If you’re like most aspiring writers, you’ve probably poured blood, sweat, tears—and yes, a lot of cold hard cash—into writing your first manuscript. But it’s done. It’s over. Against what you felt like were insurmountable odds, you finished a book. You are content, at first, to pat yourself on the back and casually mention to friends and colleagues that your book is finished. But eventually, especially if you live in the Eastern U.S., it’s time to start shopping for literary agents in New York.
As you begin the publishing process, think of your agent as your GPS to help you travel from writer to published author. The world of publishing is vast. It can be jammed with traffic, there will be detours, and yes, sometimes even breakdowns. Literary agents, especially the good ones, know the road intimately.
They will direct you to your destination, but you must pay attention. If you choose a different route than the one suggested, you must face the consequences of your decision. Think of your agent a bit more as a partner. If you’re going to take a partner on this journey with you, it pays to take your time and make sure you choose the best one.
Below are five well-established literary agents in New York for you to consider, along with a brief synopsis of the information found on their websites:
Trident Media Group
Founded in 2000, Trident Media Group is one of the largest and most diverse literary agencies in New York and the world. With a staff of more than 12 agents on hand, Trident Media Group consistently ranks number one for North American sales in Publisher’s Marketplace. The agency works with both published and unpublished authors of fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, YA, Fantasy, and more.
They offer multiple services for authors including books sales, editing, accounting/administration, business affairs/contracts, publishing management, foreign rights and self-publishing.
If you’re searching for another reason as to why literary agents in New York are top-notch, their client list includes New York Times bestselling author, Suzanne Forster, historical suspense writer, William Martin, and healing and spiritual guru, Deepak Chopra.
For more details on how to submit your work to Trident, visit their submissions page and follow guidelines closely.
Founded in 1973 and currently located alongside historic counting houses constructed by William Waldorf and John Jacob Astor III, Writers House is committed to being a new kind of literary agency. Their team of over twenty senior and junior agents combine a passion for managing a writer’s career with an integral understanding of what it takes to weave an engaging story.
They work with writers at all levels in a wide range of genres, covering nonfiction and fiction authors, as well as illustrators. Their client list reads like a who’s who of New York Times bestsellers including V.C. Andrews, Tom Clancy, Elizabeth Hoyt, Stephen Hawking, and the author of the Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer.
Visit their submissions page for more details on how to submit your work to Writers House.
Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency, Inc.
Founded in 1992 in a Chicago apartment, Ann Rittenberg and her agents settled into a new office in Maiden Lane, Manhattan in 2011. With a philosophy of “authors come first”, the Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency works to build careers and nurture author growth.
Their clients include Russian writer, Boris Akunin, who is best known for the historical detective series Erast Fandorin. Others include C.J. Box, the multi-award winning author of the Joe Pickett series.
They don’t represent authors of screenplays, poetry, self-help, or genre fiction, but will work with new writers. For guidelines on how to submit your work visit their answers page.
Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Founded in 1984 with a commitment to provide professional representation for both fiction and nonfiction storytellers, Ethan Ellenberg leads a small team of agents open to new writers and established authors.
Their client list includes authors such as New York Times bestselling author of “The O’Malley Saga” and “Skye’s Legacy”, Bertrice Small, and New York Times bestselling nonfiction writer, James M. Tabor, who wrote “Blind Descent”, and won the National Outdoor Book Award for “Forever on the Mountain”.
While interested in a very wide range of fiction, nonfiction, and literary fiction, they do not represent scholarly work, poetry, short stories, or screenplays. The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency offers agent sponsored e-book publishing services in addition to traditional literary services. Helpful submission guidelines are available here.
Waxman Leavell Literary Agency
Originally founded in 1997, the WLLA was co-founded in 2012 by Waxman and Leavell to bring new and exciting voices to International and American markets. WLLA is a development-oriented firm, specializing in authors with powerful nonfiction and fiction stories.
Led by former HarperCollins editor, Scott Waxman, and Byrd Leavell, formerly of Carlisle & Company/Inkwell Management, this is a team of 8 agents and more than 20 co-agents located around the world. They have a desire to match authors with ideas and connect them to the best possible publisher for their book. Co-agents are available in countries including the UK, France, Brazil, Holland, Korea, Russia, Israel, Taiwan, Poland, Turkey, and Eastern Europe.
Their client list includes Rae Carson, the New York Times bestselling author of “Walk on Earth a Stranger” and its sequel “Like a River Glorious”, Donald Trump’s “Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America, and record-breaking wide receiver and author of “Out of the Blue”, Victor Cruz.
To submit your work, visit their submissions page.
Literary Agents in New York
Keep in mind that there are thousands of literary agents in New York and throughout the country. It’s crucial that you get a literary agent that suits your style and your genre of writing. Spend time reviewing the websites of literary agencies, as well as any available testimonials. If you need additional help to get a literary agent in NY, or one with interests more suitable for your specific book, use a free database such as Agent Query.
To get a literary agent in New York that suits your needs, it’s best to take your time, narrow your list to several literary agents you like and then carefully review their submission guidelines and other details before submitting your work. The road from writer to published author is long and tedious. But like any road trip, it’s well-worth it once you reach your destination.