About the Agency
The Seymour Agency strives to offer aspiring and established authors the representation and resources they need to succeed in the ever-evolving publishing industry.
Our literary agents firmly believe in exploring every opportunity for our authors. From foreign and audio rights to film, television, and other multimedia and digital prospects such as gaming and apps, we strive to provide hands-on emotional, professional, promotional, and editorial counsel to each one of our authors.
Get to Know Our Founder
Mary Sue Seymour
Mary Sue Seymour was listed by Publishers Marketplace as one of the top dealmakers in the country. She was formerly a member of the Author's Guild, the AAR, ACFW, WGA, and RWA** and was named as ACFW's Agent of the Year in 2015.
After graduating from the State University of New York, Mary Sue taught in a public school system for almost 15 years. While teaching, she completed graduate work at The State University of New York. At the same time, she wrote for national publications such as Junior Scholastic, The Artist's Magazine, The American Artist, and teaching magazines.
Mary Sue believed in the Bible verse in Romans 10:12 that states, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him..."
Always in our hearts, we carry on her legacy and vision.
Nicole Resciniti has been listed by Publishers Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country and named as ACFW's 2012 Agent of the Year. She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level.
Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Like Mary Sue, Nicole taught in the public school system and has worn many hats before heeding her calling to become a literary agent—for which she will forever be indebted to Mary Sue Seymour.
Do you have the next project to feed her book addiction? A smart, tight read she won’t be able to put down? A signature voice she’ll fight to represent?
A proponent for authentic, diverse voices in fiction, Nicole is actively seeking those stories that have to be told.
HEA’s are a must for romance. Mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, YA, and inspirational novels are welcome. A consummate science geek and card-carrying Mensa member, Nicole would love to find the next great science fiction/fantasy novel or action/adventure masterpiece. Currently on her wish list: high-concept middle grade, any kind of romance, and really fresh voices in YA.
"I have the best job in the world. I read for a living and make authors’ dreams come true."
- Nicole Resciniti
Vice President and Agent
Julie Gwinn has a background in editorial, launching the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group where she served as Fiction Publisher and was awarded Editor of the Year and Agent of the Year finalist by the American Christian Fiction Writers.
Julie also has more than 25 years of public relations and marketing experience and has worked in marketing for several Nashville nonprofit organizations, including the Tennessee Association for the Education of Young Children, the Nashville Area Red Cross, and the YWCA. She puts that marketing expertise to use in working with her authors.
Julie is actively looking for diverse voices in both fiction and non-fiction and is currently looking for romance, mystery/true crime, historical and speculative/fantasy novels. In non-fiction she is looking for self-help, lifestyle, motivational and sports related books.
As of January, Julie's query process has changed. She is no longer accepting email queries and has started using Query Manager to manage this part of the business. Please visit her Query Manager portal at the link below where you will find instructions on the process and how to upload your materials.
Executive Director and Agent
Marisa Cleveland oversees publishing innovations and initiatives by implementing the Agency's communication strategies and developing the enterprise media strategy. She is responsible for spearheading the Agency's efforts to identify, inform, and involve the literary community in outreach and advocacy programs.
Marisa has been featured, participated, and moderated at book festivals, panels, and workshops on branding, communication, cultural agility, diversity, leadership development, and the state of the industry.
With more than two decades of experience in the education and publishing industries, Marisa is adamant about supporting efforts toward the betterment of the human condition. Gulfshore Business and D’Latinos magazines honored Marisa with the Arts and Culture 2015 FACE Award, and in 2014, Gulfshore Business selected her as a “40 Under Forty” honoree. In June 2015, her young adult novel hit the New York Times as part of an anthology, and her other publications include academic peer-reviewed articles, an academic book chapter, and fiction and nonfiction books. She earned her doctorate in organizational leadership from Northeastern University, her master’s in educational administration and a bachelor’s in speech communications from George Mason University, and her master's in English from National University. Marisa is a 2015 Leadership Marco graduate, a 2022 Leadership Collier graduate, and a member of Hodges University Board of Trustees.
Media Rights Manager, Communications Manager, and Agent
Lesley has worked as an editorial assistant and freelancer for multiple publishing houses such as Entangled, Jolly Fish Press and Flux Books, as well as Sourcebooks. She's been working for The Seymour Agency since 2014.
Starting out as an eager intern, she worked her way up to being a literary assistant, and in the fall of 2017, Lesley became an agent with The Seymour Agency. Lesley is a member of AALA.
Lesley loves intricate and vivid world-building and character-driven plots with commercial pacing. She is currently acquiring young adult and adult fiction. She is always down to read a dark and twisty suspense/thriller featuring strong, female protagonists or mysteries where there is a large cast of characters and all the pieces slowly fall into place. She loves big, sweeping love stories that give you all the feels and she's particularly interested in voice-driven fiction for millennial women that focus on the real-life romantic, humorous, and professional experiences they go through. Always open to diversity, Lesley is actively looking for marginalized authors to bring into the literary world.
To Query: https://QueryManager.com/LesleySabga
Tina Wainscott has published over 30 novels with houses such as St. Martin’s Press, Harper Collins, Hachette, and Random House, so she understands the business from the author’s perspective. She's been an agent with The Seymour Agency since 2016 and also gets what it takes from this angle.
She’s looking to work with a select few authors who have ideas that fit into self-help/personal transformation/spiritual growth and health initiatives space with that special something to stand out in a crowded market. If you have a provocative idea, a great platform and/or credentials and/or other clear author hook, and a compelling title and hook, she’d love to see it. Diversity is welcome!
Platform is an essential part of a successful book sale and a book launch (which impacts the next book’s chances). If you have a small or unengaged one, please consider spending your query time building that up before sending your idea out into the world.
She will consider memoirs, but note that they’re particularly difficult to place unless you are “notable” or have a truly unique experience that aims to inspire. Many people go (and grow) through extraordinary experiences, but it takes something really special to grab an editor’s eye.
Please limit queries to self-help/non-fiction books. No poetry, fiction, or children’s books.
Note: Please send religious/Christian queries to Julie Gwinn.
She only takes queries through http://QueryMe.Online/TinaWainscottTSA (unless you are directly referred). This form makes it faster for her to hone in on the pertinent facts, and it includes information you can grab from your proposal (or that should be in there). She’s looking forward to seeing your query!
Jennifer has 5 years’ experience in some of the publishing industry’s leading literary agencies. She worked with publishers around the world as an assistant in Trident Media Group’s huge foreign rights department and with domestic publishers as an assistant at Writers House (where, incidentally, she began her career as an intern).
She joined the Seymour Agency in April 2016, where she has quickly moved up the ranks to Literary Agent. Jennifer has always loved helping fledgling authors become NYT bestsellers, and she’s ready to be a relentless champion for her own clients’ work.
Jennifer is particularly interested in a wide range of picture books and cookbooks, with a soft spot for author/illustrators of sweet and wacky picture books, and cookbooks with mouth-watering recipes of the health-conscious, budget-friendly, or celebrity chef variety.
For fiction, she’s also interested in middle grade and YA with a sci-fi/fantasy, horror/suspense, or contemporary bent, and upmarket women’s fiction with a sense of humor.
On the non-fiction side, narrative non-fiction and memoir are also welcome. If your manuscript has a great hook, a distinct voice, and can make her laugh out loud or ugly cry (or even better, both), she’d love to see it.
Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent 17 years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as the New York Times and the USA Today bestselling authors.
Lynnette earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.
Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.
She loves dark and suspenseful, mysterious twists, unique worlds, light and funny, a good love story, and lots of voice. Lynnette is always looking for diverse and LGBTQ+ authors and wants to share more of these marginalized voices with the world.
Currently looking for: (Always looking for own voices, diversity, and LGBTQ+!!!)
In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy).
In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary, mysteries, and fantasy.
In middle grade fiction: contemporary, horror, fantasy, mystery, humor.
In children’s fiction: picture books (non-rhyming preferred).
In adult non-fiction: self-help, relationships & dating, true crime, psychology, health & fitness, parenting & family, spirituality/New Age, memoirs, motivational/inspirational, lifestyle, celebrity, pets, and business. You must be an expert in the field and have a platform.
What kind of platform do you need for nonfiction? Are you a celebrity with a story to tell? An expert in the field (doctor, journalist, therapist, CEO, trainer, psychologist, etc.)? Do you have a direct route to the consumer? Are you a social influencer or public speaker? Publishers want to see how your name or brand will draw readers to your book.
Email for Other Concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joyce Sweeney has worn many hats in the kidlit industry. They are the author of fourteen novels for young adults. They have edited, instructed, and encouraged writers for twenty-five years, successfully mentoring 78 traditionally published authors and still counting. They are very active in Florida SCBWI. They have also published poetry and managed a South Florida theater company.
As an agent, they pride themselves on client communication and are very editorial. They acquire picture books, chapter books, and middle grade, both fiction and non-fiction.They are particularly interested in graphic novels.
Their taste is eclectic, but they are always looking for underrepresented voices. They like science and aerospace, natural history, environmental and animal themes, and anything with a touch of magic. A lyrical voice is the surest way to their heart. Not a big fan of crude or bathroom humor, overtly religious stories or historical fiction.
What they're looking for:
In Picture Books: Fiction or non-fiction. I am drawn to lyrical voices, fun syntax and offbeat concepts. I like unusual characters, and plots that make me cry or laugh out loud. Illustrator/authors welcome and rhyme (if you REALLY know how to do it) is fine. Diversity, please. Most of all, be unique.
In Middle Grade: I am especially drawn to humor, fantasy and sci-fi, but a realistic novel that makes me cry will work too. Advocate of books for boys. Would love to see more LGBTQ as well.
Elisa Houot is a literary agent at The Seymour Agency and author of five published Young Adult novels. Enthusiastic about discovering new voices, Elisa lives in France with her adorable and barking companion, Muffin.
She joined The Seymour Agency after a MA in publishing. Reader, reviewer, book blogger, short story writer, published author, foreign rights agent, literary agent, Elisa has had many roles in the publishing industry. Beyond anything, she thrives on helping authors build their careers.
To query: https://QueryManager.com/ElisaHouot.
Jonathan Rosen is the author of several Middle Grade books, and has spent the last few years working as a freelance writer and editor. He goes into agenting with a knowledge of what it’s like to be on the author side of the trenches, to help guide writers along on their path to publication. He has a passion for books and wants to help as many people as possible get published. Being of Jewish-Mexican descent, he will always have an eye out for diverse voices, and in particular ones that reflect his background.
In fiction, he is seeking Young Adult, Mysteries, Thrillers, Historical Fiction, Sports, Romantic Comedy, and anything with humor for that matter.
In Non-Fiction, he is looking for Biographies, Memoirs, Pop Culture, entertainment, Humor, Sports, and Journalism, among many others.
Georgana (Nina) Grinstead
Georgana Grinstead began her career as a corporate and nonprofit media specialist. She studied at the University of Texas in Austin before earning a degree in public relations and advertising from Georgia College State & University. Romance books, although not on the official curriculum, were her favorite subject then and continue to be long after graduation.
Her professional and personal lives inevitably came together in 2012, when she began blogging as a new wave of romantic fiction swept the literary world. Her knowledge of social media and her passion for promoting authors led her to a boutique public relations firm as a publicist, where she learned the industry from the inside out. Now, Georgana heads her own firm, Valentine PR & Literary Management.
Georgana joined The Seymour Agency/Alliance Rights Agency in July of 2021 and is thrilled to utilize the full force of her knowledge and contacts to bring HEA’s to wider audiences everywhere.
Georgana is particularly interested in Romance - Contemporary, Dark, New Adult and Mature YA. No historical or paranormal/fantasy please.
A true southern girl, Georgana grew up in Texas and is currently living her happily ever after in Georgia with her handsome husband Charlie, two beautiful adult children Grey and Valentine, an amazing daughter-in-law Emmy and three rescue dogs.
As an agent, Cole Lanahan possesses a wide range of skills to offer her authors. Aside from being a published author of eight novels, Cole holds a degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State. Her past experiences include lobbying the United States congress for better mental health initiatives, leading a multimillion-dollar mental health nonprofit, creating strategic corporate partnerships, and implementing large-scale marketing campaigns.
When she’s not traveling, Cole lives in the Midwest with her husband, daughter, four dogs, and twenty chickens. Her personal interests include reading, quilting, and performing with her acoustic band.
Cole is actively looking for all genres of YA, all genres of adult romance, psychological suspense in the vein of The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, and thrillers in the vein of Verity by Colleen Hoover and I’m thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. In nonfiction she is looking for humor, business, self-help, lifestyle, and arts and crafts books.
Michael L Joy
Michael L Joy is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Creative Writing program and a board member of the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, where he is the co-chair of their annual mystery writing conference, SleuthFest. (SleuthFest.com). He is a professor of English, musician, and recovering programmer living in Southwest Florida.
Notes From Michael:
“I’m looking for character-driven commercial fiction in mystery/crime/suspense/thriller – including graphic novel script format. Stories that transcend genre and have the potential to attract a wider audience (aka Upmarket fiction). I’m excited to read new perspectives – diverse voices, race, gender, LGBTQ, or sub-culture - different POVs, obstacles and outcomes. Situational humor is good, but not required.
Cozies will be a tough sell unless the “community” is something extremely different. No talking or communicative animals. No Romance, but romantic elements are good if done well. Don't force it.
Before you submit… give your book a rest then edit for plot and polish for word choice, spelling and grammar. Let it rest again.
Submit the first 50 pages as a Word attachment. Include a synopsis. Don’t stress over the format, but make sure you include the inciting incident, obstacles to the main character’s goals, the climax, and the conclusion – yes, I need to know how the story ends.”
“I’m looking for art, music, pop culture or sub-culture topics, including positive mental and physical health for an artist. True crime. Business Self-Help: How to survive and keep positive while starting a business, running a business, or working a high-pressure job. I’d be excited to look at graphic novel formats for non-fiction also. No politics or religion.
The key to selling non-fiction is having an existing platform – first-hand expertise or experience – no arm-chair quarterbacking. If you’re going to write about winning the World Beard and Moustache Championship, you better be a competitor or a barber…or better yet, be both.
When sending your query please include a book blurb, what topic the book targets, clear marketing/platform information (e.g. social media followers, subscribers, professional connections, etc.), your proposal, a comparison in the market, sample index page, and three sample chapters.”
Tiffany is a Carolina girl running on good books, messy buns and Starbucks. Serving as The Agency’s Admin Director, she applies her 20 plus years of marketing and public relations experience in assisting our agents and authors.
We believe that an organization such as Romance Writers of America must work for ALL of its constituents and do so honestly, positively, and proactively.
RWA proclaims a mission of inclusion and equality, yet that has not been evidenced in recent events. As such, we are withdrawing from the organization and will not participate in RWA Nationals or other events until such time as real and actionable changes are implemented.