Paul Stevens

 

paul-stevensPaul 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.

Recent client news.

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.

Submissions:

Paul is closing to unsolicited queries on December 15, 2019. Questions?

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.

Humor:

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:

A. Lee Martinez: Gil’s All Fright Diner, In the Company of Ogres, A Nameless Witch, The Automatic Detective, and Too Many Curses.

Robert Brockway: The Unnoticeables.

Also check out Gail Carriger’s Soulless and Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim, two books that Paul wanted to acquire for Tor, but, unfortunately, we can’t get them all . . .

 

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

 

To query:

Paul is closing to unsolicited queries on December 15, 2019. Questions?

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.

Contact:

For all other matters, email Paul at pstevens@maassagency.com. (Please do not send queries to this address. Use QueryMe.Online/PStevens.)

Appearances:

April 2 – 4, 2020: Las Vegas Writers Conference

 


Q & A

Q: Why are you closing?

A: I have a backlog of initial queries. In addition to this I have a very large backlog of 50-page partials and full manuscripts that I’ve requested, and I need to respond to those authors.

Q: When will you reopen?

A: I don’t plan to reopen until I’ve caught up on all submissions and am in a position to consider and respond to submissions more quickly.

Q: I already submitted a query / 50-page partial / full manuscript? Will they be reviewed? Do I need to resubmit?

A: No need to resubmit. If you’re in the queue already, I will look at your material.

Q: You haven’t reviewed my query yet, and I’d like to update it. (See next question for 50-page partials and full manuscripts.)

A: As far as I’ve been able to figure, Query Manager doesn’t allow you to update an initial query without having to withdraw and resubmit, losing your place in the queue. The best thing to do is send me a message through Query Manager with a note that you have an updated query. When I get to your query I’ll ask you to send me the updated info.

Q: You haven’t reviewed my 50-page partial / full manuscript yet, and I’d like to update it.

A: You should be able to upload a new file on your query manager status page. When I see that you’ve uploaded more than one file, I’ll look at the most recent version.

Q: I’d like to withdraw my query, 50-page partial, or full manuscript.

A: You can withdraw for any reason via your query manager status page.

Q: Can I query other agents while I wait to hear from you?

A: Absolutely. The industry standard is that queries / submissions to agents are nonexclusive. We expect that you’re submitting broadly. If you get an offer of representation, there’s a button on your Query Manager page to let me know.

Q: Wait, didn’t you close earlier in 2019?

A: Yes. While I was able to catch up on initial queries at that time, I wasn’t able to get to the many partials and full manuscripts in my queue.