Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Literary Agent Interview: Leah Moss Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Leah Moss here. She is an associate agent at Steven Literary.

Hi Leah! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Leah:

1.     Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.


I started at Steven Literary as an assistant in January 2023, where I assisted Megan Manzano with queries and a few projects. When Megan left the industry in July 2023, I was promoted to associate agent, which was very exciting! Since becoming an agent, I’ve mainly been working on building my client list and working with my current clients to prepare for going on sub soon!

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

Steven Literary is a small, fairly new agency founded by Pam Pho. At Steven Literary, we strive to bring new and diverse voices into the industry, both on the author side with our clients and the agent side with assistants and mentorship. Pam and I both keep our client lists small so that we can give each author and project that time and focus that they deserve.

 What She’s Looking For:

 3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

In 2023, I was open to a lot of different age groups - picture books, YA, NA, and Adult. This year, I’m switching things up and want to focus on just MG, YA, and NA/crossover titles. I’m always looking for strong hooks, marketable concepts, diverse characters, and lush, beautiful storytelling.

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

I love fantasy stories that push the boundaries of what we’ve seen before. Non-traditional mythologies, original magic systems, and spellbinding new lore are things that I would love to see.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

I have a comprehensive list of what I’m not looking for on the Manuscript Wishlist page of my website, but to mention a few big topics that I’m not interested in, I’m really not into high, epic fantasy stories like Lord of the Rings or The Name of the Wind, hard scifi stories, dragons, historical fiction, or stories about racism/homophobia/transphobia.

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

As a neurodivergent woman of color, I definitely strive to bring diverse, marginalized authors into the industry. However, I will never be exclusionary and reject someone purely because they’re not marginalized - all stories are welcome in my eyes! As for the books I want to represent, I want to bring evocative, unique, and captivating books to market.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

Yes, I am! I like to work in 2-3 rounds of edits prior to going on sub with editors. The first round consists of big picture developmental edits that tackle issues like plot, pacing, and character motivation. The second round is about spotting inconsistencies that might have happened after the first round was completed, as well as diving deeper into things like word choice, sentence structure, and more. The 3rd round is the final polishing step before the manuscript goes out to editors, where I scan for any significant grammar or spelling mistakes, as well as making sure that any in-line comments are removed and the formatting looks good. The amount of rounds can fluctuate depending on what the individual manuscript and author need, but that’s my general process.

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

I accept queries via my Query Manager link, which makes submitting manuscripts quite easy. I love a very streamlined, easy to read, and attention grabbing query letter. Bonus points if it’s personalized to me with comp titles from my wishlist, but that’s not a requirement by any means. Above anything, I love a strong, clear hook that sucks me into the query and makes it impossible to look away.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

First, let me say that I always fully read through every query, even if it contains elements that I dislike. That said, I tend to dislike queries that strongly deviate from the standard query format. Query letters that are exceptionally long, incredibly brief, or fail to introduce the story to me tend to lessen my interest in the submission. There are many resources available online on how to structure an attention grabbing query, so make sure to check them out, for your own benefit!

When it comes to first pages, my dislikes are much more subjective and depend on writing style, character voice, and the hook of the story, so it’s hard to pinpoint a specific “dislike.”

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

In the past year, my response time has been much longer than I’d hoped, unfortunately. There have been several queries in my “maybe” pile for a few months. In 2024 I’m striving to keep my response times for queries, partials, and fulls fairly quick, out of respect and consideration for the authors.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

Yes, I am! As long as the project the author is currently querying hasn’t been previously published and is a new work that’s unrelated to their previously published stories (no sequels, please!) then I’m open to seeing it. My best advice is to make sure that the queried piece really shines and can stand on its own.

12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

This is an interesting question. For the most part, no, I don’t see the role of an agent changing very much, as this industry has remained pretty steady in terms of the roles and duties of authors, agents, and editors. However, with the unique phenomenon of self-published indie authors thrust into fame due BookTok and sometimes having their books acquired and republished by traditional publishers, I could imagine a world where agents start acting almost as recruiters to snatch up these pre-established authors and pitch their catalog of books to editors. Situations like that are rare though, and at this early point in my career, I’d rather work on helping my authors build their careers from the ground up.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I currently represent two authors, Brittany Evans and Kayla Morton. They’re both fantastic authors that I feel so honored to work with!

Interviews and Guest Posts:

14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.

I love Alexa Donne’s youtube channel; she has lots of great information about writing, querying, and publishing in general. The Bookends Literary channel is also a goldmine of information that writers should check out.

Links and Contact Info:

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

I only accept queries via my Query Manager link. I am currently closed to queries, but I’ll be reopening soon! Follow me on Twitter at @LeahNovaMoss for updates on when I reopen and other fun posts!

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

Please remember that this industry is so subjective in every way. I know that the rejections hurt (I personally hate having to send them!) but keep querying, keep writing, and keep believing in that dream of yours. It’s gotten you this far, so don’t give up!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Leah.

Giveaway Details

Leah is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through January 20th. If your email is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that’s okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you follow me on Twitter or mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or email me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Tuesday, January 16th I’m participating in the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop

Monday, January 22nd I have an interview with debut author Anthony Nerada and a giveaway of his YA contemporary Skater Boy

Monday, January 29th I have a guest post by author Shutta Crum

Wednesday, January 31st I have an agent spotlight interview with Laura Gruszka and a query critique giveaway

I hope to see you on Tuesday!









Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like she understands a good story is a good story no matter who wrote it.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Sounds like she knows a good story when she reads one!

Computer Tutor said...

Interesting interview. It sounds like you're doing great.

Laurie Zaleski said...

Nice to hear that you are open to self published pieces. Happy New Year!

Liz A. said...

Yes, the industry is very subjective, so the trick is to find the person who really responds to your writing. Interesting interview.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for the interview. No need to enter my name since I'm just looking for an agent for my picture books.

Shamaila J said...

Excellent interview. I would like to do participate in the query letter giveaway. My email is shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Veronica @ Little Corner Reads said...

This is so helpful, thanks for sharing!

Kim Bartosch said...

I'd like to enter this giveaway! Also, her Twitter says she's open for subs but its dated Sept 2023. Do you think she's open again? kim Kimsayers998@gmail.com.

Natalie Aguirre said...

She says she's reopening soon in her interview, Kim. Keep checking the agency website.

Karen K. said...

Thanks for sharing this interview. I would love to enter the query critique giveaway. Thank you for this opportunity. kkobylar@gmail.com

Alicia J Novo said...

Thanks for another great interview! I hope Leah reopens for queries soon. Aliciajnovo@gmail.com

Sandra Cox said...

Lovely interview, Natalie and Leah. Lots of great information for those folks looking for an agent.

Britt said...

Would love to enter this giveaway! Always love reading through your interviews, so interesting to read through everyone's different processes.

Claire Wallace said...

Thanks for the interview! Interesting to hear her agenting philosophy. I'd love to enter the giveaway: clairewallace13@gmail.com.

Judith L. Roth said...

Leah seems really kind-hearted. I'll bet she is an excellent agent.

Angie Quantrell said...

Wonderful interview! Thank you, Leah. I love the quiet beauty of your Manuscript Wishlist page!

angelecolline at yahoo dot com

Kristin Writes said...

Another great interview and great advice. Hearing an agent's perspective is always helpful!

NCardenas said...

Love the querying tips!

Janet Heller said...

Thank you for this helpful interview! Leah Moss gives very specific examples of what she wants and does not want. Best wishes for 2024!

Janet Ruth Heller

Rosi said...

I always learn when I read your interviews. Thanks for another good one.

Lauri Meyers said...

Excited to watch Steven Lit grow. Thanks for the helpful interview Natalie & Leah. (I follow and reposted on twitter)

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction said...

I always love these interviews - thanks for sharing them!

Sandra Cox said...

You can't beat a good fantasy. Great interview, ladies.
Natalie, Thanks for the offer to help me get the word out on Keeper. I'll happily take you up on it. Just refresh me on what you need.

Shamyla said...

Excellet inerview. I would like to enter the giveaway. My email is shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Janet said...

Great interview! I always enjoy hearing an agent's perspective.

CChase said...

Thanks for this interesting interview!

Donna K. Weaver said...

These interviews are always great for people seeking agents. It's a great service you do here.