This week's Agent Spotlight features Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Miriam Kriss joined the Irene Goodman Literary Agency just as she was finishing her master's degree in Fine Arts at New York University in early 2004, and quickly became one of the hottest young agents in town. Going from Michelangelo to Nora Roberts was not as great a leap as it might seem, as Miriam had been obsessively reading commercial fiction since she found a copy of Judith McNaught's classic Whitney, My Love in a rented lakeside cabin when she was thirteen. A few pages in, not only were some gaps in her Catholic school education filled, but she was hooked. She reads fast: one hundred pages an hour, a novel a day, and well, that adds up to a lot of books a year. Miriam likes to say Irene knows the market because she's been doing this for over twenty-five years and is savvy as all get out, but Miriam herself knows the market because she is the market. And that knowledge has paid off for both her and her clients in a big way.
“Miriam's focus remains on commercial fiction and she represents everything from hardcover historical mysteries to all subgenres of romance, from young adult fiction to kick ass urban fantasies, and everything in between. If it's fun to read, she probably represents it. She doesn't look for specific stories, focusing instead on finding a voice she can fall in love with and champion. This strategy of taking on only clients she's passionate about has led to six-figure deals for first-time authors and numerous clients appearances on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. During one memorable week, she had two authors appear on the Times list at the same time.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“We have been in business for over 30 years, and represent the best in commercial fiction, literary fiction, and non-fiction. Our authors have hundreds of appearances on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Walden, and Bookscan bestseller lists.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
“Miriam is passionate about modern urban fantasy, young adult fiction, romance, and all other types of commercial fiction.” (Link)
From her Bio (above):
“Miriam's focus remains on commercial fiction and she represents everything from hardcover historical mysteries to all subgenres of romance, from young adult fiction to kick ass urban fantasies, and everything in between. If it's fun to read, she probably represents it. She doesn't look for specific stories, focusing instead on finding a voice she can fall in love with and champion.” (Link)
“Her particular passions are YA paranormal romance and YA urban fantasy.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Poetry, inspirational fiction, screenplays, or children’s picture books. (Link)
Clients have praised her revision notes so I’m assuming yes, as needed.
“Write what you love. Write what you’d write whether anyone read a word, just because you need to write it. Write the book that only you can write. Then step back and look at the market. How can you make what you love something that a large number of people will want to read? If you can achieve that synergy, you can sell.” (Link)
There is a page of agency authors on the website.
Ms. Kriss’s clients include: Toni Andrews, Keri Arthur, Jenna Black, Sarah Bromley, Rinda Elliot, Kelly Gay, Jen Hayley, Kelly Keaton, Jackie Morse Kessler, Karen Mahoney, Devon Monk, Jenna Petersen, Vicki Pettersson, Lilith Saintcrow, Brenda Scott Royce, Rachel Vincent, Gayle Ann Williams, among others.
As of this posting, Ms. Kriss is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 1 deal in the last 12 months, 4 six-figure+deals, and 17 overall. Recent deals include one sci-fi/fantasy.
NOTE: PM is usually not a completely representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Email a query letter and the first ten pages, along with a synopsis (3-5 paragraphs) and bio, in the body of an email to the agency group e-mail.
For complete, up-to-date submission guidelines see the agency website.
“DO NOT email the agents at their personal email addresses, and do not submit to more than one of our agents.” (Link)
The agency only responds if interested, usually between 6-8 weeks. They ask that you do not follow up or call. Ms. Kriss’s response time on requested material seems to range from days to a few months, though she often responds within a month.
What's the Buzz?
Miriam Kriss is a highly respected agent at a fantastic agency. She’s known for her love of paranormal and urban fantasy and is looking for more YA authors in those genres. Her clients seem really happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Visiting with Super Agent Miriam Kriss at Desert Dreams Writers’ Conference (02/2010).
Q&A with Miriam Kriss at Rachel Vincent’s site (07/2006).
Around the Web:
Irene Goodman Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Irene Goodman literary Agency on P&E (AAR, $, Highly Recommended).
Miriam Kriss on P&E (AAR, $).
Successful Queries: Agent Miriam Kriss and “The Iron Witch” at Guide to Literary Agents (03/2011).
Agent Miriam Kriss On: What’s In A Name? (When Should You Use a Pseudonym?) at Guide to Literary Agents (03/2011).
Agent Miriam Kriss On: The Perfect Pitch at Guide to Literary Agents (11/2010).
Agent Appreciation Day post on Miriam Kriss by Karen Mahoney at her blog (12/2009).
Agent Miriam Kriss On: Is There Still Room in Urban Fantasy? at Guide to Literary Agents (07/2010).
Please see the Irene Goodman Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 6/30/11.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
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 agentspotlight(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.