Writers in the Storm

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January 4, 2016

13 Agents Seeking Southern Fiction NOW

Chuck Sambuchino

GIVEAWAY: In two weeks time, Chuck will pick a random commenter from this post to win any of his 3 new books. Simply comment to win. Good luck!

In celebration of my three new books released in the fall, I’m doing a lot of special lists of agents seeking queries right now. I’ve already done lists on science fiction agents, picture book agents, thriller agents, fantasy agents, horror agents, women’s fiction agents,  and agents seeking diverse kidlit books. Below find a list for 14 agents seeking Southern fiction NOW.
three covers

  1. When Clowns Attack: A Survival Guide is an anti-clown humor book that teaches you how to defend yourself against these red-nosed bozos who plague us. It’s a perfect gift for that clown-hating friend in your life. (It almost makes a heck of a white elephant gift.) Find it on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble or anywhere else books are sold. Beware clowns.
  2. The 2016 Guide to Literary Agents is a big database of agents — who they are, what they want, how to submit and more. Find it in the Writer’s Digest Shop or anywhere else books are sold.
  3. The 2016 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market has oodles of markets (agents, publishers, etc.) for writers & illustrators of children’s books — from picture books to middle grade to young adult. Find it in the Writer’s Digest Shop or anywhere else books are sold.


All the 13 agents listed below personally confirmed to me as of late 2015 that they are actively seeking Southern fiction submissions for adults NOW. Some gave personal notes about their tastes while some did not. Good luck querying!

bentJenny Bent (The Bent Agency)

How to submit: E-query queries [at] thebentagency.com. Include the title of your project in the subject line of your email. Then paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (not as an attachment).




evansStephany Evans (FinePrint Literary Management)

How to submit: Send queries to Stephany [at] fineprintlit [dot] com. Send a query letter and include the first two chapters or so (no more than 30 pages) of your book pasted in the body of your email. No attachments.




freeseSarah Joy Freese (Wordserve Literary)

How to submit: Please address queries to: admin [at] wordserveliterary.com. In the subject line, include “Query for Sarah: [title].” Sarah will contact you within 60 days if interested. Paste the first 5 pages of the book into the email below the query.




gwinnJulie Gwinn (The Seymour Agency)

How to submit: E-query julie [at] theseymouragency.com. Send a query and the first 5 pages of your work pasted into the email.





testaStacy Testa (Writers House)

How to submit: Please submit your query, including the first five pages of your manuscript pasted into the body of the email (no attachments), to stesta [at] writershouse.com. Please do not query multiple Writers House agents simultaneously.




pelletierSharon Pelletier (Dystel & Goderich)

How to submit: E-query spelletier [at] dystel.com. Paste up to 25 pages in your email below the query.




(Hi, everyone. Chuck here chiming in for a second. I wanted to say I am now taking clients as a freelance editor. So if your query or manuscript needs some love, please check out my editing services. Thanks!)



wattersCarly Watters (P.S. Literary)

Notes: “Not overly literary, but rather seeking upmarket/commercial with Southern themes.”

How to submit: E-query query@psliterary.com with “Query for Carly” in the subject line. “Do not send attachments. Always let us know if your manuscript/proposal is currently under consideration by other agents/publishers. If you don’t receive a response to your query within 4-6 weeks it means a no from the agency. In my women’s fiction, I look for an external hook other than the love story (career, family, personal history etc.)”




pestrittoCarrie Pestritto (Prospect Agency)

How to submit: "We request a query letter, three chapters and a brief synopsis. If you are submitting a picture book text, please submit the entire manuscript. Illustrators should provide a link to their URL. We only accept submissions through our website. Please go to our SUBMISSIONS page to upload your materials. Please do not send submissions via email or mail. Responds in 3 months if interested. Illustrators and author-illustrators should refer to the guidelines in PROSPECT PORTFOLIO regarding submissions." (Please do not submit to Linda Camacho [also on this list] if submitting to Carrie.)




bradfordLaura Bradford (Bradford Literary)

How to submit: queries [at] bradfordlit.com. Put "Query: [title]" in your subject line. Please email a query letter along with the first chapter of your manuscript and a synopsis. Please be sure to include the genre and word count in your cover letter. (If you submit to Laura, please do not submit to any of the other Bradford Lit agents on this list -- Monica Odom or Sarah LaPolla.)



camachoLinda Camacho (Prospect Agency)

How to submit: "We request a query letter, three chapters and a brief synopsis. If you are submitting a picture book text, please submit the entire manuscript. Illustrators should provide a link to their URL. We only accept submissions through our website. Please go to our SUBMISSIONS page to upload your materials. Please do not send submissions via email or mail. Responds in 3 months if interested. Illustrators and author-illustrators should refer to the guidelines in PROSPECT PORTFOLIO regarding submissions." (Please do not submit to Carrie Pestritto [also on this list] if submitting to Linda.)




devereuxAlison Devereux (Wolf Literary)

How to submit: Send a query letter addressed to Allison along with a 50-page writing sample (for fiction) or a detailed proposal (for nonfiction) to queries [at] wolflit.com. Samples may be submitted as an attachment or embedded in the body of the email. More information can be found on the agency submission page.



biagiLaura Biagi (Jean V. Naggar Literary)

Notes: “Only in a literary or mainstream vein”

How to submit: Follow the instructions on the agency’s submissions page.




webberCarlie Webber (CK Webber Associates)

How to submit: To submit your work for consideration, please send a query letter, synopsis, and the first 30 pages or three chapters of your work, whichever is more, to carlie [at] ckwebber.com and put the word “Query” in the subject line of your email. You may include your materials either in the body of your email or as a Word or PDF attachment. Blank emails that include an attachment will be deleted unread. E-mail queries only.


GIVEAWAY: In two weeks time, Chuck will pick a random commenter from this post to win any of his 3 new books. Simply comment to win.

About Chuck

chuck-fw-head-shot.jpgChuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books edits the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog is one of the largest blogs in publishing.

His 2010 humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, was optioned by Sony Pictures.  Chuck has also written the writing guides FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT and CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM.

Besides that, he is a freelance book & query editor, husband, sleep-deprived new father, and owner of a flabby-yet-lovable dog named Graham.

Find Chuck on Twitter and on Facebook.

60 comments on “13 Agents Seeking Southern Fiction NOW”

  1. I was born and reared in the south and write southern fiction exclusively. Thanks for posting these agencies.

  2. Thanks for the post, Chuck. There's nothing quite like Southern fiction (as there is no other music quite the same as country music!). Will have to get out of the rocking chair and get going!

  3. I queried Jenny Bent this morning per this post, but I received an email back saying that she was closed to queries and that the query would be deleted unless it was a requested query--not sure mine based on this post would qualify.

    1. Connie, I went through the pages of all the agents at the The Bent Agency and none of them included an interest in Southern writings in their lists. Perhaps I misread, but it appears the agency, as a whole, is more interested in young adult and below.

  4. Thanks Chuck!
    Assuming that "Southern Fiction" doesn't necessarily mean gothic or deep South Tom Franklin settings, I'll send "Katelyn's Killer" to a couple of the agents you named and let them decide if Annapolis Maryland (below the Mason-Dixon line!) is sufficiently South.

  5. Great news. Thank you, Chuck. I write historical suspense set in the South or about Southerners who have travel far from home. Hope one of these agents will find my WIP appealing. I am a true G.R.I.T.S. (girl raise in the South). They say write what you know!

  6. Thank you, Chuck, for this list. I am a Southerner but have never thought of my writing as "Southern." I'll have to look into whether or not it qualifies! Anyway, I always appreciate your "List of Agents Seeking...Right Now." Please keep them coming.

  7. Thanks, Chuck. I'm not a Southern Writer but I appreciate knowing there are many agents seeking to fill sub-sub-genre niches.

  8. Thanks, Chuck. This is a very timely list for me as I've finished the final edits on my Southern novel with help from a freelance editor, and just today began checking for agents who might be interested in such a work.

  9. Thank you! I love it when someone says what they're looking for specifically.

  10. Thank you for your generosity, Chuck, as well as sharing the list of southern fiction agents. My early writing was 'Ya-Ya' style. I don't believe southern fiction can be impersonated. You either 'git' it or you don't. Happy New Year! 🙂

    1. I write short stories inspired by my life as a child. I grew up in Arkansas, a bit west of Memphis, Tennessee where my family sharecropped, and I spent much of my youth in the cotton fields, either chopping or picking cotton, trapping mink and muskrats, commercial fishing on the St. Francis River and cutting wood. I know the Southern culture of the 50s/60s, and I have begun writing short stories that incorporate roughly 50% truth (settings primarily) and 50% fiction (characters and events) to give some feel of realism to my work. You are correct - either the authors get it or they do not get it. It is not difficult to tell the difference.

      Unfortunately for me, all of these agents appear to be looking for authors who write novels. One day, I will get lucky and my literary agent ship will come in.

  11. Thanks. These recommendations are timely as I've finally completed my Southern novel under the watchful eye of a stellar freelance editor. Time to query!

  12. Thanks for this list and for the opportunity to win one of your books! Like some of the other posters, I am wondering how broad the definition of "southern fiction" can be...

  13. Great timing as I am just wrapping up my Romantic Suspense set on the bayous of Louisiana.

    Thank you for the information!

  14. Just revised my query with your help, Chuck. Thanks for that and for this list. My novel takes place in mid-seventies Georgia (of course, you knew that having read my query 🙂

  15. Thank you for the info. I will be sending out my novel within the next few months. I am excited that there is still interest in Southern fiction.

  16. I was born in the south, but grew up in the north. I always thought I had the best of both worlds, but according to my friends in Ga I was a transplanted Yankee. My novels are set in SC, NC, Texas, PA, and New York. And if I don't start writing faster, I'm going to be a one-book wonder.
    Thank you, Chuck, for all your writing posts. They have been a tremendous help.

  17. Thanks, Chuck, for pulling this list together. The timing couldn't be better! I just completed my novel set in Mississippi in 1918. I hope one of these fine agents might be interested. In fact, Carly Watters and Laura Bradford were already on my list. So enjoy all the great insight and hints.

  18. Thanks Chuck, as always, for your query alerts. I eat grits and liver-mush, occasionally shout out 'y'all', and expect a peck on the cheek and not a bowl of white powdery substance when I say 'gimme some sugar.' And I live in Florida so I guess my manuscript passes for Southern Fiction.

  19. Shucks, Chuck. I usually like this ratio of women to men, but I wonder if there is room for a Southern rascal with a good heart? It's a mystery for me!

  20. Thanks for the list!! Born, raised, and have lived in Savannah my whole life. Currently self-editing my first, just completed, novel manuscript set in Savannah. I plan to self-publish, but now, thanks to your list, I'm contemplating finding an agent toward traditional publishing first. BTW... I detest clowns, and love the idea behind your book "When Clowns Attack." I've tried warning people of the danger of clowns, maybe with your help, they'll now listen!! Best regards....

  21. Thanks for a great list of agents. Let's see--author was executive editor of Southern Living Magazine, novel opens with a Texan on sabbatical in Switzerland but is based on a girl/woman's struggles with the lifetime influence of the Southern Baptist church and set in real locations in Wichita Falls, Austin, Tyler, and Waco, Texas, Mobile, Alabama and Tulsa, OK. I think my literary novel "What's Meant to Be" just might qualify as southern. So, perhaps I should submit..

  22. Thanks for the great list! I have shared it on all my social media. And OMG, you've got some fun looking books 🙂

  23. Southern fiction is often totally unique, and I personally appreciate your acknowledging this and identifying some agents who feel the same way. Thank you, Chuck!

  24. Thanks for the list of agents and agencies. I have a cozy mystery with a southern theme that I think will work for several of these agents. Would not have known about them without your article.

  25. BTW, I sent a query and pages to Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency and was politely, but firmly, told they are NOT accepting submissions. So please update this post accordingly so no one else embarrasses themselves by sending an unsolicited manuscript to an agent who will not want it and won't even look at it.

  26. Way to go, Chuck! Thank you for the list. I too am Southern born and raised and can tell you there's nothin' better.

  27. Being from the South, Southern Fiction is my natural voice coming out on paper. I'm very excited to see so many agents asking for it. We are quite interesting down here.

  28. Very helpful - and thank you so much for the list. I haven't written a book (yet!- right now I'm narrating audiobooks) but certainly like to help my talented writer friends who might be liking for homes for their manuscripts and will pass your info along. We're all in this together.
    Best wishes.

  29. Thank you for this list! Having been raised in the South, I've been turning over a couple of plots in my head...just have to finish the YA I'm working on now first. So many ideas but only so much time ; )

  30. Thank you for this list. Born and raised in the Deep South, I am a Southern fiction writer working on a romantic-suspense novel set in Louisiana. My previous novel was a coming of age story set in Georgia and is available in paperback, audiobook, and ebook (250,000+ downloads on Kindle with 4.3/5 stars and 995 reviews). Thanks again, Chuck!

  31. Thanks Chuck-All 3 of my books are southern based. The two brothers have to grow up during the Civil War and serve in the Confederacy as well so this listing is greatly appreciated

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