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  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Steven Axelrod

This week's Agent Spotlight features Steven Axelrod of The Axelrod Agency, Inc.
StevenAxelrodAbout: “Steven Axelrod has been an agent for over 30 years and president of his own agency for more than 25 years. Prior to agenting, he was an editor at The Literary Guild, managing editor at Harcourt Brace and a reader for a number of paperback houses. His present clients include two-time Edgar Award-winning mystery author S.J. Rozan, as well as many top women’s fiction authors, including #1 New York Times bestsellers Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward and Julia Quinn, as well as multi-New York Times Bestsellers Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips , Suzanne Brockmann and Catherine Anderson."

Status: Accepting submissions.
What He's Looking For:
Chick Lit, Fantasy (paranormal), Mystery, Romance, Thrillers/Suspense, Women's Fiction, Young Adult. (Link, Link)
“In terms of fantasy, he is only interested in paranormal fantasy.” (Link)
What He Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, screenplays, high fantasy.
About the Agency:
Founded in 1983 (Link). 
In 1994 the agency joined with The Rowland Agency to form the Axelrod & Rowland Agency; however, they appear to have separated in recent years. (Link)
Editorial Agent?
Web Presence:
Website (under construction).
AgentQuery, QueryTracker
Catherine Anderson, Barbara Bretton, Suzanne Brockmann, Jayne Castle / Jayne Ann Krentz / Amanda Quick, Alyssa Day, Christine Feehan, Amanda Hocking, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, S.J. Rozan, J.R. Ward, among many others,
As of this posting, Mr. Axelrod is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 8 deal in the last 12 months, 10 six-figure+ deals, and 19 overall.  Recent deals include 7 women’s/romance and 1 paranormal.
Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: Yes.  
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter only.  Include a SASE if querying by snail-mail.
See Mr. Axelrod’s AAR page for contact information (including e-query address).
Response Times:
I saw his response time for queries listed as 2-3 months on an agent listing site.  Limited stats suggest of average of about 3 weeks with instances coming in sooner and later.  His response time on requested material appears to range from days to months but is usually within a month.
What's the Buzz?
Steven Axelrod is considered a top notch agent, well known for his award-winning, bestselling mystery and women’s fiction clients and years in the business.  He accepts young adult fiction according to all the databases, but I am not aware of any YA clients or sales at this time.  I couldn’t find any specifics on what he might be looking for in the YA realm, but I think he’s definitely worth a query. 
Worth Your Time:
None that I could find online.
Around the Web:
Why Publishing is Making You Crazy—and What You Can Do About It: The Tao of Publishing, article by Steven Axelrod and client Julie Ann Long (12/08).
Big Publishers Terrified of Kindle Mavericks, great article featuring Amanda Hocking’s success story and how Mr. Axelrod handled her originally self-published work (10/10).
Conference notes including Steven Axelrod from a ECWC Agent Panel at Musetracks (10/09).
The Axelrod Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Please see Mr. Axelrod’s AAR page or one of the query databases above for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 3/14/17 Updated 5/10/20 just to confirm that his agency still exists and he is open to submissions
Last reviewed by agent? N/A
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.


Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Another brilliant spotlight, Casey!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great spotlight. Too bad he's only interested in paranormal fantasy. Where are the high fantasy lovers? It's awesome. But he sounds like a great agent for the right person.

Martha Ramirez said...

How funny I was just going to write: another great spotlight, Casey! I see many agree:)Thanks for taking the time out.

Agents just see dollar signs? said...

As far as author Amanda Hocking is concerned, I'm glad she found success in self-publishing. But I also read that she was turned down by every NY publishing house (though I don't know how true that is since none of them really take unagented material from aspiring authors). Anyway, as for the $2 million "deal" Axelrod got her, she was on her way to doing it by herself (if she hadn't already). I'm assuming she shopped her project around to lit agents, too befor going the self-publishing route. That assumption makes me think Axelrod isn't interested in her talent or ideas, only the $ she can make him. She doesn't need this guy at all to GIVE 15% of her earnings to. I don't know the whole story so whatever.

Anonymous said...

I'd be wary of assuming much about anything about Amanda Hocking. As you said, she was well on her way to getting a deal like the one she got herself, so I'm assuming she had a large number of high-profile agents she could have signed with, all equally eager for the $ she could make them. She's been very vocal about the fact that she prefers not having to focus on the business side of writing, leaving more time and energy for the creative aspects, so I would think she'd have every interest in finding the best business partner for her books as possible - and as such, her selection of Mr. Axelrod as her agent probably says a lot of credible things about him, as he surely had something that interested her in him above other agents.

Sunshine Kamaloni said...

I'm reading this in June 2021 and I noticed that J.R Ward and Christine Feehan may no longer be clients of his? As a debut author I wonder if that's something to pay attention to or this sort of thing happens in publishing too - people part ways and move on.

Natalie Aguirre said...

It does sometimes happen that agents and authors part ways. It could be a red flag if a lot of authors leave an agent, but otherwise I think it is something that just happens for various reasons between the author and agent.