The Waxman Leavell Literary Agency is a development-oriented firm, specializing in representing nonfiction and fiction authors with powerful stories. Our strength lies in our ability to match authors with ideas and to connect them with the best possible publisher for their book. Our clients are accomplished journalists, experts in their fields, celebrities and first time writers with an exceptional story or message to share. We have been associated with dozens of bestsellers and award winning projects, and look forward to continuing to help bring exciting and successful new voices to American and international markets.
Founded by Scott Waxman and Byrd Leavell, the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency is a full-service boutique literary agency with a hands-on, dynamic approach to literary representation. Due to the ever-shifting landscape of the publishing business, editors come and go, but WLLA prides itself on building long-term relationships with its clients and remaining as a constant in a writer’s life. Proactive from the start, WLLA offers a range of creative input from idea generation to project development, and proposal editing. WLLA clients benefit from the personalized attention of an intimate, editorially driven office, and from more than forty years of publishing experience.
"The great thing about being an agent is that it never gets boring. Each book allows you to enter a new world. Also, we like to continue to challenge ourselves by working with different kinds of authors.
I love working on narrative non-fiction and have been involved with many bestsellers in this category. Authors who have compelling untold stories that are well researched and engagingly written should contact me. I like history, adventure, sports, and memoir. I am also very interested in developing our business and military titles. Whether you are an established journalist or a blogger with a great platform: I want to hear your idea for the next best-seller.
I also want to see great commercial fiction. For adults, I like thrillers and mysteries in the style of Harlan Coben, Lee Child or Richard Price -- that grabs hold of the reader, dark and dangerous with main characters I'd want to hang and have a beer with as long as they were unarmed.
With two young sons, I'm now very excited to find middle grade and young adult fiction for them to read. I like science fiction, adventure and I'm not afraid of books that push the envelope on danger and violence, I think the kids can handle it.
If you think your work will make me miss my train stop, please go ahead and send it to me."
"My entire career as an agent is committed to one driving focus: working with great clients to create successful books. It boils down to a very simple approach: signing talented, driven writers and then working with them to create a submission that blows people out of their chairs, sending that submission to the right editors who are committed to overcoming the odds and creating bestsellers, and then working after the deal, every single step of the way, with both the publisher and author to ensure that the finished book is flawless in content, packaged perfectly, and promoted effectively."
A graduate of the University of Virginia and the Radcliffe Publishing Program, Byrd Leavell has been an agent for eight years and in that time has represented two of the most popular humor books ever in Tucker Max’s I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL and Justin Halpern’s SH*T MY DAD SAYS. He handles narrative non-fiction, sports, humor, and commercial fiction that reads like you just grabbed hold of a speeding train; his clients include Scott Sigler, Drew Magary, Gavin McInnes, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Pete Sampras, Babe Walker, Total Frat Move, Cody Lundin, Mark Frauenfelder, Seamus McGraw, Clay Travis, and John. L. Parker Jr.
Publishers Marketplace profile
"My favorite part of being an agent is the thrill of discovery. Being the first to experience a new world or a brand-new author simply never gets old. Couple that with the joy of sharing that wonderful book with editors and eventually readers and you’ve got the reason I truly love my job.
I’m drawn to well-told commercial novels in a variety of genres. I’m much more likely to keep reading if I know from that perfectly-executed first page that this character (or author, in the case of nonfiction) is someone who interests me, someone whose story I’d like to get lost in for the next two hours. I know I’ve found a winner when I encounter writers whose skills on the page make me know beyond any doubt that I’m in excellent hands.
I’m currently seeking middle grade and young adult fiction, women’s fiction (both commercial and upmarket), urban fantasy and romance. I also represent select nonfiction projects.
I do not represent poetry, screenplays, picture books, thrillers, or erotica."
Prior to joining the Waxman Literary Agency in 2007, Holly Root worked at the William Morris Agency and Trident Media Group.
I love connecting with a writer on an editorial level so we’re both motivated to create something special. In everything I read, be it fiction or nonfiction, I’m looking for that certain spark. But that’s just the beginning. I enjoy forging long relationships that result in a writer finding the perfect editor and publishing a book that they’re proud of and becomes a success.
I joined the The Waxman Leavell Agency as an agent in 2013. I’ve previously held positions at Mary Evans Inc., Lippincott Massie McQuilkin and at the literary scouting agency, Maria Campbell Associates, where I scouted the American book market for foreign publishers and for Warner Brothers. I am interested in fiction that pays equal attention to both the voice and the story, and am particularly drawn to literary fiction that pops off the page, upmarket thrillers and mysteries, “book club” books, and novels with with elements of magical realism. In non-fiction, I’m on the lookout for subject-driven narratives, memoirs and biography and journalism. Some of the books I’ve represented include Rebecca Dana’s memoir Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blond (Amy Einhorn/Putnam), the debut novel Race Across the Sky by Derek Sherman (Plume), a narrative nonfiction work about the Japanese tsunami and earthquake disaster Strong in the Rain by Lucy Birmingham and David O’Neill (Palgrave), and the first authorized biography of Jonas Salk, Jonas Salk: American Icon, Scientific Outcast (Oxford University Press).
I am drawn to novels with a compelling voice and grounded, relatable characters that pull me into their world from the start. My favorite books have strong emotional elements that stay with me long after I finish reading.
My current interests include young adult fiction, historical fiction, and historical romance.
I do not represent screenplays.
I am a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a master’s degree from Emerson College’s Publishing and Writing program. Prior to joining Waxman Leavell in 2013, I worked at the Gersh Agency.