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Agent Spotlight: Jeff Ourvan

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jeff Ourvan of The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, LLC.

Status: Open to submissions.

Jeff HR-0258About: “Jeff Ourvan, an attorney, published author and former editor, is a literary agent with the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. His interests are varied: he represents non-fiction works, especially memoirs, histories, biographies, international current events and sports. He also represents fiction works, particularly in the young adult, thriller and international fiction categories. Prior to his career as a literary agent, Jeff was a litigator for many years at two large New York-based corporate law firms; a communications consultant working in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo; and an editor of Living Buddhism magazine.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, based in Manhattan, represents numerous award-winning authors, including novelist Jesmyn Ward, recipient of the 2011 National Book Award, and premier European publishers. The many awards the Agency’s authors have received include the Nobel Prize, PEN awards, the National Jewish Book Award, the Koret Award, the Lambda, the Pulitzer Prize, and others.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Jennifer Lyons Literary website.

Publisher’s Marketplace page.

Writing Workshop website.

Author website.


What He’s Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

General fiction, Mystery, Fantasy/Science fiction, Biography, Business/Investing/Finance, History, Religious, Health, Travel, Lifestyle,
Sports, Science, Young adult, Thriller, International, Current Events. (Link)

From His Bio (as above):

“His interests are varied: he represents non-fiction works, especially memoirs, histories, biographies, international current events and sports. He also represents fiction works, particularly in the young adult, thriller and international fiction categories.” (Link)

From Publisher’s Marketplace (as of 9/12):

“Jeff is especially looking for spellbinding mysteries and/or detective stories, thrillers, and sports-related nonfiction.” (Link)

From an Interview (06/2012):

“I favor nonfiction works--international, sports, music, history and memoir--and commercial fiction, including thrillers, mysteries, international, YA, and really just about anything other than children’s picture books.” (Link)

“I'm a big fan of both sci-fi and YA fantasy, and by all means I look for works in those genres. As for middle school and YA in general, I'm keen for works that have potential crossover appeal to an adult readership . . . so the works that attract me in those genres would perhaps also incorporate some sophisticated themes.”(Link – see comments)

What He Isn’t Looking For:

Picture books. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

He asks for revisions as needed.


Enrico Antiporda, Christina Farley, Elke Gazzara, Kerrie Hollihan, Rami Ollaik, among others.


As of this posting Mr. Ourvan is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 2 deals in the last 12 months and 2 overall. Recent deals include 1 non-fiction and 1 non-fiction international rights.

NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (preferred).

Snail-Mail: Yes.  

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query by e-mail. Sample pages are fine.

See Mr. Ourvan’s Publisher’s Marketplace page for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“…please spell well and use proper grammar. I’m in part judging ability based on the care writers take when they query me. Second, just get right to the point. And third, try to control the use of adjectives and superlatives when describing yourself or your work--less is more in that regard.” (Link)

“Yes, it can be helpful to paste a few pages of the manuscript below the query. I typically know from the general query whether I'd want to read more, but in a case where I'm on the fence a few attached pages can help me to capture a sense of writing ability and style.” (Link)

Response Times:

Mr. Ourvan does respond to queries, usually within a month. Requested material can take up to 6 weeks or so.

What's the Buzz?

Jeff Ourvan is a newer agent, having joined the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency in 2011.  He represents one of my critique partners who has nothing but good things to say. He likes unique projects and I’m looking forward to watching his list grow.

Worth Your Time:


Meet Our Agents- Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, LLC at MiG writers (05/2012).

Interactive Interview with an Agent: Jeff Ourvan at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (06/2011).

Around the Web:

Jeff Ourvan at P&E.

Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency at P&E ($, AAR).  

Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency thread at AbsoluteWrite.

An Interview with Christina Farley (A QueryTracker Success Story) (09/2011).


Please see Mr. Ourvan’s Publisher’s Marketplace page or The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 9/13/12.  

Last Reviewed By Agent? 9/13/12.


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 and/or teen 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.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Another great spotlight! Thanks.

  3. Thanks Casey for another awesome spotlight. I'm adding Jeff to my list of agents to query.

  4. It's always interesting to read about literary agents here on your blog! Thanks.