Paul Stevens joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2016. Before that he worked as an editor for 15 years, primarily at Tor Books, where he edited science fiction, fantasy, and mystery.
Paul represents Alex Bledsoe, Leigh Butler, Kat Clay, Jeremy Finley, Iain Hannay Fraser, Agnes Gomillion, L. J. Hachmeister, Alyc Helms, Leanna Renee Hieber, Kel Kade, Dan Koboldt, Michael Livingston, Elle Andrews Patt, Stephen S. Power, Kevin Singer, and Melissa Work, among others.
Paul is an Ohio native and a graduate of the Ohio State University. He grows carnivorous plants. You can often find him hanging about on the walls at nearby climbing gyms.
Paul is looking for science fiction, fantasy, and horror, mystery, and suspense. For more info, see below. He’d love more humorous, laugh-out-loud projects in all these genres.
(Paul is not looking for young adult or middle grade books at this time. If you have a YA or MG project, please consider submitting to one of the other agents at this agency.)
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 is looking for science fiction, fantasy, and horror in all subgenres. He would love to see stories that take tried-and-true genre tropes and turn them on their heads in an inventive way.
For example, epic fantasy should stretch the boundaries and shake things up. 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.”
Given Paul’s strong interest in speculative fiction, Paul is drawn to mysteries and suspense that incorporate some speculative element, such as weird creatures, psychic sleuths, or unusual settings (historical, far future, the moon, Viking times, etc.) Straight-up, contemporary mysteries and crime fiction are unlikely to be a good fit. Again, strong, memorable characters are key.
Paul’s looking for humorous books in the genres mentioned above. 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. Think Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore.
Here are some great examples of books that Paul edited at Tor. They’ll give a good sense of what appeals to him:
Robert Brockway: The Unnoticeables.
Paul is not looking for short story collections, poetry, memoirs, screenplays, picture books, chapter books, young adult or middle grade.
Paul only accepts queries via Query Manager at QueryMe.Online/PStevens
This link will take you to a form where you’ll be asked to enter:
- a query letter.
- the first 5 pages of your manuscript. (Don’t stress if the formatting isn’t perfect. As long as Paul can read it, it’s fine.)
- an optional synopsis. If you have one ready, please include it. If not, don’t worry. Just leave this field blank.
- a optional biography. If you have relevant writing / publishing credits, please list them here. If not, you can leave this blank.
When you submit, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to a status page. On the status page you’ll be able to inform Paul of any changes to your query.
If you have questions about Query Manager, please check out their FAQ page. Answers for authors are toward the bottom of the page.
For all other matters, email Paul at email@example.com. (Please do not send queries to this address. Use QueryMe.Online/PStevens.)
October 31 – November 3, 2019: World Fantasy Convention (Los Angeles, California)