Jack King A New King of Thrillers

ditch the agent

Targeted Directory of literary agents and editors of commercial fiction


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spywriter See what it took to publish my first novel spywriter

Welcome to my personal list of literary agents and publishers / editors who acquire commercial fiction (literary and genre for adults). The list helped me find a literary agent who robbed me, and editors who published me. While the list is limited to agents and editors who represent / publish the type of books I write (under various pen-names), most agents and editors represent a broad range of categories and genres, and age groups, and their areas of interest change (sometimes frequently).

NOTE: I do not endorse any Agents, Agencies, Editors or Publishers listed here. Always research before submitting any material.

Who are the best literary agents in Canada, the UK, and the USA? Who are the worst literary agents? How to find publishers / editors in Canada, the UK, and the USA? Where to submit a manuscript? Who has open submissions?

FOR WRITERS. Welcome to the culture of silence: Most agents / editors do not reply to queries. At all. It's a strange world, I know. I worked with top VIPs, some of the most despicable scumbags in the world, as well as truly malignant government slugs (are there any other kind?). Yet, if you wrote to them, they'd write back, if only a form letter. Most agents don't have the courtesy to reply with a simple: "No, thanks", but they can tweet dozens of times a day, and have the audacity to demand a "professional courtesy" to be informed of any offers received elsewhere, while telling they won't bother to reply if not interested. There are, of course, stellar exceptions.

Editors are a somewhat different story. In many cases publishing houses barr editors from considering submissions directly from writers. Yet, some will. They will ask to see the manuscript. If they like it, they will purchase directly, or suggest an agent. It depends how high you aim. An assistant editor might be too low on the company ladder, whereas an executive might bend the rules. That's how I became a published author in the first place. Target properly (ie: do not bother a children's stories editor with gory adult horrors), but do not be too fixated on a particular genre either. Most agents and editors look for a variety of books, and the definitions aren't always chiselled in stone. For example, take one of my latest novels: One editor thought it was too commercial for her list, another called it strictly literary, while a third one bought it because she thought it was all of the above...

Editors most likely to respond to queries / request a manuscript, in the following order: 1. Acquiring / commissioning editor; 2. Managing editor; 3. Associate editor; 4. Executive editor; 5. Assistant editor.

Some imprints (including those within the Big 5) open to submissions periodically or year-round. All the Big 5 have digital-first imprints, these do not pay advances, but provide professional editing, design, some marketing, distribution, and may lead to a paper edition from a sister imprint.

Keep in mind that agenting / publishing is a dynamic business. Agent / Editor requirements change. Agents and Editors move, merge, split, or pull out more frequently than I can keep track of. Agents become editors, and editors turn to agenting, some of them flip back and forth frequently. Search their names and check individual interests before approaching. Verify all information before sumitting any material (for instance: some agencies close, and their URLs are taken over by shady entities).

Note that "having" a literary agent does not guarantee publication. Agents, too, get to taste what they serve up to writers: ghosting from editors they query. They might take years to find a publisher, or they might not find one at all...

Finally, see what it took to publish my first novel. The experience holds true with each new penname.

FOR AGENTS / EDITORS: All information comes from open sources: Google, blogs, testimonials, authors' websites, agency news, industry publications, writers' conferences, etc. I am not the source. Email me directly if you want something updated / corrected.

WRITERS, please note I cannot read unpublished manuscripts.

EVERYBODY: I do not use "social" media (incl. facebook, twitter, blogs, goodreads, linkedin, etc.) regardless of any accounts I may have opened, and will not receive any communication this way. Email me directly. For sensitive communication contact me via Proton or Signal and be sure to use a quality VPN, or TOR service.

Last, but not least: I ignore offers to buy Amazon reviews.


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