I’m Maria, and I’m a literary agent, blogger, home cook, moderate minimalist, obsessive organizer, and hopelessly bad baker. If you’re looking for a great blueberry muffin recipe, I probably can’t help you. (Edit: try these pancake muffins!) But if you love books, writing, food, and an occasional cocktail, then hello!
I represent and write about books that help us live better lives, and cooks & books is a community of book lovers, writers, and creatives who can’t stop stop talking about what we’re reading, what we’re working on, and where we want to go next. Here I share everything from practical publishing advice, to book recommendations, to tips for finding more time to read, to literary printables and paper goods.
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My work as a Literary Agent:
I’m a Literary Agent at Stonesong, and I specialize in nonfiction, particularly cookbooks, wellness, spirituality, personal development, business, creativity, interiors, and similar topics. I started my publishing career on the editorial side, first at Atria/Simon & Schuster and Harlequin Nonfiction (now part of William Morrow/Harper Collins), then at Adams Media. I loved being an editor, but a big part of me always wanted to work more closely with authors–to work with them on their entire careers, not just their current book. Now I work with a small but mighty list of bloggers, chefs, journalists, business owners, and brands who are creating beautiful print books that inspire and encourage the world.
What I look for as a Literary Agent
I very intentionally focus my list on the topics that I’m passionate about in my personal life: food, spirituality, design, personal development, health, business, creativity, and more. I’m open to practical and narrative nonfiction of all types and stripes–if an idea can improve a reader’s life in real and tangible ways, then I’m interested. I’m always on the lookout for a book idea that takes a new approach to a common problem, or that has a strong hook that promises the reader something extraordinary and worthwhile.
A strong, quantifiable platform is essential for practical nonfiction. The metrics I typically look at are: page views/unique visitors, social media reach, media hits (online and in print, as well as TV and radio), speaking engagements, awards, connections within the field, sales of other products/ebooks, and anything else that establishes an author as an expert in his or her field.
Please note that I like to handle my literary agenting work a bit differently–I keep my list very small and sign only a handful of new clients per year. This makes me happy because I get to build real relationships with my authors, and it makes them happy because we get to push further into the realm of what’s possible for them. And while I may not be able to work one-on-one with as many authors as I’d like, I hope you’ll find The Library helpful for learning more about the world of traditional publishing. You might also find The Bookshelf helpful to get a sense of the sorts of books I work on and enjoy.
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