Jack King A New King of Thrillers

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 an editor who published me. I update the list intermittently, and limit to those agents and editors who might be interested in the type of books I write (under several pennames.) Most agents and editors represent other categories and genres, and their areas of interest change (sometimes frequently).

FOR WRITERS. What I learned over the years: Most agents / editors do not reply to queries. At all. It's a strange world, I know. I worked with some of the most despicable people in the world, truly malignant government slugs (are there any other kind?). Yet, if you wrote to them, they'd write back, if only a form letter. Meanwhile, most agents don't have the courtesy to reply with a simple: "No, thanks", but have the time to tweet dozens of times a day. (There are, of course, stellar exceptions.) Editors are a somewhat different story. In many cases a publishing house's policy barrs editors from considering submissions from writers. Yet, some will. They will ask to see the MSS. 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. 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 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 - keep an eye on those. Furthermore, consider digital-first imprints (all major houses have digital-first imprints); these do not pay advances, but provide professional editing, design, some marketing, and distribution.

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. Google 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).

Be persistent, and do not give up.

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.

Writers and Readers: Email me. For sensitive communication contact me via Proton or Signal or use P2P.

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.

I ignore all offers to buy Amazon reviews.



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