Our annual Literary Agents Issue features a look at how an agent sells your book, agent etiquette tips, how to read a literary agency agreement, and how to use feedback from agents to get published; a profile of Kali Fajardo-Anstine on her new novel, Woman of Light, which chronicles five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West; our twenty-second annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction; how to sell a book without an agent; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and much more.
Keeping the Stories: A Profile of Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s new novel, Women of Light, chronicles five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West and is imbued with her rich sense of history and pride in her own mixed ancestry: “The story of who I am is inextricably tied to this country.”
First Fiction 2022
Interviews with debut authors Leila Mottley, Tsering Yangzom Lama, Arinze Ifeakandu, Paige Clark, and Morgan Talty, as well as excerpts from their books.
Journey Out of Limbo: The Epic Story of How an Agent Sells Your Book
Selling your book can be an adventure. Follow along on an author’s journey from signing with an agent to the fabled land of the book deal—with only a few peevish publishing ogres along the way.
Agent Etiquette 101
The agent at Frances Goldin Literary Agency shares insider tips for composing query letters, communicating with agents, and making a positive impression.
How to Read a Literary Agency Agreement
When, at last, you sign an agency agreement, do you know what you’re agreeing to? A veteran agent draws on years of experience to unpack the nitty-gritty of what’s in your contract, including commission rates, termination clauses, and more.
When an Agent Says No (or Maybe!): How Agent Feedback Can Help Diverse Writers Get Published
Even if an agent doesn’t take you on as a client, their response to your work can offer invaluable perspective. Authors weigh in on how and when to apply agent feedback to strengthen your manuscript—without losing your own sense of purpose.
News and Trends
Centering Neurodivergent Poets
The Multiverse book series from Milkweed Editions spotlights the work of neurodivergent poets and powerful new ways of “languaging.”
Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books including The Crane Wife: A Memoir in Essays by CJ Hauser and Gods of Want by K-Ming Chang.
Book Prize Celebrates Older Poets
Recognizing that talent and relevance have no age limit, the Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize from Passager Books spotlights debuts by poets age seventy and older.
The Anthologist: A Compendium of Uncommon Collections
A look at three new anthologies, including Body Language: Writers on Identity, Physicality, and Making Space for Ourselves, edited by Nicole Chung and Matt Ortile.
Open Letter’s Translator Triptych
By presenting translations in trios, a new initiative from Open Letter Books puts international literature in context and celebrates the role of translator as curator.
Small Press Points: rinky dink press
Each no bigger than a deck of cards, rinky dink’s “micro zines” aim to “get poetry back in the hands (and pockets) of the people” and make the genre more accessible.
Literary MagNet: Raquel Gutiérrez
The author on the journals and zines that published essays from their collection, Brown Neon.
The Written Image: Stopan
The celebrated Bulgarian bookmaker Stopan calls on his country’s craft traditions to create fantastical artist’s books that are “both in and out of folklore.”
Q&A: Translating Ukrainian Voices
Zenia Tompkins, founder of the Tompkins Agency for Ukrainian Literature in Translation, discusses the impact of Russia’s invasion on her work and the agency’s urgent efforts to bring Ukrainian voices to the West.
The Practical Writer
Going Solo: Selling Your Book Without An Agent
After trying the traditional route, several writers forgo agents and find success when they submit directly to small, independent presses. The author examines the pros and cons of publishing solo.
The Literary Life
The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises
Write a poem inspired by Jay Hopler’s Still Life, a work of short fiction in which the protagonist is made aware of their body, or an essay linking distinct stories into a single narrative.
Sanctuary: How My Mother’s Art Shaped Me as a Writer
Growing up in Costa Rica, the author was intimidated by her mother’s unconventional art. As an adult and a novelist, that same art—and her mother’s commitment to its making—has shown the author the kind of essential refuge artmaking provides.