Jack King A New King of Thrillers

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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 / commercial, and / or genre for adults. The list helped me find a literary agent who robbed me, and editors who published my books (under various pennames). Most agents and editors represent / acquire 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.

What can you expect? Ghosting, a culture of silent contempt: 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 public servants in the world and 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 they can tweet dozens of times a day, and have the audacity to demand on their website a "professional courtesy" to be informed of any offers received elsewhere. Editors are a somewhat different story. In many cases a publishing house's policy forbids editors from considering direct queries and submissions from writers. Yet, many 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.

Should you query editors directly? Editors are hungry for manuscripts they don't receive from agents. I had a long chat with an editor from one of the Big 5. We got together after the San Miguel de Allende writers' conference, just before the pandemic. She was fuming about her employer, telling how she was ready to quit because the House did not allow her to request manuscripts from querying writers, while agents weren't submitting what she wanted. Then she found a way around the trap: She privately visits conferences, such the one in San Miguel de Allende, and leaves with a stack of manuscripts in her suitcase... In short: your goal, as a writer seeking publication, is to submit your manuscript, and querying editors broadens opportunities.

Target properly (ie: do not bother a children's stories editor with gory adult horrors), but do not be overly fixated on a particular genre either. Most agents and editors look for a variety of books, and the definitions aren't always chiseled 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, and a third one bought it because it was all of the above...

Editors most likely to respond to queries / request a manuscript: 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 unsolicited, unagented submissions periodically or year-round. In addition, 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 submitting 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. An agent might take years to find a publisher, or she might not find one at all.

Either way, always hire an intellectual property attorney before signing a publishing agreement. You might even want to consult an IP attorney before signing with an agency. Agents' interests do not necessarily coincide with yours when they sign you on, or negotiate a deal, ie: "Perpetual" clauses, etc., etc.

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


All information found on these pages comes from open online sources (not behind paywalls): search engines, blogs, testimonials, authors' websites, agency news, industry publications, writers' conferences, etc. I am not the source.

WRITERS please note: regretfully, I cannot read unpublished manuscripts.

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. 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.

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? How to query literary agents? How to query editors? Where to submit a manuscript? Who has open submissions? Browse my database of literary agents, editors and publishers.


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