The Best Boutique Literary Agencies

A pink mug, books, and flowers to represent the best boutique literary agencies

Literary agencies come in three stripes: large, medium, and small (or boutique). That’s right: boutique is just a fancy word for small. Boutique literary agencies can skyrocket your author career in the same way that medium and large literary agencies can. They can also be duds. There’s no “good” agency based on size, and it’s less about the agency itself, since you will be working one-on-one with your literary agent anyway. The individual agent and the relationship you forge with them and their ability to sell your book is far more important than the name of their agency. However, there are some things that you should look out for with boutique literary agencies ahead of signing with a literary agent.

The pros of boutique literary agencies

Boutique literary agencies, like any smaller companies or organizations, can be nimbler. There are fewer staff, and therefore they are likely to be more personable, more available, and have more time for you. They can move fast when it comes to closing deals, and they can act autonomously without a long chain of command. They represent fewer authors, and so you can benefit from more attention from a usually more senior literary agent, who perhaps has come from a larger agency to set up on their own.

Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 29th Edition by Jeff Herman

The cons of boutique literary agencies

Since smaller agencies have less staff, they can be stretched thin, especially if they take on too many new clients in relation to their size. In that same vein, they can be more difficult to sign with since they represent fewer authors and are therefore more competitive. And of course, boutique literary agencies suffer from all the things that smaller start-ups do: limited or small legal departments, not enough hands on deck, less brand recognition. They may also not know as many editors at publishing houses, or be as well connected with the Big Five, instead choosing to focus on selling mid-list titles at indie publishers.

Ways in which boutique literary agencies are just like other literary agencies

Every way! Unlike publishing houses (where the money is), if you have a great literary agent, it really doesn’t matter the size or the infamy of their agency. They will get their standard commission either way. A timely communicator, with excellent editorial connections, and who aggressively goes after sales and subsidiary rights – i.e. someone who is your biggest advocate – is all that matters in the equitable business relationship you’re looking to strike with your agent. You should never be swayed by an agencies’ client list, or sales records, or notoriety. Sure, these things can make a difference when it comes to selling your book, but they can also make no difference at all. Plenty of boutique literary agencies have huge client lists and big-name bestselling authors. Conversely, large agencies might hire more junior agents with weaker sales record. Ultimately, choosing a literary agent should be about going with the person, not the size of the place where they work.

Top 50 boutique literary agencies

Below you will find our curated list of the top 50 boutique literary agencies, listed alphabetically. As always, this list is based on our own research and opinion, and is not intended to be exhaustive. If you work for or own a boutique literary agency and would like to be included on this list, please let us know.

  1. Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency
  2. Adams Literary
  3. Allen O’Shea Literary Agency
  4. Anderson Literary Agency
  5. Annie Bomke Literary Agency
  6. Ayesha Pande Literary
  7. Beth Vesel Literary Agency
  8. Birch Literary
  9. BJ Robbins Literary Agency
  10. Bradford Literary Agency
  11. Denise Shannon Literary Agency
  12. East West Literary Agency
  13. Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency
  14. Emerald City Literary Agency
  15. Emma Sweeney Agency LLC
  16. Europa Content
  17. Fine Literary Management
  18. Fuse Literary
  19. Go Literary
  20. Grosvenor Literary Agency
  21. Handspun Literary Agency
  22. Headwater Literary Management
  23. HG Literary
  24. Holloway Literary
  25. Joelle Delbourgo Associates
  26. Jill Grinberg Literary Management
  27. Kathryn Green Literary Agency
  28. Ladderbird Literary Agency
  29. Linda Konner Literary Agency
  30. Linda Roghaar Literary Agency LLC
  31. LKG Agency
  32. LK Literary Agency
  33. LoTurco Literary
  34. Mansion Street Literary Management
  35. Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency
  36. O’Connor Literary Agency
  37. One Track Literary Agency
  38. Renaissance Literary & Talent
  39. Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency
  40. Salky Literary Management
  41. Side by Side Literary Productions, Inc.
  42. Skylark Literary
  43. Stimola Literary Studio
  44. Storm Literary Agency
  45. Tessler Literary Agency
  46. Trellis Literary Management
  47. Triangle House Literary
  48. Union Literary
  49. Vicky Bijur Literary Agency
  50. Vigliano Associates

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