Paul Stevens joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2016. 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).
Paul is an Ohio native and a graduate of the Ohio State University. He also grows carnivorous plants.
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.
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.
Paul is not looking for short story collections, poetry, memoirs, screenplays, picture books, or chapter books.
Paul only accepts email queries.
Please query at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the following three items:
- a cover letter pasted in the body of the email.
- a synopsis pasted in the body of the email. (If your book has a twist at the end, please don’t reveal the twist in the synopsis. Paul needs to judge how well a twist works in the actual manuscript, and it’s better to read the ending cold without spoilers.)
- the first 5 pages of your manuscript pasted into the email. No attachments. (Don’t stress if the pages you post in the email don’t have perfect formatting. Some email services like to mess with the formatting, and it can be impossible to make it perfect.)
For humor books that include images, please send a cover letter and synopsis pasted in the body of the email and attach one or two representative images. Please make sure that the image files are low resolution so the files are of reasonable size.
This information is current as of January 2nd.
Query letters – Paul is currently reviewing queries received on September 27th. (If you submitted your query after this date, you’re still in the queue. Paul is reviewing queries in the order received.)
Partial manuscripts (50 pages) – Paul is currently reviewing 50-page partials received on December 4th. (If you submitted your partial after this date, you’re still in the queue.)
Full manuscripts – If Paul has requested a full manuscript, these are often read out of date order. Please email if you need an update on your submission.
For all other matters, email Paul at email@example.com. (Please do not send queries to this address. Use the query address above.)
March 25, 2017: Michigan Writing Workshop (Detroit, MI)
July 20-23, 2017: PNWA Summer Writers’ Conference (Seattle, WA)