Literary agent, Mark Falkin: Licensed in Texas, I’ve practiced entertainment and intellectual property law for 19 years, representing hundreds of artists (a platinum seller and Grammy® winners among them), entrepreneurs and businesses, shopping artistic projects, drafting and negotiating entertainment contracts, securing trademarks and copyrights, licensing and selling intellectual properties, establishing businesses, litigating disputes.
I’ve completed 4 novels (and a chapbook of poems), with two more in rough draft stages. One, literary, is long, self-published and well-reviewed (Days of Grace). Another, an upmarket supernatural thriller, earned an agent at a venerable NYC agency (Howard Morhaim). The most recent is a near-future suspense tale called Contract City, published in hardcover by longstanding Baltimore indie Bancroft Press and in screen development with a production company in Los Angeles. My next novel, a literary apocalyptic horror, The Late Bloomer, will publish Fall 2018 with Rare Bird Books imprint California Coldblood. And then there’s the ongoing and continual What I’m Working On Now.
I represent fiction and nonfiction, leaning toward literary thrillers like client Louisa Luna’s Two Girls Down (Knopf Doubleday) and Dana Cann’s The Ghosts of Bergen County (Tin House). In nonfiction, I prefer to work with big idea books written by people with big ideas like client Christian Picciolini’s memoir White American Youth (Hachette Books), Saul Ramirez's The Champions' Game, Randi Rhodes' Damn Near Famous, and Aaron Stark's I Was Almost a School Shooter.
Mark . . . Your submission letter is a marvel
What I'm Looking For
Actively building my client list, I’m looking for fiction, namely, novels with a literary bent in these general categories (in no order of preference): suspense; thriller; horror; dystopian; offbeat and quirky; humorous; YA (literary; realism; smart horror); upmarket commercial "women's fiction"; mainstream sci-fi; and the catchall, that ineffable one called Literary.
You get the idea: whip-smart, fresh, commercial genre fiction, literary fiction, genre-bending or genre-blending. Full-voiced, dark, captivating, laugh-out-loud, unapologetic, transgressive. I want kinetic stories that gratify the Wernicke’s Area.
If you’re, say, a Chuck Palahniuk, if you’re a Stephen King (or, hell, if you’re Joe Hill), if you’re Joyce Carol Oates, if you’re Stewart O’Nan, if you’re Daniel Woodrell, if you’re David Sedaris or Mamet, if you’re Bret Ellis, if you're Stephen Crane or Ambrose Bierce, if you're Douglas Coupland, if you’re later-day William Gibson, if you’re Annie Proulx, if you're Mark Danielewski, if you’re Ken Kesey, if you're Dave Eggers, if you're Junot Diaz, if you're Gillian Flynn, if you're Dan Chaon, if you're a Katherine Dunn or a Karen Russell, if you're a Ben Fountain or Merritt Tierce or Ottessa Moshfegh or Tommy Orange, well sir, you're just what I’m looking for.
I’m looking for compelling, well-plotted, well-paced stories first, gosh-wow blank verse belletristic prose second. I simply want, as any reader would, a great story well-told with prose that's alive on the page.
I'm keeping my eye out for more great stories written for men and boys. Where's the "important" accessible literary novel guys talk up to other guys because it's just that good, e.g., Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, The Throwback Special, Less, Crazy Heart? I want to work with guys who actually talk up books to other guys. Call it Dude-Lit?
Really wanting to see standout comedy fiction. Madcap, screwball, buddy, literary, dramedy, whatever. Election, The Complete Works of David Sedaris. Birdcage-as-novel. The Hangover-as-novel. The Big Lebowski-as-novel with woman-as-The Dude. Bachelder's The Throwback Special comes immediately to mind (again). Beatty's The Sellout.
Really wanting to see horror like we've never seen; horror so original and so well-written, containing such narrative force that it changes the genre the way The War of the Worlds did, the way The Lottery did, the way Psycho did, the way The Exorcist did, the way Jaws did, the way The Shining did, the way Books of Blood did, the way House of Leaves did, the way Ill Will did.
Nonfiction - If you've got a serious platform, I'd certainly like to see, e.g., Christian Picciolini, Bill Hillmann, Randi Rhodes, The Champions' Game. I'd really like to see a sports memoir in the soccer space and equally, an arts memoir: rock, hip-hop, filmmakers, stand-up comics. If your memoir is 1.) unlike anything else out there and, 2.) it might actually change the culture, I'd like to see it, see: Picciolini's White American Youth, Sebold's Lucky, Coates' Between the World and Me. Would possibly kill for dazzling narrative nonfiction on par with Capuzzo's Close to Shore or Eggers' Zeitoun or the Erik Larson oeuvre.
What I'm Not Looking For
Genre romance, erotica, genre SFF, graphic novels (love them, but), religious, big 'ol Epics, Clancy-esque terrorism plots, zombies, vampires, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it; Too-clever, Po-Mo, gimmicks, style-over-substance, books solely of the mind (those of you who think you're Pynchon, Vollmann or DeLillo: news item for you: you're not), stilted books that sound written and not told, books that follow the rules because, books written solely to impress your MFA class and arch literati who won't deign to entertain. I want the heart involved, an unputdownable, honest, resonant book that leaves a residue on me.
E-mail your query plus the first two chapters (in the body of the e-mail, please) to:
mark[dot]falkin [at] gmail[dot]com
I do not care that you have no advanced arts degree.
I do not care that this is your first book.
I do care that it is finished, is as good as it can be and that you’re not living in denial: you’ve got chops and you know it, and it’s on display in this manuscript. Writer to writer: Make me jealous. Make me uneasy with envy. School me. Make me say, “Man, I wish I’d written that, could do that.”
If you can't already tell by the whiz-bang web presence you are now experiencing, I do not care that you lack social media presence, feeling that writers ought to, you know, write, rather than tweet, facebook, blog, text, play around with technology instead of actually creating meaningful, toothsome composition. Does author and social commentator Sarah Vowell tweet or blog? No, she does not. Johnathan Franzen? Huh-uh. Brett Ellis? Now, that's another story. But he's . . . Bret Ellis. Are you Bret Ellis*?
As a writer, I feel your pain. This business of getting an agent, of getting published, is a slog. I got my first agent doing exactly what you're doing now: researching viable agents and cold querying. Thus, I’ll try my best to get to your work soon. I try to respond, but sometimes I don't. And though I'm not trying to be one these power-tripping, snarky agents, no response means no, okay? There's just only so much time. The stuff I'm interested in leaps out at me.
Good luck, and keep writing!
*see above under What I'm Looking For
Falkin Literary's film/TV co-agents:
Falkin Literary's foreign co-agents:
Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Latin America/Sandra Bruna Agencia Literaria
Hungary/Lex Copyright Office
Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand/Maxima Creative Agency
Falkin Literary on social media:
News, Clients, Bits & Bobs
clients' publishers and studios include
Soon to be a major television series, Louisa's Two Girls Down publishes in paperback next month!
Read an excerpt
Read an excerpt
So pleased to announce that Falkin Literary is working with Carolyn Cohagan
on the Next phase of her exploits.
on the Next phase of her exploits.
I've been listening to liberal talk radio legend Randi Rhodes for years, so I'm thrilled to be involved with getting her memoir out into the world. Until then, find her show streaming live online weekday afternoons 4-6 Eastern, turn up your mind, and buy a stinkin' podcast ya bastids!
Extremely excited to be working with fellow Texas writers Saul Ramirez and John Seidlitz and their already-acclaimed book THE CHAMPIONS' GAME: A True Story. “Accessible for all readers, this story is a natural for the big screen: check and mate.” – Kirkus Reviews (*Starred Review*)
Congratulations to client Louisa Luna on the sale of her new novel, TWO GIRLS DOWN, to Knopf Doubleday. Looking forward to further assisting and working this book up on to the world's shelves. William Vollmann says Louisa is "a real storyteller." Falkin Literary says an emphatic: "ditto." January 2018 we'll see TWO GIRLS DOWN on shelves.
“Opening this book is like arming a bomb” --Lee Child, NYT Bestselling author of the Jack Reacher Novels
*Starred Reviews* from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist
Congratulations to anti-hate activist, filmmaker, and memoirist Christian Picciolini on the sale of his memoir to Hachette Books in a two-book deal for world rights. Falkin Literary is very excited to be working with Christian; to help his work reach readers, yes, but more so: to be joining his movement, especially post-Charlottesville. Look out for his memoir WHITE AMERICAN YOUTH: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement --and How I Got Out from Hachette December 2017. Check out what he's doing to help win hearts and minds away from hate through hard won experience: Christian Picciolini.
Happy to announce two new clients, both with work from the realm of nonfiction: Austin musician of renown, Jon Dee Graham, and New Zealand artist and designer, David Trubridge. Soon Jon’s bears and David’s ideas will enlighten your mind and put a smile on your face.
Excited to now be working with novelist Bill Hillmann. His novel, The Old Neighbordhood, was the 2014 Chicago Sun-Times' Novel of the Year, Irvine Welsh calling it "the real deal." Get this: the man ran 200 encierros (bull runs) in Spain during the summer of 2016, was gored in Pamplona (again) in 2017, won the Chicago Golden Gloves boxing title, and is a formidable raconteur, having been on NPR's Snap Judgment and other broadcasts. Anticipating his follow up to The Old Neighborhood and his toros memoir greedily.
Welcoming Teffanie Thompson White who just won the Best YA award at the African American Literary Awards at the Schomburg in NYC for her novel DIRT. Dirt has now been optioned to Whydah Productions, the people behind Patriots Day. And she's getting her hands lit-soiled again as we speak. What she plants readers will reap.
Very pleased to now be working with monstrously talented 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellow, Executive Director of Writers & Books in Rochester, NY, and novelist K.E. Semmel who's about to turn Beowulf on its head.
Matt Wixon, longtime sports writer with the Dallas Morning News . . . it's fourth down and we never punt. So glad to be working with you.
Client Robert McClure Smith's The Throne of the Third Heaven is a master class in what literary (Tartan noir?) mystery can look like. Rob was born in Scotland. His stories have appeared in Gettysburg Review, Manchester Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Barcelona Review, StoryQuarterly, J Journal and many other literary magazines, and he was a previous recipient of the Scotsman Orange Short Story Award. His critical monograph The Seductions of Emily Dickinson won the Elizabeth Agee Prize, and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Book. Smith teaches at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he is the John and Elaine Fellowes Distinguished Professor of English.
Client Leonard Krishtalka's (Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas) new book, The Camel Driver, is an intrigue; a literary detective story steeped in science and history, putting Dan Brown to shame.
To the fold I welcome memoirist (The Kitchen Congregation; Macmillan/Picador USA), novelist and Houston Chronicle book reviewer, Nora Seton. Excited to see your titles on the shelves soon!
Congratulations to client Dana Cann for the April publication of his novel GHOSTS OF BERGEN COUNTY with Tin House Books!
Client Kristen Zimmer's book enjoyed the #1 spot at Amazon in the US and UK for multiple weeks after its release and has remained in the top 10 since (as of 6/2/14) in GRAVITY's genre. Well done, Kristen. THE GRAVITY BETWEEN US (Bookouture/Hachette UK)
Check out TGBU, now in audiobook: Listen
Library Journal names LESSON PLANS an Editor's Spring Pick
Reader's Digest features LESSON PLANS: 7 Great Books
Buy LESSON PLANS
Happy to announce client Suzanne Greenberg--Professor of English at Cal State and Drue Heinz Award winner--is publishing her novel LESSON PLANS with Prospect Park Books.
MORE EVENTS AND APPEARANCES COMING SOON (with new website, January 2019)
Mark's a featured agent at this year's Writers League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference taking place June 30-July 2, 2017 in Austin.
A&E Conference interview: Scribe
Mark's appearing at the 2017 Permian Basin Writers' Workshop
Midland College, Midland, Texas
Mark's appearing at the Johnson City Library Anniversary Writers' Conference, February 22, 2017
Mark's appearing at the 2016 Permian Basin Writers' Workshop
Midland College, Midland, Texas
Mark's attending the Texas Author Summit at the Texas Book Festival on Nov. 3, 2016
Mark's appearing at the 13th Annual Author Day at the San Marcos Public Library, November 6, 2016
Mark's appearing at the 2016 DFW Writers Conference
Fort Worth Convention Center
Austin-based literary agent Mark Falkin to attend DFWCon
Falkin Literary on Facebook