Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Six literary agents who represent short story collections (and many other things: literary and commercial fiction, MG and YA fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, etc )

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It’s difficult finding agents who represent short story collections, because there’s not much money in short stories. But I’ve uncovered half a dozen agents who are seeking short stories and who are currently accepting submissions:

Chad Luibl of Janklow and Nesbit. This is a large firm with many well-known authors. Chad Luibl is an assistant there, very low on the totem pole. But that’s okay; it means he needs clients. 
He says: “I tend to lean more toward darker tales and gritty settings, culture-crossing perspectives, structures that are a bit experimental (see David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas), and always narratives with a strong emotional core. Having lived in Poland and Hungary, I have a niche-interest in books that feel Eastern European in voice/perspective (or explore post-Soviet and Cold War themes), and I find anything that deals with exile and expatriation immediately arresting.”
Specifically, he’s seeking : Commercial and literary fiction, horror, fantasy and, science fiction, crime fiction, mysteries, thrillers, LGBTQ, and military fiction. plus middle grade and young adult fiction. His favourite sub-genres: magical realism, military, southern literary, speculative fiction, and westerns.
In nonfiction, he’s looking for humor, LGBTQ, memoir, pop culture, sports, travel and true crime.
Query Chad at:
Include the word “Query” in the subject line. Send your query letter, a synopsis and the first fifty pages of your manuscript attached as a word document. 

Katie Grimm of Don Congdon Associates: This is a prominent well-established agency that’s been around since 1938. They represented Ray Bradbury (author of Farenheit 451 among other well-known science fiction books) and currently represent such well-known authors as David Sedaris (Theft by Finding) and Kathryn Stocket (The Help)
Katie joined Don Congdo Assoiciates in 2007. She represents literary fiction (be it voicey, historical, speculative, or mysterious), up-market women’s fiction, cohesive short story collections, and graphic novels.
The key is “cohesive” collections of stories – there needs to be something strong holding them together.
Katie says: “Most generally, I focus on adult literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, middle grade, and young adult fiction.  Across all genres and ages, I’ll always be interested in the darker and weirder side of the human condition as well as previously under- or misrepresented experiences and voices.”
Query Katie at:
Include the word “Query” and the agent’s full name in your subject heading. As always in a query, include a short description of your work and your relevant background information and must all fit easily on one page. Also paste the first story of your collection into the email. No attachments.
Full submission guidelines here.

Christopher Rhodes has been involved in the publishing business and agenting for years, but only recently joined The Stuart Agency. Prior to that, he was an agent at The James Fitzgerald Agency. Previous to that, he worked at The Carol Mann Agency and in the sales and marketing departments at Simon and Schuster.
Christopher specializes in literary fiction and nonfiction. He’s actively seeking queries in the following areas: literary fiction (including thriller and horror); connected stories/essays (humorous and serious); memoir; creative/narrative nonfiction; history; religion; pop culture; and art & design. 
“What would I dearly like to see right now?” says Christopher. “Horror. I really want to read and advocate for a smart and literary horror novel. I don’t get many submissions in this area.” 
You can read an interview with Christopher here.
Query Christopher at:
For fiction, include the first 50 pages; for nonfiction, include a proposal. A Word document or a PDF is fine.

Waverly Place Literary Agency. This is a one-woman outfit for literary agent Debbie Carter. 
Update: Hey, Brian. As of fall 2018, I stopped working as a literary agent. I'll continue to read new writers of short fiction and talk it up with others I meet at NYC book events, but I'm not scouting for new talent. If you're a new writer, don't give up - keep going. Become a good public speaker and do something meaningful in media. Name recognition has a lot to do with getting published. 

Sarah Yake has been with Frances Collin Literary Agency since 2005 and handles foreign and subrights in addition to her own client list.
“A quirky, interesting voice is my number one consideration,” says Sarah. “I love a touch of humor, whether overt or sly. My reading tastes are wide-ranging and my goal is to keep building a similarly diverse, multi-genre list.”
Specifically, in fiction, she’s looking for action/adventure, commercial, fantasy, general fiction, historical, literary, science fiction, women’s fiction and short story collections.
She also seeks middle grade and young adult fiction.
In nonfiction, she’s looking for biography, history, LGBTQ, memoir, and pop culture.
See more at Manuscript Wish List here and at Publishers Marketplace here.
Query Sarah at:
Paste the first five pages of your manuscript into the email. No attachments.
Full submission guidelines here.

Renée Zuckerbrot founded the Renée Zuckerbrot Literary Agency after working as an editor at Doubleday and Franklin Square Press/Harper’s Magazine. She is a member of the AAR and Authors Guild. She serves on PEN’s Membership Committee, and is a Board member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) and Slice Magazine. You can read an interview with Renée and her colleagues at Poets & Writers. See her top ten list of short stories at Storyville.
Authors represented by Renée have won or been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld Prize for Biography, the National Magazine Award, the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, B&N’s Discover Great New Writers Award, the Story Prize, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Locus, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Pushcart, and others.
Renée’s own boutique agency, seems to be part of Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agency, which means she has the backing of a much larger agency.
Renée is seeking literary and commercial adult fiction and narrative nonfiction, with a particular focus on science, history, and popular culture.
Query Renée at:
Include a synopsis of your project, your publication history (if any), a brief bio, and your contact information. Please also attach an excerpt, up to three sample chapters (or three short stories), as one Word document. The attachment should be paginated and double-spaced.

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Navigation tips: Always check out the labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. Also, if you're searching for a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.


  1. As of fall 2018, I stopped working as a literary agent. I'll continue to read new writers of short fiction and talk it up with others I meet at NYC book events but I'm not scouting for new talent. If you're a new writer, don't give up--keep going. Become a good public speaker and do something meaningful in media. Name recognition has a lot to do with getting published.

    1. I am a disabled writer of fiction--a book of short stories and two novels. I am also legally blind. What do you suggest by "doing something in media?" Thank you

      JC OConnell


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