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Agent Spotlight: Merrilee Heifetz

This week's Agent Spotlight features Merrilee Heifetz of Writers House.
Status: Open to submissions.
WritersHouseAbout: "Merrilee Heifetz has been at Writers House for over 20 years and was one of the first agents to handle comic books/graphic novels when asked
by a very young Neil Gaiman to represent his work with DC Comics (he did promise to write bestselling novels one day and she is very glad she took him at his word.) She is one of the few agents who is well known for representing both adult and children's books and she finds she has been very successful with authors who don't fall into categories and who can benefit from overall career management.  Her New York Times Bestsellers include Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Melissa Marr and Beth Revis, whose 2011 debut novel ACROSS THE UNIVERSE she placed in a major deal.  Her award winners include three Newbery Medals (Cynthia Voigt, Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman) a MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient (the late Octavia E Butler) and many best of the year awards such as the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award. For five years she chaired the Contracts Committee for the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR)." (via e-mail)
About the Agency:
"Al Zuckerman, a former novelist, TV writer, and teacher of playwriting at Yale, is the founder of Writers House. One of the largest literary agencies in the world, Writers House provides an extraordinary amount of individual client attention combined with the benefits of full service foreign rights, subsidiary rights, and contracts departments. We house an accounting department equipped to provide forensic royalty and financial analysis, as well as a digital department focusing on the ever-changing technological landscape of contemporary publishing. Home to more than a dozen senior agents and several rising junior agents, we work individually as well as collectively and take full advantage of the unparalleled depth of experience we embody. Some of our agents started here as assistants, while others have joined us from other parts of the business, bringing editorial, bookselling, writing, and legal experience. We also pride ourselves on the stability of our firm. Many of our agents have been here together for more than 20 years, as have many of our clients. Writers House is a name which reflects our vision for our authors and ourselves. Our goals are long term, and the environment we strive to create is one that invites authors and agents to stay with us for the duration of their careers." (From the agency website)
What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Literary fiction, science fiction, commercial fiction, fantasy, young adult, multi-cultural, middle grade, graphic novels.
Non-fiction: Celebrity, pop culture, music, film & entertainment. (Link, Link)
Per AgentQuery, Ms. Heifetz "specializes in science fiction and dark fantasy, and she also does books on rock music and pop culture."
What She’s Not Looking For:
Picture books and original screenplays
Editorial Agent?
Unknown, though the quote above might suggest she does help "develop" her clients' projects if needed.
Web Presence:
Writers House website.
Twitter.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
Clients:
C.T. Adams, Sarah Ash, Octavia E. Butler, Cathy Clamp, Mark Crilley, Les Daniels, Ellen Datlow, J.M. Dillard, Kristine Grayson, Ellen Emerson White, Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Alethea Kontis, Melissa Marr, Robin McKinley, Perry Moore, An Na, Beth Revis, Jean Stone, Elizabeth Vaughan, Rachel Vincent, Cynthia Voigt, Terri Windling, among others.
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: Yes.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Do NOT query multiple agents at Writers House simultaneously.
See the Writers House website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
The agency’s stated response time is 6-8 weeks. Ms. Heifetz’s response time on queries seems to range from a week to a few months.  Requested material usually receives a response within a couple months. 
You can expect a response from her assistant initially.
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Heifetz is a highly respected agent with over 20 years at Writers House.  Her amazing clients and sales speak toward her ability and success as an agent. 
Neil Gaiman, who Ms. Heifetz has repped for over 20 years, considers her a great partner and friend, and another client described her as the type of agent that goes "beyond the call of duty." If you like the agent-author relationship / marriage analogy, she seems to have made some great "marriages."
Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
None that I could find online.
Contact:
Please see the Writers House website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 2/15/2023
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/21/11 
***
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.

11 comments:

Heather Kelly said...

Anyone who reps Neil Gaiman must be quite cool.

Thanks, Casey!

Joshua McCune said...

Dark fantasy's right up my alley... might have to query her. Thanks, as always, for the hard work.

Elana Johnson said...

I queried her via snail and got a fast response for a partial--also snail. Which I sent snail. About two months later, her assistant Jennifer requested the full via email. And that's where I am. Jennifer has been easy and personable to correspond with via email.

Great stuff, Casey, as always.

Unknown said...

Elana - congrats on the full request. She seems like she'd be an amazing agent. Thanks Casey for another great agent to add to my list. :)

Casey Something said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone!

Congrats on the full, Elana. I'll cross my toes for you (since I need my fingers to type!).

Best to all who query.

Crystal said...

Thanks for the information, Casey! Your hard work is greatly appreciated.

And congratulations to Elana!

Tara McClendon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara McClendon said...

Sorry about the deletion--I had a typo. It can be hard to find information on some of the agents with Writers House, so thanks for the post.

Samantha Clark said...

Awesome once again! You're great at these. Thanks, Casey.

Anonymous said...

MH was my agent in the late 80s for a couple of years. I sent her a novel and she said she loved it. I heard 2nd hand that when she actually read it, she hated it. Repeated phone calls got me "She's out of the office," and my calls were never returned. I had a query from an LA agent who wanted to pitch one of my stories to Twilight Zone (tv). My contract with MH said she had to ok anything like this, but she was "out of the office" and never called back. Bye-bye TZ. I fired her.

Perhaps she's a bit more experienced these days, perhaps she returns calls, and perhaps she reads mss before loving them, but my experience with her was an education I would have preferred to avoid.

Anonymous said...

YES its very hard to find information on their agents and their likes and dislikes. they want you to do the research for sure. Which im okay with but eesh. I just wanna be like, here! I google stalked you to death!