Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.38.01 PM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Paul Stevens is a literary agent with the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Paul is looking for: science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, suspense, and humor (both fiction and nonfiction). He’s looking for strong stories with interesting characters. Well-rounded LGBT characters and characters of color are a plus.

Paul is not looking for short story collections, poetry, memoirs, screenplays, picture books, or chapter books.

He has worked as an editor for 15 years, primarily at Tor Books, where he edited science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Paul has worked with authors such as Alex Bledsoe (The Hum and the Shiver), Marie Brennan (A Natural History of Dragons), Robert Brockway (The Unnoticeables), Tobias S. Buckell (Crystal Rain), Adam Christopher (Made to Kill), Hilary Davidson (The Damage Done), David Edison (The Waking Engine), Michael Livingston (The Shards of Heaven), A. Lee Martinez (Gil’s All Fright Diner), and Patrick Taylor (An Irish Country Doctor).

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror:

Paul would love to see stories that take tried-and-true genre tropes and turn them on their heads in an inventive way.

Epic fantasy should stretch the boundaries and shake things up. For example, if your book is about a group of characters going on a quest, be sure you have an inventive take on the quest fantasy subgenre. Show us something that we’ve never seen before.

Mystery and Suspense:

Ideally your book should have an intriguing concept that makes the reader think, “Oh, that’s a cool idea.”

Paul is interested in historical mysteries (set in both the past and the future), mysteries with a speculative element (ghosts, magic, monsters), and mysteries with an unusual setting. Again, strong, memorable characters are key.


Paul is interested in humorous fiction, nonfiction, and “other.” Humor is very subjective, but if he’s inspired to rush into a coworker’s office to show them a funny passage, that’s a very good sign.

Humorous fiction: Think Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and A. Lee Martinez.

Humorous nonfiction: Think David Sedaris.

Humorous other: Think along the lines of The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley, It’s Happy Bunny by Jim Benton, or Bent Objects by Terry Border.


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