients such as C&A and Dove. Her publishing clients include The Atlantic, Wired Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Random House to name a few. Only exclusive submissions are accepted. Check the website for submission details. You can also read our article on How to Write a Query Letter.
Betsy Amster of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises paid her dues as an editor at Pantheon and Vintage for ten years and then two years at the Globe Pequot Press as an editorial director. According to the Los Angeles Times, Betsy is “a dogged prospector of…literary talent”. She is a frequent speaker for the Emerging Voices Program as well as the Publishing Program of Portland State. Betsy shares her knowledge of the publishing world by teaching at The Lofts and UCLA Extension’s Writers Program.
Besty represents authors in a wide range of genres and topics but does not represent romance, screenplays, westerns, poetry, and fantasy (unless it’s children’s or YA) as well as several other specific categories. To submit a query, review details on the submissions guidelines provided on the submissions page.
Alan Nevins of Renaissance Literary & Talent started his literary career as an employee of well-known Hollywood agent, “Swifty” Lazar. But in 1993, Nevins and two other Hollywood agents co-found Renaissance and acquired backlists from the H.N. Swanson Agency and the Lazar Agency. In 2000, Renaissance in affiliation with Artist Management Group, completed a four-book deal for Tim LaHaye, to the tune of over $40 million dollars.
Renaissance is a full-service agency that assists writers worldwide. The agency represents nonfiction and fiction as well as illustrated books. Their client list oozes talent, including Barbara Sinatra’s memoir Lady Blue Eyes, and Goldie Hawn’s memoir A Lotus Grows in the Mud. Other celebrity clients include Marlee Matlin, Snoop Dogg, Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman, and the motion picture What to Expect When You’re Expecting, starring Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz.
Charlotte Gusay of The Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency founded her agency in 1988 using her knowledge of the industry and a Rolodex filled with her former book patrons at the prestigious George Sands Books in West Hollywood. Known as the “Diane Keaton” of agents, she represents both nonfiction and fiction as well as choice children’s works with potential for the silver screen.
Her clients include Anthony Russell, Jack Mendelsohn, Anne Serling-Sutton, and Annie Reiner (Dove Books) to name a few. Submission guidelines can are available on her website.
The most important thing when choosing literary agents in Los Angeles is to get an agent that suits fits with and believes in your work and your potential. It’s also important to find an agent in LA that has a network of solid industry relationships they can draw upon to get your book in the hands of the right person at just the right time. With these two things, a little talent, and some luck, you’ll be well on your way to getting published.