This article about how to get a literary agent for nonfiction is for writers of all types of nonfiction books. Here you’ll find advice about nonfiction publishing agent requirements regarding your manuscript, platform, and submissions. This article is part of our free 15-Part Guide About How to Get a Book Agent.
How to Get a Literary Agent for NonFiction – FAQ
- Get a Publishing Agent for a Nonfiction Book
- Nonfiction Author Platform Requirements
- Categorize Your Nonfiction Book Accurately
- Nonfiction Book Word Count Requirements
- Nonfiction Book Submission Material Requirements
- Facts About Nonfiction Book Agents 2022
- List of Top Nonfiction Book Publishing Agents 2022
- List of Nonfiction Book Literary Agents Seeking New Clients 2022
- Nonfiction Book Agents Representing All Nonfiction Genres 2022
Get a Publishing Agent for Nonfiction
How to get a literary agent for nonfiction:
- Make sure your author profile or platform is as good as it can be.
- Ensure your nonfiction book is in the required word count range.
- Use the proper nonfiction book genre label(s) in your query.
- Follow nonfiction book agent submission requirements.
Improve Your Nonfiction Author Platform
Anyone can improve their author profile and author platform–and they don’t need to spend money, or much money, to do so. You will need to invest some time. Here you will see the easiest and fastest ways to make your author profile and platform stronger.
How to get a literary agent for nonfiction? You do not need a published book to build or strengthen your author profile or platform. You simply need information and/or inspiration that people will find valuable. For example, an author coach might publish articles, speak at events, and be a guest on writer podcasts–but not have a published book of their own. It’s never too early to start connecting with possible promotional partners, and lay the groundwork for the promotional activities you should do later to help sell your book once it is published.
Best Ways to Make Your Nonfiction Author Platform Better
There are many ways to improve one’s author platform. However, some strategies are smarter than others because they give you the greatest return on your time investment. Here are the strategies we recommend most.
- Author Website: These days, it’s easy to create an author website that looks professional, without spending much (or any) money, using WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, the GoDaddy website builder, etc.
- Social Media: You don’t need 10k+ followers, but you should have at least one social media account. You should also join social media groups relevant to the topics/themes in your book. That way you can say you’re part of many groups with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, and that you’ll promote your book via those groups.
- Blurbs: It’s not that hard to get some influencers to say they will let you send them a review copy of your book if/when you secure a publisher.
- Articles: Ask relevant print and online outlets for permission to send a review copy of your book as well and/or related articles: websites, blogs, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, journals.
- Interviews/Speaking: Ask places to interview you or have you as a speaker, as well. In person or virtually via podcasts, etc. One of our coaching clients–after having a Literary Agent Advice Session with us–started her own podcast, which led to her getting a literary agent and a book deal with Harper Collins. You can see her, and many other successful authors, at How I Got My Literary Agent.
You will be required to tell literary agents and book publishers about your author platform, so it’s a good idea to do something.
Now, what else do you need to know about how to get a literary agent for nonfiction?
Nonfiction Book Word Count Requirements – How to Get a publishing Agent for Nonfiction
Most nonfiction books published by major publishers are 50-90,000 words. Exceptions include gift/novelty books, which usually have far less words. Figure out the average word count range for your type of nonfiction book, and consider making your book fit within that range to give yourself the best chance of getting representation.
Use the Proper Nonfiction Book Genre Label – How to Get a Literary Agent for Nonfiction
Increase your chances of getting a nonfiction publishing agent by labeling your book accurately in your query letter. If you use the correct category description, you’re much more likely to get the right publishing agents offering representation. And, in some cases, you can use more than one category description, allowing you to query a greater number of book agents.
For example, we are currently coaching a woman who has written a nonfiction book about her and her military father. Though the book is memoir more than anything else, calling it memoir is not our only option. Publishing agents who say they represent one or more of the following book genres might also be interested: Biography, Narrative Nonfiction, Nonfiction History, Nonfiction Military/War, Upmarket Nonfiction, Multicultural Nonfiction, and General Nonfiction.
Make sure you understand the book genres relevant to your book. Doing so will allow you to categorize your book in the best way, but it might also let you use more than one label, depending who you are querying–and that can allow you to query more book agents.
You can research fiction categories at our Book Genres website, and read more below about how to get a literary agent for nonfiction.
Nonfiction Book Submission Material Requirements – How to Get a Literary Agent for Nonfiction
Nonfiction book authors–including new, unpublished authors–don’t need a completed book to query literary agents. They do, however, need a query letter and a book proposal with chapter summaries and 2-3 sample chapters.
A nonfiction book proposal should include a cover page, table of contents, overview, target market, competitive analysis, author bio, marketing plan, chapter summaries, and sample manuscript pages or chapters (usually 2-3 chapters).
Facts About Nonfiction Literary Agents 2022
- There are 963 nonfiction book agents in the U.S.
- 665 nonfiction publishing agents are female
- 297 nonfiction literary agents are male
- 1 nonfiction book agent is nonbinary
- 772 nonfiction publishing agents accept email submissions
- 224 nonfiction literary agents use online website forms
- 136 nonfiction book agents accept postal mail submissions
- 244 nonfiction author representatives are members of the AALA/AAR
- 671 nonfiction publishing agents are on LinkedIn
- 618 nonfiction literary agents are on Twitter
- 180 nonfiction book agents use FB
List of Top Nonfiction Book Literary Agents 2022
The best nonfiction book agents, listed here, are the most successful based on the amount of significant fiction book deals they’ve reported in the last year, according to PublishersMarketplace.com.
Top 10 Nonfiction Book Agents
- Lee Sobel (Lee Sobel Literary Agency)
- Susan Canavan (Waxman Literary Agency)
- Tanya McKinnon (McKinnon Literary)
- Don Fehr (Trident Media Group)
- Jill Marsal (Marsal Lyon Literary Agency)
- Alexander Field (The Bindery)
- Joseph Perry (Perry Literary)
- Chip MacGregor (MacGregor & Luedeke)
- Steve Troha (Folio Literary Management)
- Nicole Tourtelot (The Gernert Company)
List of Nonfiction Book Literary Agents Seeking New Writers 2022
Find all nonfiction book agents looking for new clients here. Increase your chances of getting a literary agent by making sure you only query nonfiction publishing agents looking for new clients, who don’t require referrals.
20 Nonfiction Book Agents Seeking New Writers
- Stephany Evans (Ayesha Pande Literary)
- Theresa Park (Park & Fine Literary and Media)
- Kate Woodrow (Present Perfect Dept.)
- Jacqueline Lipton (Raven Quill Literary Agency)
- Markus Hoffmann (Regal Hoffmann & Associates)
- Mackenzie Brady Watson (Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency)
- Stephanie Tade (The Stephanie Tade Agency)
- Meg Thompson (Thompson Literary Agency)
- Coleen O’Shea (Allen O’Shea Literary Agency)
- Betsy Amster (Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises)
- Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
- Nicole Aragi (Aragi Agency)
- Danielle Egan-Miller (Browne & Miller Literary Associates)
- Cynthia Cannell (The Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency)
- Terra Chalberg (Chalberg & Sussman Literary Agency)
- Farley Chase (Chase Literary Agency)
- Paige Wheeler (Creative Media Agency, Inc.)
- Helen Breitwieser (Cornerstone Literary Agency)
- Richard Curtis (Richard Curtis Associates)
- Kerry D’Agostino (Curtis Brown Literary Agency)
Nonfiction Literary Agents Representing All Nonfiction Book Genres 2022
Create your personalized list of nonfiction literary agents using the literary agent database here in the Directory of Literary Agents™. It’s free and lists publishing agents representing all nonfiction genres, including the most popular nonfiction genres you see here.
- Current Events
- Cultural/Social Issues
- General Nonfiction
- Health & Wellness
- Narrative Nonfiction
- True Crime
- Women’s Issues
This article about how to get a literary agent for nonfiction was written by former literary agent turned author coach Mark Malatesta, creator of The Directory of Book Agents, host of Ask a Publishing Agent, and founder of Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author.
Mark has helped hundreds of authors get offers from literary agents and/or traditional publishers. Writers of all Book Genres have used our Book Agent Advice coaching/consulting to get Top Literary Agents at the Best Literary Agencies on our List of Literary Agents.
How to Get a Literary Agent for NONFiction – Next Steps
Now that you’ve read this guide about how to get a book agent for nonfiction, click here to:
- See the next part of this guide about getting an Offer of Representation from a Literary Agent.
- Visit our Ask a Publishing Agent page, where you’ll find more information about how to get a literary agent for nonfiction, including a complete list of questions and answers about getting a book agent.