Literary Agents

Best Literary Agents

Someone must have said that a great literary agent is worth their weight in gold. The literary agents who have been guests on Joy on Paper are passionate about books and about helping authors build their careers. Enjoy these interviews.

New York City -- the heart of the publishing world -- is magical.

There is an old Edye Gorme song that I play for literary agents...

"Sincerely yours,"

Irene Goodman

First Guest on Joy on Paper

"The first day of Joy on Paper was March 17, 2015. It was a very lucky day for me -- it was a Tuesday, it was St. Patrick's Day, and  Irene Goodman was my very first guest.  I was so excited and nervous, but once I started chatting with Irene it was like talking to an old friend. I am forever grateful to her. Her passion for books and her goal to help authors build long careers has been an inspiration to me." -PatZi (with a Z!)

Dreams really CAN come true.

Professional Critique

Want to know how a professional literary agent will view your work? Each month Irene Goodman auctions a detailed critique. This is your chance to get professional feedback from an agent who has built many bestselling careers. It is also a perfect gift for any budding writer in your life. All money goes to charity.  Click on icon.

Literary Agents who have been guests on Joy on Paper

In alphabetical order - click photo to go to agent's website

Regina Brooks - Serendipity Literary Agency (Founder)


Regina Brooks has created a dynamic literary agency, Serendipity Literary Agency, that represents a select list of authors and illustrators.  With her generous spirit and her love for helping discover and nourish new talent, Regina created an annual YA Discovery Contest that gives writers an opportunity to submit their work without a query letter. 

She has written two great books for writers: You Should Really Write a Book: How to Write, Sell and Market Your Memoir and Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Getting Published.

Andrea Brown - Andrea Brown Literary Agency (Founder)


Andrea Brown founded her agency in 1981 and is known as a powerhouse in the business. Her agency specializes in children's literature. They represent both authors and illustrators.

Her agency also runs the famous Big Sur Childrens Workshops which are designed to help up-and-coming writers learn how to improve their writing.  Workshops are always a great place to make connections and at Big Sur workshops new writers have the opportunity to work with editors from top publishing houses and with successful authors. It is the perfect place to make learn and to make friends. If you are writing for young people, you really should attend one of Angela's workshops.

John Cusick - Folio Jr.

Date: 03-31-2016

John represents  a diverse list young adult and middle grade, as well as a select list of author-illustrators. Many of his authors are award winners and NYT bestsellers. 

 Folio Jr. is devoted exclusively to the representation of today's stellar children's book authors and artists. 

Mark Gottlieb - Trident Media Group

Date -03-30-2017

It was so much fun to talk to Mark, who is ranked #1 among Agents on Publishers Marketplace in Overall Deals. He's so enthusiastic in his goal to find great authors. He enjoys working with authors to manage and build their careers. He represents many NYT bestselling authors and has also negotiated major  TV and film deals. Mark is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres. Make sure you follow his guidelines!

Miriam Kriss - Irene Goodman Literary Agency

Date: 04-26-2016

Miriam is so impressive. She has eclectic tastes and is open to everything from romance to science fictions to thrillers. Her passion for a good story and authors who have found their voice has led to six-figure deals for first time authors. 

Donald Maass - Donald Maass Literary Agency (Founder)

Date: 05-06-2016

In 1980 Donald Maass founded his agency, which sells over 150 novels a year to major publishers.  

A prolific writer, Donald Maass has written a half dozen books to help writers find their voice. His "Break Out Novelist" Workshops are an excellent way for an author to learn methods for upping the ante in every aspect of your novel writing. How can you capture the eye of an agent? You will enjoy listening to Don -- he is so enthusiastic about helping authors lay the foundation for a long and successful career.

Barbara Poelle - Irene Goodman Literary Agency

Date: 11-15-2016

Barbara is a favorite with listeners on Joy on Paper. Always looking for an author with a unique voice -- whether thrillers, YA or upmarket fiction -- she is always excited to do deals that help a client become an 'instant NYT bestselling' author. 

Barbara's advice for writing a great query letter, "Think: The Hook, the Book, the Cook!

Gordon Warnock - Fuse Literary (Founding Partner)

Date: 07-11-2017

Gordon Warnock is a founding partner at Fuse Literary, serving as a literary agent and Editorial Director of Short Fuse Publishing.

He is always looking for projects that will inspire him -- books that are socially-responsible or illuminate common issues in new ways. I love books with strong charity tie-ins and celebrities coming together to promote a good cause on a large scale. 

With a zest for fresh, new voices and a deep love of the classics, Gordon actively seeks out both the timely and the timeless. He likes cook books -- with a tasty tie-in to something bigger. 

Lane Zachary - Aevita (Senior Partner)

Date: 05-01-2015

Lane is a Senior Partner at Aevita, It was fun to talk her about book auctions and about how she represented the sale of Louisa Mae Alcott's long forgotten book: A Long Fatal Love Chase.

She resents fiction, memoir, biography, women’s issue books, history, race, and current affairs. She is interested in books with stunning prose that have the capacity to change the world.


Before you PRESS SEND....stop!

You're about to send you QUERY LETTER - but before you press send, stop and think. Have you followed the Rules for Submissions that the agent has given on their website? Have you followed the rules exactly? 

Sometimes one likes to think that there is leeway. After all, we are creative people. We like to think that perhaps if we do something different -- something original -- an agent will be impressed. One author who was on Joy on Paper does swear that she wrote a query letter with just one sentence -- and it got her a book deal. (Hmmmm...what could it be? I am your long lost daughter. I will pay you a million dollars. My husband is your boyfriend. The possibilities are intriguing. Oui? ) 

Unfortunately, it won't really work. There are standards that you MUST follow. Literary agents get hundreds of queries every week. They simply don't have a lot of time. So don't try to be silly or shocking. If an agent wants 5 pages, send 5 pages. If they want 10 pages, send 10 pages. If they want a synopsis, then send one.  

Click on the photos of the agents to go to their websites. Good Luck!!!

Still in doubt? Read this advice about how to write a perfect query letter:

Irene Goodman's The Perfect Query Letter 

Read to Learn

From Donald Maas

Read to Learn

From Donald Maass

Read to Learn

From Regina Brown

Read to Learn

From Stephen King

Read to Learn

From Lawrence Block

From Barbara Poelle...

"The Hook"
"The Book"
"The Cook"
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Read to Learn

From Lawrence Block

Read to Learn

From Regina Brooks

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