We receive many inquiries here at Willenfield Literary, so we strongly encourage prospective clients to read our FAQ before contacting us.

What exactly do literary agents do?

A literary agent represents writers and their works to publishers. Because book publishing involves several moving parts, agents play many distinct and sometimes intersecting roles when representing a writer. The Poets & Writers website provides a good overview of the role of a literary agent.

Do I really need an agent?

Not absolutely. If a publisher you are targeting does not accept unsolicited submissions, then you most likely need one. You probably need an agent if you would prefer not to deal with the technical, legal, and business aspects of book publishing.

I have a question. Can I call to get my answer?

All phone calls must be scheduled in advance. Email is our preferred method of communication. Please direct general inquiries to

What categories do you specialize in?

Literary fiction, literary nonfiction, and general nonfiction. Our emphasis is on sophisticated, innovative, and intellectually ambitious projects with a contemporary resonance.

Are there any categories you are not interested in representing?

Screenplays, stage plays, poetry, short story collections, historical fiction, genre fiction (such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thriller, romance or western), children’s literature, young adult literature, religious fiction, practical religion and spirituality, inspirational, self-improvement, erotica, business, scholarly works, reference guides, true crime, cookbooks, illustrated books, and books with a strictly local or regional audience.

What do you look for in a project?

Our main focus is on the overall quality of the writing. That said, we are also interested in work that can be marketed in many media and territories around the world.

Are you currently accepting queries?

We are building our client list and enthusiastically welcome representation queries from established and emerging writers of all backgrounds and identities. However, writers must be resident in Canada or the United States.

Do you accept submissions by regular mail?

We only accept electronic submissions, via email. Please see our Submission Guidelines for more details.

Should I just send my manuscript or book proposal for your consideration?

Unsolicited manuscripts and proposals will not be reviewed. We consider ideas in query form only. For more information, please refer to our Submission Guidelines.

I have just completed the first draft of my novel. Can I send sample chapters from this?

No. We only want to see chapters from a manuscript that has been meticulously revised and polished.

Any submissions-related tips?

Make sure you read the guidelines carefully and adhere to them. And make every effort to send a polished, typo-free query. Show that you are a professional and that you want to be taken seriously.

I received a rather encouraging rejection email. Does that mean I should revise and resubmit?

Unless we specifically asked you to resubmit, please do not.

Do you charge reading fees?

No. Willenfield Literary is committed to the highest standards in literary representation and management. We do not charge reading fees; neither do we charge for our time and expense in reviewing, editing, and developing projects for sale.

Does Willenfield Literary use a written agreement?

Prospective clients will be required to sign an agency agreement that defines the terms of our working relationship.

What rights do you handle?

Willenfield Literary offers a comprehensive service. Domestic (Canadian and American) rights will be sold directly, while specialist co-agents or sub-agents will be engaged for the sale of subsidiary rights like film, television, foreign, translation, audio, and digital.

What are your commission rates?

We take the standard commission of 15% on all domestic (Canadian and American) sales and 20% to 25% for international sales (split with co-agents). This includes all advance and royalty payments for the life of the book.

What next after submitting my work?

Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we regret that we cannot respond to all queries. If we are interested in your submission, you should expect to hear from us within 8 weeks. If more than 8 weeks have passed and you have not heard from us, you can assume that we are not interested in pursuing your project.

I still have questions, what should I do?

Send your question to, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you.